Articles By: Mollie
When I signed up for Peace Corps, I never expected to end up in the South Pacific. I was moving to Fiji. I knew very little about the South Pacific and island life, I was not prepared for this. But, as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
Before I arrived in the country most affected by HIV and AIDS, I realized that I would not be able to prepare for what I would find in South Africa. The stigmas that surround HIV and AIDS are still as damaging and devastating as the disease itself. Few people were willing to speak about it because so many had such close ties to it
It’s a Friday night in Grahamstown. You’re at Friar Tucks, the popular nightclub/bar. Locnville’s “6 Second Poison” blares from the speakers. Lights flash before your eyes. Broken glass surrounds your feet. You’re caught between mobs of people on the dance floor, and your clothes reek of beer and smoke. You push your way through the crowd, trying to get a drink. You head in the direction of the bar, where there’s a girl, smoking a cigarette and sipping a Savanna Light or Hunter’s Dry Cider
I like risk-well not so much risk as I enjoy adrenaline rushes and natural life highs. This need for adventure and new experiences are what has made my trip to South Africa the most incredible trip I could have asked for at this point in my life. Anything that makes my heart beat a little faster and makes my stomach flutter is my type of activity. Since arriving in South Africa three months ago, I have gotten a tattoo, hiked the Valley of Desolation at Camdeboo National Park in the Karoo, done the world’s largest bungee jump, partied as a zombie, sung “Hakuna Matata” to a warthog, fallen in love, and hitchhiked-just to name a few.
With the taste of the FIFA World Cup still lingering in everyone’s mouth, the feeling of “ubuntu” has remained a crucial part of South Africa and their culture. Ubuntu is Xhosa for community, but not just community. It is community more in the sense of “I am because we are.” I have experienced nothing but great ubuntu since coming to South Africa.