I’ve been in South Africa over a month now and have enjoyed every second of it! From seal diving to hiking to safaris to museums, we have traveled from the Western Cape to Limpopo and learned so much about this beautiful country. With its beauty come many things that are different from home—for example, majestic elephants and massive mountains—but also many similarities.
Although the United States is a significantly older nation, it still struggles with many of the same issues South Africa is currently facing. You would think that with it’s age, the United States would have overcome many of the issues surrounding inequality and violence. However, we still see examples of racism and insufficient healthcare throughout the country. The police violence in Hout Bay reminded me of the violence you see on the news throughout the city of Chicago. The rape culture at Stellenbosch University mirrors similar situations in universities across the United States. All of these issues demonstrate that despite it’s age and power, the United States is not that different from South Africa and other nations.
The similarities also include many comforting reminders of home. My neighborhood in a small suburb of Chicago is incredibly tightknit and I always remember being close with all of my neighbors. During our homestay in Hamakuya, the neighborhood reminded me of my own. Children from various households coming together to play soccer, the neighborhood women helping our host mother cook, and the late night gatherings of laughter and music all reminded me of a summer’s night growing up.
View from Lion’s Head