Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Gugulethu Community Clinic: Day 2 South Africa

Today was an amazing day from beginning to end.  I woke up to the train passing by our apartment (it is very loud and right behind us but this is a good way to get up on the early mornings).  I made myself a bowl of oats in the microwave with a scoop of good old wegmans PB—I promise not to go on a huge tangent of the food but I am so happy I brought PB and that they have pretty good PB in the grocery stores because it is quick and easy protein.  South African time means that 7:30 means around 7:30 aka probably more closer to 8 but my roommate, Melissa, and I were still ready on time. 

We were picked us as a group and taken to a local school in one of the townships.  There we met our professor/ teacher for the term, David, and were introduced to the local principle and children.  Though we are not actually taking classes or working at this school it was a great way to meet the local children and interact with them.  They were so excited to see us early in the morning and performed dances and songs for us.  This was beyond hilarious because they played songs from the USA and asked if we had met the artists (including Lil Wayne and Rhianna).  When we went to leave they all gave us huge hugs and thanked us for visiting.  Such a great way to start the morning.

We were then driven to the Gugulethu Township Community Health Clinic (CHC). The head nurse, or sister, Mama Maboseala described her goals within the CHC and how they relate to those set by South Africa.  She described her definition of health as the exact definition used by the WHO, which made such a great connection to our studies here in the USA.  She showed us the facility that we will be spending the week in and we were exposed to the trauma, maternity and HIV/AIDS wards.  We met a lady that had given birth 20 minutes prior to us arriving and she was so excited to show us her new baby.  We later went to class in a nearby meeting room for a few hours.  The only downside was that it was absolutely FREEZING.  Thankfully we were able to stop at a mall quickly and pick up gloves scarves and fleece jackets along with some yoga pants (everything I took out at the airport)!

A group of us then went on an exploration for internet and groceyr stores.  We found Coco Wah Wah which is a local café that offers 100 mb of free internet—bring on the coffee, that hopefully isn’t instant (ew!).  We also explored and bought a few simple groceries from Woolworths which is a more upscale organic type grocery store which is supposedly comparable to mark and spencer in London so potentially a slighty lower end of whole foods but very upscale for South Africa.  They carry nicer vegetables and fruits plus soups and prepared foods—oh and nutella and yogurt! Pick and Pay, potentially a Tops type place, carries wine and we got some great South African selections.  I purchased a Chenin Blac for 25 rand which equals out to less than 3$ US.  To be honest it tasted REALLY good.  Later we went back and ate with two of the girls on our trip and had some of our wine. The evening was a great way to end such a long day which was both emotionally challenging and physically tiring.

Favorite Moment: The children at the local school—they were so extremely happy and excited to see us and take pictures with us!

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