Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Here's to 2014

Wow. If anyone ever goes to S. Africa, go to the Apartheid museum, and block out a lot of time to be there. It was so in-depth about the history of apartheid, how it came to be, what it was, how it affected citizens, how it ended, and the aftermath. There was so much that I didn't know, like how many people died and how students were a major part of the protests of the 70's and 80's. They also had a great exhibit celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela. It discussed everything from his Nobel Prize to why he wore colorful shirts after his release from jail. 

There were a few really striking pieces in the museum. Photos weren't allowed, but I snuck some anyways. First, they had a room with rope nooses hanging from the ceiling, one for every person that died in jail during apartheid, suicide or otherwise. What a powerful and shocking representation, huh? And then, as you left that room, you entered another place with three solitary confinement cells. I always pictured them with metal bars running from floor to ceiling. In reality, they were solid cement, maybe 8' by 4' at the most. I would go crazy in there! Literally lose my mind. Is it a wonder so many took their own lives? 

On that happy note, we left the museum. We had lunch at a KFC (wasn't my choice, trust me!) and then headed to a "lion farm" to hang out with some lions and giraffes. As we got there, a giraffe was wandering around the parking lot! It got better, though. Next we washed our hands, listened to the rules, and entered the lion cub habitat to cuddle with the babies. It was so cool! 

That night, we cheered and hugged at midnight, then ran outside to check out the fireworks. Because we are at the top of a valley, you could see maybe 6 or 7 different houses setting off fireworks at the same time. It was beautiful. There's a tradition in S. Africa that after the clock strikes midnight, the first thing you do is find anyone that you hurt and apologize. You let go of the past and try to fix the future, which I think is a great way to get started. Happy new year to everyone. 

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year from Chilly Vermont. We skated to celebrated the New Year thinking of your experience all the while!