The last week of my program was a whirlwind of putting together the final copy of the English Literacy Handbook that Mark and I created for Young in Prison, writing my final capstone paper about the handbook, saying goodbyes, packing, cleaning, closing activities, and celebrating an incredible semester, wonderful friendships, and personal growth.
Professors, program directors and coordinators, etc. (Minus Gerald, our academic coordinator, who was out of town for a conference)
We had a final “closing of the circle” reflection session on the Thursday night (June 3). Unlike the reflection sessions we had all semester, people really opened up to one another during this time. We expressed what really touched each of us personally over the course of the semester, with our service, the environment, and each other. I think it finally hit us all pretty hard that night how special the semester was, and how close we had all become with one another. Or, at least that is how I felt. The end came quickly, and it took us all by surprise. I will miss every friend in the program, and I can honestly say that all 15 of them are wonderful, kind, fun, lively, and unique individuals, and I genuinely like and will miss each and every one of them.
Last trip in the "party bus" with Mark driver, on our way to Moyo. Mark driver (we called him that to distinguish him from the Mark in our group, and unfortunately I didn't get him in a picture) drove us to all of our service sites, group activities, or excursions throughout the semester in this, or a similar, vehicle.
On Friday, June 4, we had our final dinner at Moyo, an amazing restaurant with a huge, delicious buffet, dancing, music, African face painting, and a great atmosphere. Angela presented us all with a goodbye gift of a vuvuzela with a South African flag design. Jonah did a rhyming toast to say goodbye to the group, and we all presented each others’ “superlatives,” that Jess and Betsy had organized. My winning superlative was: “Most likely to get hurt and smile anyways.” Tina led the table I was sitting at in going around in a circle, taking turns telling each person something you are thankful for about him or her, and then going around again, with everyone saying something they are proud of themselves for this semester. It sounds cheesy, but all around the night provided some closure to our semester together, and possibly for the last time we would all be together.
The following day, everyone did the final packing, cleaning, and hugging. Most boarded planes to head back to the US, but a few stayed on in Cape Town, either to relax for a few days before the journey home, to do some traveling, or to stick around for the World Cup. I hit the road in a rented canary yellow Atos, and traveled to Elands Bay on the "wild" west coast for two days, and then to Cederberg conservancy for three days, before coming back to Cape Town for the kick off of the World Cup! Reports of my travels coming soon.
On the road (on the left side!), outside the limits of Cape Town. The drive provided me more sightseeing of rural Western Cape regions than my experiences all semester.