We are 9 days from departing Culver for Brussles. Team EU is made up of a great group and we look forward to sharing the personality of our team through our blog. We have 20 students (10 boys and 10 girls) from all classes and 4 adults (Mrs. Barton, Ms. Fulton, Mr. Knowlton, and Mr. Ney). Stay tuned for more as we get ready to depart and begin our journey.
Pictured here are our 5 who went to Chicago to apply for their VISA’s a few weeks ago.
We all miss South Africa and would jump at the chance to go back. So we have tried to embrace the saying “Don’t cry because it’s over smile because it happened.” We do indeed have many moments to look back and smile or laugh at and shared several on the bus ride back to Culver last Tuesday morning. Thank you to all of you who followed our blog and made it such a success and we hope to have a few more post-trip updates to share. Below are what the team members shared as the highlight of their trip (more specific than Christel House as it was a highlight) as well as their funniest moment since we had many funny moments.
Ms. Fulton: My high was Team SA14 as this was such an incredible group of young ladies. I was so impressed with their flexibility on the trip and how each and every one opened their hearts to one another, South Africa, and especially the students of Christel House. I cannot choose one funny moment but will always laugh when I think about our afternoon adventure at the park/gardens and almost crashing a wedding.
Highlight- Friday morning at Christel House when we had so many things to donate and how everyone helped with this as well as the “if you really knew me” in our room on Tuesday.
Funniest Moment- Dana’s comments about wishing she could be as flexible as a penguine (we are all pretty sure you could still get Ms. Hall to cry with laughter over this one in 10 years).
Highlight- Team dance rehearsals. our group was all in to learn a dance and perform it at CHSA and we had some memorable practices outside our hotel, at the park, on the pool deck, and especially in the hallway of our hotel.
Funniest Moment- Other Dana moments with wipes and offering them at odd times.
Highlight- Connecting with a student at Christel House and really sharing stories as well as seeing potential for future projects.
Funniest- (she had several) The baboons on the hike at Cape Point stealing Ms. Hall’s water bottle then finding the water bottle on the way back down. Angel and Fish at the aquarium and getting a picture with an Angel Fish. The last night with the adults acting like monkeys outside the student rooms. Putting out the tablecloth that was on fire at the elephant sanctuary.
Highlight- Kliptown and the little girl, Our hike at cape point to the lighthouse, speaking French with market man from the DRC
Funniest- awkward family photo with Ms. Fulton, Michelle, Vivi, and Angel (Ms. Fulton needs to locate this photo and will add later).
Highlight- Cape Town overall “it’s my city”
Funny- cape point and my first encounter with the baboon (we think it thought Michelle’s earrings were food)
Highlight- Christel house and realizing how similar they are and that a big world can seem so small. Working with them and learning so much from them Playing in the garden Jewish museum and Pearl
Funny- Ms. Fulton offering to sacrifice me to see a shark, learning penguins can swim and that there are no koala’s in SA, being left behind (a lot), Baboons, my wish to be more flexible, late night green face, Hallie following me to the bathroom (the responsible one)
Highlight- Christel House overall and the “if you really knew me” as a team exercise
Funniest moment- during the compassionate listening workshop Morgans fun fact was that her name mean sea dwellers and there were some interesting responses about that. As well as Hallie and Yu Jin sleeping on safari bus, when circle of life started playing on my phone while on safari, Erin and the chocolate mousse that she may or may not have made at dinner.
Highlight- table mountain (the beauty of it) and the last day at CHSA.
Funny- when the chaperones decided to scare Meranda and Yu Jin and they thought it was a man trying to kidnap them- In reality they were trying to be monkeys. Katherine falling into the rose bush at the gardens/park in Cape Town.
Highligight- Tuesday singing and dancing at CHsA
Funny- when we tried to leave Dana at table mountain. Really we made her think we were leaving her by waving goodybe from the bus as again she was the last one on.
Highlight-Thursday afternoon at Christel house when we were able to just chill with the students.
Funniest moment- had a partial panic attack after the chaperones acted like monkeys and scratched the doors. Then they got a bedtime story and tucked in by Mrs. Rosen. The adults found Hallie and Christina’s readiness to fight off attackers/monkeys the funny part.
Highlight- Tuesday (drumming) and Thursday ( little kids) at CHSA. Running into my cousin in Cape Town and making friends in the market
Funniest- funny moments at the hotel and with her roommate, Dana.
Highlight- Tuesday playing soccer or Friday when we signed shirts at CHSA. Making friends in the market
Funniest- Love confessions and reaction to my teeth at CHSA (Lizzie has 2 fake teeth that she can pop out and this just fascinated some of the students).
