Campus News

Cape Town Diary: July 27. By Kristen M. Heim, Colby College '03

Story posted July 27, 2001

We've only been in Cape Town for three weeks now, yet already I'm dreading the day when I have to pack up and head back home. The city and its residents are so alive. I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but the experience has been above and beyond any expectations or hopes that I had before our arrival. The most amazing part of Cape Town is the stark contrast between the poverty that makes this a "Third World" country and the rich
Western influence that has sprung up in its midst.

During the first of many tours through the townships, our guide stopped the van along a road. On one side was a preschool. The building which housed the school was old and run down. The paint was chipped, and the walls looked as if a mild gust of wind could easily take them down. The preschool was to the left of the van. If one simply turned and looked to the right, the irony that symbolizes this city was visible. The building to the right was a church. It was nice, by American standards, and therefore incredible by township standards. Each day, the children walked past the new church and into the dilapidated preschool. The CBB group shares a similar experience each and every morning on our ride into the University. We drive through affluent neighborhoods, where well-dressed individuals leave their comfortable homes, walk to their nice new cars, and head to their good jobs on a daily basis. Between these neighborhoods are sections of town where I would honestly be afraid to get out of the van. Children rush to the windows and beg us for R5. (Five rand is the equivalent of about 65 cents U.S.) Some of their parents are probably in the other neighborhood cleaning the houses of the rich.

It's such an understatement to describe the state of the people living in this country as "unfair." Apartheid was officially abolished in 1994, but its effects are still a prevalent part of the daily lives of the residents in this city today. This is a country in transition, and I feel that it is a privilege for us to be able to experience the changes that are taking place here first hand. It is impossible to put into words, but I hope that our group of 19 students finds a way to share our experiences here.

-Kristen M. Heim, Colby College '03

Additional information on the Cape Town program is at CBB Cape Town
Other Cape Town Diaries:
Cape Town Diary: July 3. By Julie McGee
Cape Town Diary: July 14. By Julie McGee
Cape Town Diary: July 27. By Rachel Meiklejohn

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