Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Malaysia Photos

Locals and the lovely crew of people who visited the village.

Mansion in Malaysia.

Bicycle trishaw. I rode in one of these for my city orientation.

Hiking through the rain forest at the National Park.

YAY baby turtles!!!!

Delta Zeta baby turtle!!!! 2 days old!

Bailey and I pointing out the recently tapped rubber tree.

Women in the Heritage village manufacturing a delicious local  snack. 

India Photos!

I know I have not put up my blog yet for India, but while I am in Vietnam at a free internet cafe, I figured I would upload some photos to share with you. The blog entry is on its way. :)
Rickshaw! My new favorite way of transportation.

Tulsi Badrinath, a local woman writer, gave us the first reading of her book. :)

Getting henna at the welcome reception held for us.

Children at the rural village very excited to be in a photo.

Typical kitchen in rural house.

Me sifting grains of rice to dry them out at a rural farm/rice factory.



My "shipboard grandma" with the women who work at "the woman's home for the dying and destitute."

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Sadly, I only got to spend one day in Mauritius. :(

Mauritius is a small but very populated island off the coast of Africa. We were only docked there for one day and I spent it on a catamaran cruise. It was kind of our spring break (because where we are it's springtime) and it is a tropical climate. While on the catamaran I saw dolphins, went snorkeling over the corals, and saw many awesome tropical fish. I actually ended up swimming right in the middle of a huge school of fish. (I wish I had thought to bring an underwater camera.) We also got some time just to swim in a clear area of the ocean. The water was an unimaginable blue and the sand perfectly white. It felt like I was in a postcard!

For lunch we had a barbecue on the catamaran. I spent the rest of my time lying out on the front "trampoline" soaking up the rays. It was the most relaxing way to spend the day and have an awesome experience.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Photos From South Africa

Me at the Castle of Good Hope in front of the dolphin pool

View of Table Mountain from The Company's Garden

The most delicious mushroom burger from City Grill

View from port mall to the right, waterfront to the left, Table Mountain back left, shops, and Ferris wheel

Balancing water on my head during my home stay

The township I stayed in 

An almost empty bucket of meat from Mzoli's

Cartoon from the Nelson Mandela Exhibit

Visiting the South African Jewish Museum

One of the "Waka Waka girls" from the Operation Hunger day

Operation Hunger

Playing on the playground during Operation Hunger

The view riding to the top of Table Mountain

View from the top of Table Mountain

Desmond Tutu giving his speech

Thursday, October 6, 2011

South Africa

Fun facts:
Street lights are called robots.
Apartheid just ended in 1993.
The name of the national rugby team is the Springboks. They are widely supported.
The currency is the rand.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament was held in South Africa.
There are 11 official languages.

Day 1

The first day in South Africa I participated in the SAS city orientation trip. Our first stop was the Castle of Good Hope. It is the oldest building in South Africa. It is a beautiful yellow castle with a dolphin pool (just a fountain), chambers, and a bell tower. It was a nice visit. The next place we visited was The Company’s Garden. Originally used to grow crops, it is now a beautiful botanical garden. While there we stopped for tea/coffee and scones with jam. I ordered a cream soda and when they served it, it was bright green! So unexpected! Our last stop on the city orientation was the South African Museum. I was expecting a museum full of history of South Africa, but I was surprised to find out that it had many different exhibits, including dinosaurs, marine life, and large animals.

That night my friends (Kim, Rachel, and Amelia) and I, went to dinner at a local restaurant at the port called City Grill. We were longing for some real, non-ship food—something other than pasta and potatoes (lol). I enjoyed a delicious mushroom burger and a glass of African white wine. We learned during our pre-port seminar that South Africa is one of the main distributors of wine so many of the SAS trips took students to vineyards and wineries to teach them about the industry and how is has helped South Africa's economy.

Day 2

On our second day in Cape Town, Rachel and I walked around the port. There were tons of restaurants, small shops, craft barns, and even a mall to wander through. We did a little grocery shopping to stock up on snacks for our cabin and then went and checked out the views of the city.

That afternoon I did a SAS trip to a township where I stayed overnight with a local family. The home-stay program is run by Mama Knox, a local woman living in a town in Gugulethu. It is a small business that also employs other women from Mama Knox's town to host travelers overnight. My house partner was my friend Audrey. We both stayed with our own "mama," who walked us around the town, introduced us to the local kids (who were playing jump rope in the streets), and then let us help cook dinner. We had traditional food of cooked  cabbage and spinach served over mealie pap, a  cornmeal with a solid consistency. It was all extremely delicious. Her house was filled with family members: her twin sister, a niece, two nephews, her two brothers, and her mother. Although the house was in good condition, there were still things that let you know they were still developing. They had only one lamp for the entire house, a bathroom with a toilet and tub that didn’t work, and flooring that was damaged. The entire family was a pleasure to spend time with. I even learned some of their native language, Xhosa. It involves clicking consonants. It was very difficult to learn. I also attempted to walk while balancing a bucket of water on my head. I successfully took two steps!!!

