Hello Mrs. Allen’s Class!
I hope you all enjoyed the pictures my mom sent to you! I will be added 5 more pictures for you in this letter, so you guys will see a lot of South Africa. J
First of all, WOW! Thank you for all of your emails. I’m working on replying to them now that I’m home from the safari. Just know that I will get to all of them the best I can—thank you so much for your patience! I love your letters and just wish I could have met you before my trip! You guys all sound amazing and ready to do good in life. Way to go!
Ok, so first, South Africa is VERY different from Ghana. There are many, many poor people here, but they are not everywhere, which means you have to look for them to find them. For example, we drove through beautiful cities and it feels like you are in Europe. Then we would drive along and suddenly come on a township. A township is made up of tiny shacks made from random bits of wood, tin, old garbage bins, etc. that goes on for miles and miles. You can’t see where one house begins and one house ends because the people just add three more walls to an existing wall and put some tin on it to make a roof.
The people are so poor and yet they are SO happy. Even though their shacks are so small, they still find ways to make them nice such as bits of found old wallpaper, flowers, etc. We went to a township today because we built 7 foundations for the Habitat for Humanity foundation. This company comes and builds free, small houses for people with absolutely no money, and it uses volunteers like us to build these homes. One woman was watching us and just SO excited that she would finally have a home of her own. Habitat for Humanity built a home for an elderly woman and she kept it so tidy and clean. She even invited all of us in her home and fed us lunch. Kara and I are standing in front of one of the foundations we built next to other Habitat for Humanity homes:
I went on a four day trip to do five safaris! The first morning we flew from Cape Town (on the West Coast) to Port Elizabeth (on the East Coast). It was so cool to fly after so many weeks on a boat J We arrived in the beautiful city and then drove on a coach to Addo Elephant Reserve. I was just so happy to get out of the city for the first time on this trip and see valleys and valleys of open African savannas. My mom should have sent a picture I took of the savanna as well. This was a herd of elephants we found:
There we did our first safari! I will keep giving you random facts in your individual emails about the different animals and their cool abilities. J It was just incredible to me to be able to touch and interact with these animals. They are huge and even better than the pictures. I thought about you guys a lot as I saw these animals.
We went on three other game drives over the next four days. I also got to ride an elephant which you guys already saw from the pictures my mom sent J It was SO cool but very uncomfortable. The backbone sticks out really high in the back and my tailbone was not happy 😉
I also went zip-lining through the rainforest! It was incredible and I felt almost like a monkey feels, speeding through the top branches from tree to tree! We went really fast but it was safe and just a pure blast! 🙂
Anyways, South Africa was amazing and I had simply a wonderful time! It was a wonderful six days and I’m so grateful I got to see another side of Africa besides Ghana. Kara and I also hiked to the top of Lion’s Head and that’s where Kara did a handstand J I think my mom sent you a picture of that as well.
Oh and I also got to visit a South Africa Deaf School! The teachers were hearing but could sign and they had Deaf teaching assistants. So while the school still has a long ways to go, it is definitely moving towards equality between Deaf and hearing South Africans. The picture below was when they were intensely asking me about the Deaf President Now movement in 1988: when Deaf Americans decided that they would no longer allow hearing people to view them as handicapped and incapable of living normal lives. It was one of the most incredible conversations in my life because I realized that the people around me would do the same here in South Africa one day.
Thank you again for your wonderful letters. I’m so blessed to be able to email with you weekly. You guys are amazing! Please remember to include some of your life goals! I also want to know what you want to be when you grow up and if you could travel to a country, which country would it be. Thanks! 😀
Lots o’ love from South Africa,