Tag Archives: Flexibility

Baby Gumby Monday

Brenda texted while we were in class that she forgot that the District Six Museum closes early on Mondays. So we rescheduled our outing till Tuesday, reminding us once again of Gumby (can you find him in this picture?). Hopefully Kelsey and Kjersten will be feeling better and can join us then.

We had a good class and a meaningful discussion of some of the issues we are observing, e.g., poverty, racism, sexual violence, HIV/AIDS. There is so much to learn, and so many ways to make an impact. We must continue to ask ourselves, “what can we do at this point in time for this one?” I have no doubt that these students will continue to make a difference because of this experience.

Gumby moments

I shared with my students how our World Vision U.S. coordinator, Ruth, gives out little Gumby bendable characters each time our teams travel to Swaziland. This is to have a tangible reminder of the need to be flexible throughout our time. Schedules change, tires go flat, people get migraines, etc., and we need to go with the flow. Well, I had my Gumby out in the table in our classroom this morning, and it ended up be very appropriate for the day’s events.

First, it was rainy & breezy. This makes a 15- to 20-minute walk a very different experience, and it seems to slow down the trains too. Second, combine that with a bit of disorientation when coming out of the train station and heavier rains, and you’ve got six very wet and rather late students. I was fine with them being late…I was relieved to see them waiting at the gate and thankful they weren’t lost for too long.

We collected ourselves, got some coffee and tea, and then had our first class. The discussion was good and already a lot was contributed based on experiences had so far in Cape Town. The home stay families are great sources of information, and we were able to discuss how world views (both ours and other people’s) impact us. I can tell that a lot of learning has already occurred, which is just why these types of experiences are so great!

You’ll see in the photos the guest house where our classroom currently meets (Abbadale), as well as towel-clad students, hoping for dry pants by the end of class. :) Thankfully, we’re all girls and it worked fine, though without much heat inside, the pants (& socks & shoes & jackets) weren’t exactly dry by the time we left for Robben Island. A bit of microwaving of socks occurred, and then Rashied collected us and made a quick stop for some (dry!) pants, etc. to be purchased on the way to the waterfront.

Brenda had been checking in all morning about the ferry to make sure it was still running with the iffy weather. All signs were go until 6 minutes before departure. It was cancelled. “Disappointing” doesn’t quite capture the feeling. While waiting to hear from Brenda on the rebooking process, we toured the exhibit in the ferry hall. It focused on Apartheid and those who have fought it. Nelson Mandela was highlighted, of course, but so were Fred & Sarah Carson. I want to learn more about them. You will see some pictures from the exhibit, as well as the lovely waterfront.

The cancellation was puzzling as the weather had cleared. Here’s how Rashied interpreted the situation: the main (large) ferry was not in use, perhaps due to a maintenance issue. So, a smaller ferry was being used. With the questionable weather, the ferry staff probably thought not everyone who had booked would show up. So when we all did, there was not enough room for us all on the smaller ferry (basically, it was oversold). Now Brenda is left with the task of rebooking us…

So, Rashied delivered the students home and me to GHS for some emailing/blogging, but ongoing Internet problems plague this place. The tech guys are here now as I type; they’ve actually been here quite a lot since my arrival a week ago. Hope it’s fixed before I have to leave for the afternoon.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) the students go to their practicum/volunteer placements. I think they’ve enjoyed the tourist role, but are ready to become servants. Courtney and Crystal will be at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Kym and Jen will be at the Sarah Fox Recovery Hospital, and Kelsey and Kjersten will be at the Little Angels Day Care Center. I will rotate through all sites over the next three weeks, in the order listed here. It is likely that they will experience some tough stuff through these placements, so please say an extra prayer for the students.

All in all, it was still a good day, despite the Gumby moments…maybe even because of the Gumby moments. (I assured the students that in a few days, this will be a funny story, worthy of a laugh.) It is good to be flexible…it always seems to come in handy. (Like now when the wifi remains down and it’s time to go…)

The last picture is a bit of happiness in a cup…a fairly decent latte I picked up on my walk home for R14 (~$1.75; the exchange rate is improving). Who needs Starbucks?! Haven’t seen one since I left PDX…I like that.

P.S. The colorful Muslim neighborhood is called Bo-Kapp (the name escaped me on my last post). Also, Brenda successfully rebooked our Robben Island tour for Thursday morning, thus shifting our class to the afternoon. Here’s hoping for brighter skies (& no overbooked ferry!).