The children spent their time playing outside or watching Disney Playhouse, while Audrey and I got to know a little bit more about the family and their opinions on how discrimination is being handled.

Overall, I would say that my home stay in South Africa was quite a learning experience.

Day 3:

After I woke up  at the home I was staying in, I met up with the rest of the students. My friends, Audrey and Gina, and I decided that instead of going back to the ship with the SAS group we wanted to stay independently longer in the village. Gina’s "mama," Mama Mpumi offered to bring us to church with her. I really enjoyed participating in an African church service. There was a lot of singing and dancing and the sermon was given in both English and Xhosa. A very unique experience. After church services, we went with Mama Knox’s daughter to a local restaurant called Mzoli’s Meats. It is the place to be on Sundays. People from all of the neighboring towns go there on Sundays. It has outdoor seating covered by tarp where everyone socializes and loud music is played. Mzoli's is famous for its meat. The line for different kinds of barbequed meat was an hour long and the meat was served in a huge bucket. It is shared by the entire large table and you just dig in with your hands. A very messy but absolutely delicious meal!

After getting back to the waterfront, Gina, Audrey, and I spent the rest of our day walking through the craft sheds, admiring and purchasing handcrafted items made in South Africa. Usually the items were made by local women who started their own crafts business to make a living for their family.

Day 4

I spent this day independently traveling (with three other friends) around the city. We started off at South African Jewish Museum. My favorite exhibit was on the bottom floor, which was dedicated entirely to Nelson Mandela. We then went to an art museum. It was very abstract. We didn’t spend too much time there. We then walked again through the Company's Garden, where I shared what I learned on my city tour. We ended at a different craft barn, where my friend bought a homemade African style dress. This day was very laid back but I had a great time figuring out my way around the city. 

Day 5

Operation Hunger

Operation Hunger is a service project that brings a local nongovernmental organization to townships to weigh the children in the schools. The children’s weight is tracked over multiple visits to see how they are progressing. If a child is malnourished, the child's teacher is informed. It is a very tricky subject to bring to parents, who often feel like they are being accused and will pull their child out of school, which is counter productive. To prevent this, the parents and the children are educated about the importance of nutrition. The children often receive some extra food while at school.

Our job was to help with weighing the children. Most of the older (5-year-old) kids were OK with the process. They just had to take their shoes off and stand on the scale. We would then record their weight on their hand and they had to show it to the people collecting the data. The younger babies were terrified of us and most of them were crying. Many of them had never seen white people and often related white people to doctors. This was scary for them because the only time they would have gone to see a doctor was if they or a sibling was deathly ill and seriously needed help. So the sight of us reminded them of those bad experiences.

Another job the SAS students did was to work in the SAS-donated garden, which provides food for school lunches. Another group was in charge of cooking a meal for the children.

After getting our work done, we got to watch the schoolchildren sing and dance. We also got to go outside and play with them. It was a ton of fun spending my day with the young kids. They especially loved when we blew up balloons for them, and I loved when these three little girls started singing and dancing to "Waka Waka." <3

That night was my friend Jessica’s birthday so we went out to dinner. A South African group sang to her. We also had ice cream. We tend to treat ourselves well in port because we get so sick of the food on the ship!

Day 6

I woke up at 8 a.m. and went with my friend Kim to Table Mountain. We took the gondola up to the top. The views were spectacular and the floor of the gondola rotated to you could see it all. When we got to the top, we followed the paths to the best lookout places. Luckily we made it back down the mountain before all of the power in the town went out. This sadly meant that no restaurants or stores were open, and most people headed back to the ship early.

That night Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, spoke to the SAS community. He told all of us how awesome we are and how everyone is interdependent on one another. I really enjoyed listening to him speak to us. His laughter was contagious. And I left with a feeling of importance and purpose.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Neptune Day Photo!

Me (on the left) and my friends at Neptune Day getting water poured on us!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Neptune Day

Neptune Day!

I apologize for such a late post. Life has started to get really busy!

The day after Ghana (9/17) is what we on the Voyager call Neptune Day. Neptune Day is when we crossed the equator. It is a ritual for sailors who pass over the equator to pay their respects to King Neptune in order to become shellbacks.

Our morning started with all of the professors and other people, who were dressed up as gods, waking us up by running through the hallways blowing whistles, banging pots and pans, and banging on doors. When you opened your door to see what the commotion was about, they would snap a picture of your "morning look." Lots of unhappy students (lol). It was 0730 in the morning!

Then the festivities continued up on the pool deck where we had to pay respect to King Neptune. We all watched a short ceremonial scene explaining the procedure. The first step was to have water dumped on our heads. Then we had to jump in the pool. When we got out, we had to kiss a fish! (Yes! A real dead fish!) That was followed by a bow to the "queen" and a kiss on the “king's” ring. Finally, we were knighted as shellbacks. It was a very weird thing to witness (lol).

Also part of the ritual is to shave your head, which isn’t a big deal for the guys but so many girls did it! It’s crazy. We have so many people with super short hair roaming the ship!!!! No worries, though. I still have all of my hair. :)

The day was wrapped up with a large dance party on the pool deck—and some relaxing. :)