Highlight- the last day at CHSA and riding the elephant
Funniest- bathroom picture at Moyo restaurant and endearmints (a mint candy that Angel could not get enough of)
Highlight- Thursday at CHSA- playing soccer with the 12th girls and just hanging out
Funniest- running up to the lighthouse at Cape Point
Highlight- Friday at CHSA and getting to know everyone on the trip
Funny- Katherine and the rose bush. She also wanted to add: Traumatic- chaperones being like monkeys
Highlight- Signing the shirts/cards on Friday morning at CHSA. Taking pictures (Christina was the team photographer)
Funniest- not knowing what a panic attack was as Hallie was in the middle of one
Hannah (aka- Fish):
Highlight- walking Tina to the bus on the last day and the relationships on this trip
Funniest- bathroom on the bus
Highlight- Ferris wheel with our “family” (Vivi with Michelle, Kiara, Angel, and Ms. Fulton)
Funniest- sprinting to the bathroom at the beach walk. Dana just cracks me up
We are currently at the Johannesburg airport, so this post may need to be a bit brief. The past few days have been action packed and totally wild! Saturday started off with our flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg and then a bus ride to the Elephant Sanctuary. There we had lunch, met the trainers, and began interacting with the elephants. We started off by petting the elephants, taking pictures, and being kissed by them (see photos). We then walked and rode them! This was a really cool experience that most of us have never had before.
The next day we drove to Pilanesburg for our second wildlife encounter. Once we arrived, we checked in, had some free time, and then embarked on our first of two safaris. This safari began late afternoon and ended well after dark. We had dinner in the park in a gated area away from our hotel. We encountered many exotic animals, including zebras, elephants, impalas, wildebeest, and giraffes. The next morning, we left on an early (5:15am) Safari to watch the animals wake up. Soon after, we were on the bus headed for Johannesburg. Because we were running a little early, we made a spontaneous stop to Pretoria, the capital of South Africa. We saw many international embassies and took photos in the garden outside of the Parliament building.
Now we are at the airport getting ready to go through a second security check. If possible, I will post when we make it to Washington DC, but this may be difficult as we will have to go through customs with a relatively short layover.
We are all excited about our morning departure tomorrow. Mrs. Prescott has been on campus since this weekend and had time to reflect on our upcoming trip- the following is from her South Africa 2014 journal. Stay tuned for more…
Tuesday, March 18
It’s less than 24 hours before departure, and yet 2 long days before arriving in South Africa. I have been fortunate to be included in the mission trip with Lauren and Culver Girl’s Academy; also, to spend a few days beforehand on campus and in preparation. Although I missed the prep meetings and introductions, many already know who I am and I will quickly learn the girls on the way. (I understand we have a game on the plane.)
On campus, isolated mounds of melting snow and cool winds are not-so-distant reminders of the harshest winter ever, but the warming sunshine, greener grasses, and sounds of chirping birds and busy squirrels bring hope for Spring and blooming color. The marching and cracking ice covering Lake Max is retreating in favor of the new season. Some students are even wearing shorts in the afternoons, demanding a change.
My hope for this Spring is to make a difference; to help something positive “bloom” in the children and adults we are serving. Teachers strive for those “aha” moments when knowing a student understands and the “light bulb” connection is achieved. Although I don’t yet know any specific job duties or “lesson plans,” I am certain I will have opportunities to both teach and learn, follow and lead, inspire and be inspired.
As I sit in a few of Lauren’s classes (between tests) I begin to feel like a student again. The familiar faces of classmates on campus (Sarah, Dorothea, Cindy, and others) and their voices add to the surreal effect. This trip will become a memorable adventure and I am excited!
Reflections—Spring Break trips at Culver were not available in our class years, but definitely are a part of the Culver Global Pathways experience and cultural awareness today’s students appreciate. Last Saturday’s hypnotist on campus reminded me of the night I volunteered, but that was one experience Lauren didn’t want to “Cher!” Long hours at the barn, waiting for that competition/class to finally arrive…Much like graduation, and then the bittersweet good-byes…I think the Spring Break trips offer an educational escape without the “home” effect that festers “senioritis,” although some are juniors and sophomores. What a great opportunity for us all!
We will be in capable hands and I will be praying for safe travels. (Day 10 for missing Malaysia 370…) God bless us all and our work for others.
Today we took a trip to the McKinnis house for brunch and a movie to learn more about the history of South Africa. We watched Cry Freedom which is based on the life of Stephen Biko a South African anti-apartheid leader. The movie also tells the story of his friendship with newspaper editor Donald Woods who fled South Africa in 1977 to publish a book and bring attention to apartheid in South Africa. Thank you to the McKinnis family for hosting us and we continue to get excited as the trip is only 10 days from beginning.
In 21 days we will be well on our journey to South Africa and with that in mind the girls are busy working on a few things.
First- what should we pack? After several conversations about the packing list and luggage requirements all of the girls are nervous about making it work. Given this is LCA’s 5th trip to South Africa and Ms. Fulton’s fourth her advice is if in doubt leave it behind; as long as you have your passport and money we will be fine (note: Ms. Fulton has the passports).
Second- what workshops/activities do we want to do with Christel House? Yes- we need to spend some time on this. A few extra meetings are being planned.
Third- let’s make a SA bucket list. Thank you Dana for this wonderful suggestion and stay tuned for the team’s bucket list which will include items such as see a baboon, learn a word in Afrikaans, get a picture with Nelson Mandela’s statue, and eat at a McDonald’s in Africa (really this was requested).
Fourth- how long exactly is the flight? Hallie- it’s long enough we don’t need a time. We all need to accept we’ll have a few naps, meals, and watch several movies between Washington Dulles and Johannesburg. Below is a picture and we’ll all just forget we stop in Dakar for re-fueling since they don’t let us off the plane.
Team SA14 is going to be an exciting and memorable group and will continue to get to know one another and plan the final details of our trip.