Day 2: Scared Straight

Posted: September 11, 2013 in South Africa, travel, volunteer

On day two, a volunteer coordinator stopped by my house to take me to orientation.  It is important to learn the public transportation system, so that is
wpid-20130819_103252.jpgwhat we used to travel around.  We left the house and walked to the corner to catch a minibus.  A minibus, which runs regular routes in the area is sort of like a mini van that they cram upwards of 20 people into…well that’s exactly what it is.  After about a 10 minute ride, we arrived at the train station. The trains weren’t the cleanest in the world but after working in NYC and traveling the filthy subways, I am pretty used to it.



We picked up another volunteer, made our way to the main Projects Abroad office and that is where “scared straight”  began.  We were informed that Cape Town has settlements with some of the highest unemployment rates I have ever heard of- upwards of 80%.  Obviously higher unemployment and poverty typically leads to more crime.  Over the next few hours, we spoke with various people who give you great information, but also essentially try to scare you: “Don’t ever go out after dark unless you take a private cab door to door”.  “Don’t sleep with anyone as the country has one of the worst HIV rates in the world”. “Don’t carry a lot of money or flash your smart phone around.”  Basically, don’t be an idiot.

After we were “scared straight”, we went out to lunch and to a local mall.  The mall was similar to those in America with a lot of the same brands.  I bought some work boots to use for the building project that I plan on leaving with someone in need in Cape Town after my 2 weeks.  I headed back home around 3:00 and enjoyed a delicious home cooked meal made by my house mother.

I start my first day at the building site tomorrow and I am very excited to get to work.

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