The group’s flight arrived at JFK on time, they should arrive via bus on campus around 10:30 am this morning.
After saying goodbye to their Chomies and spending the afternoon at the African Market in Sandton and a shopping mall, the group checked in and boarded their plane to JFK International Airport on time. South Africa Airways flight #203 is scheduled to arrive on time tomorrow (Friday) morning at 6:40 AM local time in New York.
Sadly our last day has arrived and we are saying goodbye to all our new friends and this wonderful community. ALA has been our home for the last two weeks, we’ll never forget the warmth of this place, the friendships and everything we learned here. Our group is now en route to a mall and then to the airport to fly home, but we are all leaving a little piece of our hearts back with the wonderful people at ALA.
Today we spent all day in small groups working on the BUILD project. We worked on the Listen phase of BUILD, where students pitch their projects to other students and listen to feedback about their work. The use this feedback to go back to the project and make necessary improvements.
Today was a very special day as we visited the township of Munsieville. Munsieville is a beautiful small town with strong historical connections to the early anti-apartheid movement. This township today struggles with poverty and more than half of its residents live in informal settlements. In Munsieville we visited with Project Hope UK, an NGO that is working hard to empower the town residents to improve their living standards. Project Hope’s work focuses mainly on women and children and so we visited two daycare centers and a community center ran by them. We also visited the Thuto Lefa high school, where we met with a class of 11th grades and had a chance to talk with them and answer their questions about the United States and discuss issues relevant to today’s youth. We also spent some time talking to Mama Gloria Rebede, the sister of Nobel Peace Prize Desmond Tutu. Mama Gloria gave our group lots of good advice about life. Finally we saw a performance by a local drum and singing group.
It was definitely a very special day as we had a chance to share in with the wonderful people of this town. They shared with us all they are doing to improve life in their community and communicated with us their message of commitment to solidarity to one another. We have felt very fortunate to enjoy this opportunity to spend time with such friendly and warm hearted community and hope to maintain contact with them in the future.
Today we went to visit Maboneng. Maboneng is an arts quarter in the downtown area of Johannesburg that has been renovated and in a certain way gentrified in the last 8 years. This has been mostly through the efforts of a single developer that is trying to bring back life to the city. The result has been wonderful, this is now a neighborhood where young people are moving in and businesses are flourishing. Many people from the city are coming to visit its arts shops, markets and restaurants.
We spent the morning and early afternoon in Maboneng walking around the neighborhood, eating great international food, and browsing through the market and artsy stores. Everyone said it was a very happy day. Here are some photos they wanted to share.
Today we also had the lovely opportunity to have dinner with Pippa Armerding ’86 and Meghan Casey ’04. Pippa hosted our whole group for dinner at her house in Johannesburg and we had dinner and enjoyed catching up with both ancients and their families. It was a great opportunity to see how Porter’s ties continue bringing us together in every corner of the world.
Today was Africa Land of Opportunities day. On this day the African Leadership Academy opens its doors to outside visitors and spends the day discussing a relevant topic for progress in Africa.
This year’s topic was Women Rising. The day begun with music and dance performances followed by a panel of African women entrepreneurs who shared their views about the needs of women in Africa. Then everyone attended different workshops covering important topics about the reality of African women. The workshop topics ranged from health and education to entrepreneurship and involvement in sciences. Our own Melissa Arnold and Santiago Enrique ran a workshop about how girls learn.
The whole day was a happy celebration and a recognition of the potential of this continent. Here are some photos shared by the girls.