This morning we went to the Apartheid Museum. It was so interesting to learn about the history of South Africa. When we got there, we were given tickets that sorted us as either white (blankes) or non-whites (non-blankes). We went through two different entrances to see the different identifications. They also had life-sized images of descendants of Johannesburg to show how diverse it is and was. One really interesting thing was a virtual reality video about Walter Sisulu, also known as accused number two. He was an activist with Nelson Mandela, and they served over 25 years together in prison. He dropped out of school at 14 and was known for his heart and compassion. Some worlds we used to describe our experience were “important,” “intense,” “meaningful,” “heavy,” “powerful,” and “depressing.”
After we returned, we went to assembly, which is like our morning meeting. It had dances, announcements, and even a joke!! It was so exciting to see the whole school clapping and cheering for their classmates. They played two truths and a lie on stage and two students did a dance. They also had a message from the dean about not letting setbacks feel like you don’t belong and believing in yourself in order to engage fully at ALA.
After that, we had sports practice. They have basketball, soccer, volleyball, and netball teams. We both really admired the other students’ passion and determination during their practices, even under the hot sun. It was a great way to get to know ALA students in another setting.
This evening we had hall meetings. Malaika played “never have I ever” and talked about the culture in the dorm. Valkyrie debated hall decorations for the term, discussed how to welcome exchange students arriving this Saturday, and joked around with each other. They really made the three Porter’s students staying there feel welcome!
After hall meetings we went to BUILD, which stands for Believe, Understand, Invent, Listen, and Deliver. We talked about what it means to have a human-centered experience. We also played a problem-solving game on the soccer field. Though it seemed impossible at first, we were able to conquer the challenge together as a team. The skills we practiced during this activity will surely help us engage with BUILD for the rest of our time here.
Debriefing on the turf after BUILD
We’re really looking forward to attending class with our chommies tomorrow! Stay tuned for the next blog post tomorrow!
Sincerely, Julia and Leela