I had a busy day with the faculty and staff from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University yesterday as we discussed short term exchange programs for social work students. I have a visit this morning with the director of research to talk about joint research between our two university departments. This will tie in with the Mound Bayou work in Mississippi, and one of their communities here. The logistics of such an enterprise are very difficult, so it requires much planning.
After the day was complete yesterday, I took a taxi down to the Boardwalk and had dinner. As I looked out over the little lake that is in the center of the Boardwalk, I recalled the night back in 2002 when Jeanne and I sat at dinner looking at those same waters and lights, albeit from a different restaurant. It was very pleasant and I enjoyed a fabulous dinner of line fish with a delicious mushroom and prawn sauce, and creme brulee for desert. A short taxi ride back and I was in bed by 8:15! I don't know what it is about right now, but I have been ready for bed way early the past few nights--catch up, I guess.
The taxi driver was asking me what I thought had changed since my visit in 2002, but I had to confess I had not yet been anywhere other than the university. He talked about the success of the World Cup, and asked if I had seen any games. I said no, as I was not from here and he asked "UK?" Uhm, no, Mississippi. He said he had earlier taken 5 people from Mississippi to a game safari. I may have a southern drawl, but it isn't the Mississippi drawl, so I get that a lot over here. They also do a city tour, and I plan to do that this afternoon. It will be good to get an overview of the city and compare that with my earlier visit.
I just finished my wonderful breakfast again and met a professor from Cal State who is here teaching a study abroad with students from her university. She is only on her second day, but I assured her she would love it. The world really is a small place to be so huge.
Wednesday, May 18 was a holiday as it was voting day, so all agencies and most businesses were closed. Lira arranged a visit to the Goudini Spa in Worcester--about an hour from Cape Town. Although it seemed like a "holiday" of sorts, it was really about honoring the culture of the community--the nation said it was a holiday, so we honored it. (Or at least, the students and I agreed, "that's our story and we are sticking to it.")
And speaking of students, they are all back in Mississippi now by report of my colleague. I'll look forward to seeing their photo journal of the experience.