It’s Alaina, Maddy and Jontai here and do we have a wild story for you! Full of plot twists and adventures stay tuned for the second to last update before your world travelers come back home!
We all awoke at 8am with bags packed to do another home stay, this time with an Afrikaner family. We had seen videos about a town called Orania and assumed that our long drive out of the city would take us to this controversial, all white “apartheid” town. Instead, we spent the evening in a very different way.
Our first stop of the day was Maropeng. Part archeological site, part art instillation, this is the space that is believed to be the place where civilization as we know it began. Maropeng is believed to be the cradle of humanity. The space is filled with copper and metal statues of important historical figures through the years, from the dawn of civilization to leaders of the anti apartheid movement. The women in our group were overjoyed to have the opportunity to learn more about the strong and brave female leaders in history including Lilian Nyogi and Ruth First.
After journeying through the maze of statues and posing next to the historical figures we had researched during the school year we entered the museum. The interactive museum featured the bones of “homo naledi” which were discovered in by archeologists in 2013 in the Rising Star cave system. The museum also had other interactive elements like puzzles about evolution and a boat ride through the creation of the earth. We all could have stayed at museum for hours, but our homestay family was waiting for us.
We loaded up in the minivan and started our two hour journey, most of us fell asleep. Before we knew it, we had arrived and Professor Griffith told us all to wake up and see our home for the night: Pilanesberg National Park! Everyone let out screams of excitement as we learned that we were actually going on a SAFARI! We stayed overnight in the chalets at this awesome national park and went on two game drives. The homestay with the Afrikaner family was just a front the professors told us to surprise us with this incredible experience, which many of us believed whole heartedly (good work Professor Griffith and Professor Kirby!) During the whole trip, we have joked about the fact that we were not going on a safari since we had been told that it was not possible, and being here in the National park seemed so surreal. In response to our shock, our guide Thulani told us, “this ain’t a joke man, it’s real”.
The safari was a beautiful, crazy, once in a life time experience where we got to see giraffes, zebras, elephants, kudu, wildebeests, impalas, hippos, springbok, monkeys, and other wild creatures. We even saw an endangered black rhino. We speak for all the students on this trip when we say THANK YOU PROFESSORS for letting us go on this adventure, and for keeping it a surprise for the very end of this amazing trip.
Thanks to all for following us these past two weeks! We are boarding our plane now, so see you soon!
Peace and blessings,
Alaina, Maddy, and Jontai