The Porter’s group arrived a couple hours late but they are all doing well!
Their luggage didn’t make it, however, that will be delivered to Porter’s in the next few days by SAA. Due to SAA’s strict size requirements for carry ons, they made everyone check their carryons in Johannesburg. They had to remove some of the cargo as the plane was too heavy before departing Johannesburg and unfortunately it was our group’s suitcases!
The group should be boarding their bus back to Porter’s soon with an estimated time of arrival in Farmington around 1-2pm.
The Porter’s group is finally in air after an 1.5 hour delay but everyone was in good spirits. South Africa Airways flight #203 will be arriving at 8:10 am now. I will post an update once they hit the ground!
Santi writes, “We can’t believe this visit to ALA has gone so fast! Tonight is our last night at the school. We just had a moving farewell party where we had a chance to say goodbye to our new friends. The party included a surprise cake, music and dancing and even Karaoke!. Now everyone is hopefully asleep and resting before our long day tomorrow. In the morning we will be visiting the Sterkfontein Caves, at the Cradle of Humankind complex. The caves are the site of the discovery of the earliest human remains to date (2.3 million years old). Afterwards we will visit with ancient Pippa Armerding ’86 who has generously invited us for lunch at her house. Pippa came to see us at ALA on Monday and the girls are looking forward to spending some more time with her before our departure. We will go directly to the airport from her house and start our return journey. It’s hard to say goodbye to this community that has welcomed us with open hearts but at the same time we are very much looking forward to coming home and sharing with all everything that we have experienced and learned here. This has been an amazing trip, full of meaningful moments that are now ours to keep in our memories forever.”
“My pod is very interested in the student culture at ALA and part of that is that the kids do not use their phones with the same frequency as our girls. They want to challenge the Porter’s community to a “no phone day” but want to try it themselves first. So today, there will be 6 girls without their phones. They will get them back at 10 tonight. (3 pm EST). The girls participating are Merritt, Zuri, Gini, Aisling, Emma, Adi, and Abi. ”
What a fantastic experiment! I can’t wait to hear the outcomes. Please note this may be why your daughter may not respond to your texts, Whatsup texts or emails today.
Santi writes, “We have spent all day participating in the Africa: Land of Opportunities program. The topic this year is “Education: Rethink and Rebuild.” They discussed the current needs and trends in education in Africa with several panelists and group discussions about many aspects of education, from gender issues to politics, art, film, economy, teacher support, and health. Great conversations and an awesome all African lunch!….Now everyone is playing dodgeball!”
Sarah Nzisabira, former ALA exchange student at Porter’s, speaks to the group. Thank you Sarah for your mentorship, care and guidance of our girls while at ALA!
The girls are all checked into their dorm rooms and hopefully fast asleep. Tomorrow they will remain on campus and participate in ALA’s Africa: Land of Opportunity events and they will present their BUILD Lab work to their ALA peers and ALA alumni. This will be the Listen phase of their labs. In the evening there will be a big farewell party with their chomies and new friends!
Santi writes, “It is hard to describe with words (and even with videos!) the experiences of our group for the past two days. Yesterday our group went to Munsieville where we were able to share the day with wonderful people in their beautiful town. They told us their stories and shared with us everything they are doing to improve their community and the lives of the most vulnerable among them. It was absolutely heartwarming and they left an indelible impression in all of us.
Today we visited the Apartheid Museum. There we learned about a terrible episode in South Africa’s history and the suffering and struggle of many people in this country over many years. All of this is prompting deep reflection and meaningful conversations in our group. We feel very fortunate to have been given the chance to come all the way across the ocean to learn, to think and to continue living our school’s Mission.”
And here are two videos featuring reflections by Michelle, Sabrina and Hayley