Thursday was going well UNTIL i decided to make the really amazing decision of getting a haircut. I went to the Cavendish mall, which is in a little suburb 5 mins away from us called Claremont. I tell the woman exactly what I want...only a trim and whatever else I wanted done to my hair. She then proceeds to chop my hair off. I can honestly say that she took off at least 2 and a half inches. That may not seem like much but if you knew how short my hair was before, its really damn short now. I know, I know, it's only hair, but to me it is important and it only added to my terrible day before. By Thursday night all I wanted to do was be home sitting around with my family. It was the first time in a long time I felt homesick.
Today (saturday 14th) was much better though!! Last night we didn't go out because interstudy had planned a full day for us today. We were out of the mowbray mansions by 7:45 this morning to head to the District 6 museum. This area used to be filled with blacks, colored people and whites. Basically, in the 60's the govt. said that all the black and colored families had to get out so they literally bulldozed their houses down and that's when they moved them to the all black and colored townships. It was crazy to see pictures of what District 6 looked like when there were streets, apartments and houses everywhere versus what it looks like now...tons of grassy, run down areas. Once apartheid ended some of the blacks and colored people moved back, but it didn't happen with too many families.
Next we went to the Langa township, which is one of the biggest in CT. We did a walking tour through it and stopped in a couple of the formal and informal living quarters. When townships were first implemented, the govt split up men from women and children. Their driving idea behind this was to keep the black and colored people from procreating. They thought that if men and women weren't together, they obviously couldn't have more children. Pretty messed up. So the formal home we went into had 3 rooms with 3 beds on one side and 3 rooms with 3 beds on the other side (18 men altogether). Once the govt. let families join back together, there ended up being 3 entire families living in one bedroom. Say there were 5 people to a family...90 people living in TINY quarters. Now, there is 1 family to a room. Still a ton of people living in a very small space. The informal housing is shacks. People have taken container bins and made them into their homes. Who knows how many people live in those...again, terrible conditions and small living space. We got to play with a lot of the kids who were so adorable and exciting to see us and play. Overall though, the experience made me feel plain and simply, weird. Our group had driven in in a coach bus, walked around with our cameras and tour guide, saw the abysmal housing these people live in, played with the kids for 20 mins then left in our coach bus again. It made me feel terrible and uncomfortable. Ideally, I would want to go back there with 1 or 2 people at most but that's just not possible. I would get raped without a doubt and robbed. That's just the way it is.
After that experience we went to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years. There's so much history on that, obviously, but I feel like I have written enough and that more people know about Mandela. To cap off my really upbeat day today, I am going to see Slumdog Millionaire hahaha.
Sorry this post was somewhat depressing, but not everyday can be wonderful. I thought I would give you all a taste of some of the fucked up stuff that is real here. By the time I update next Mom and Dani will have gotten here, which i CANNOT wait for! I am in serious need of family time. We have a lot of awesome things lined up for the 10 days they are here, including a safari so next time I post I know there will be some great stories.
Love and miss you all.