Hello Again! Our trip to South Africa is nearing an end, and we are all a little sad to see it go. As Maura described, South Africa is a beautiful and welcoming nation. As we finish up with a three night stay in bustling Capetown, we’re all thankful we arrived after the World Cup games were over. Not only are soccer jerseys on sale (they make great gifts!) but it’s generally just easier to get around and see the town, which we have taken some time to do before our 20+ hour journey back to the States.
On Sunday we took a guided tour into the rolling countryside where we shopped, dined, and tasted the wine of the French and Dutch communities surrounding Capetown. The colonial history was fascinating for me, and really makes one aware of the micro melting-pot that South Africa is. English communities mingle with Dutch and French communities, in addition to the native African communities that have been here even longer. The views of the setting sun behind the sandstone mountains and over the ocean were breathtaking.
On Monday, we returned to school visits in the city. Just like the rural schools, some schools are well-supplied and have lots of room to keep the books and for students to use them. Others have little room for books because the classrooms are already overfilled; but still need books to encourage a reading culture among their students of all ages.
We spent the afternoon at the University of the Western Cape where our own Paco Miller spoke with Pat Plonski of Books for Africa and Gary Zelko of Merck Publishing on literacy forum. The panel centered around the access that South African students do and don’t have to books, and how our respective companies work together to provide more books and funds for schools all over the continent.
As a group, I feel that we’ve really connected in the last two weeks: We share dedication to our work and have all been touched by the students and teachers we’ve met here. While sad to leave, we are eager to return with our photos and stories to our friends and colleagues; hopefully we can inspire their continued support as well.
– Audrey Mohr