Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cape Town is fascinating. I am still gathering my thoughts about it so I am not going to share too much now, but this place is really amazing. Yesterday, Alex and I walked all over the city, taking in gardens, museums and people. Cape Town is full of people, full of life, full of variety. There are 11 national languages--all of which you can choose from when at the ATM! Walking around, I have seen people of all shapes, sizes and colors. It is a lovely thing to see but sadly, so very foreign to me.
Today, we visited a couple of townships outside of Cape Town. There is a tour company in Cape Town that offer tours to the townships, using its profits to give back to those communities. I have never, ever seen anything like it. Some of you have traveled around the world and have seen what I saw today, but this was my first time. I was moved--still processing it all, so for now, here are my photos from the day.

These tenement type buildings are refered to as hostels. The above hostels are brand new and much more spacious for the families. One family per unit where they actually have a bathroom, and multiple rooms. The below hostels are really stunning. Each unit houses up to SIX famillies. The unit has six rooms (one for each family), a common space used for cooking, sleeping and eating and a washroom. The unit we visited held an unknown number of people, but we do know that one family had ELEVEN members living in ONE room!
The "informal" township is a shanty town. Oddly enough, the shanties are more spacious for the families. There is a large building project happening in the townships where they are razing the shanties to be replaced with small huts, very similar to those built by Habitat for Humanity.

This kindergarten was formed by the funds provided by Grassroutes Tour Company, our guide for the day. These little people were brimming with life and just a joy to be with.

This is Tavern Alley in Langa Township. Our tour guide brought us to a local pub owned by three lovely women. We sat in a circle and tried the local beer made from corn, milk, wheat...or some combination similar.

Sheep heads are serious business in Langa and other townships. Women who own these shops rise early to purchase the heads of sheep. They then spend the day cooking the skulls and selling the meat from the heads.


Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to talking to you about your visit to the shanty town when you get home. So did you try the beer too? Or did just Alex? Is that what he is drinking in the picture?

Anonymous said...

last post was from me:) --Mary