We completed our first week in Cape Town and it’s been an amazing start of the trip thus far! We’ve been busy exploring the beautiful city and learning about the deep, rich history of Cape Town including specific areas like Langa, District 6, and Vrygrond. The people have been so open to sharing their stories and perspectives. It’s been so powerful to see how people in the townships can find joy and happiness within themselves and the people surrounding them.
Despite the economic hardships, the biggest takeaway thus far has definitely been the strong sense of unity and community within individual townships. When speaking with members of the community, each have shared about their own commitment to bettering the opportunities, lives and wellbeing of those around them. Sustainability and education are some of the themes that continue to be stressed when identifying the needs and focus on growth. When Nathi was giving us a tour of Langa, he spoke about how the majority of members who are from Langa, rich or poor, end up returning back to the community. The people live alongside one another as a symbol of hope for the others that it’s possible to achieve greater things and pursue greater opportunities.
Another theme stood out to me in Vrygrond. Tamia showed us around the township and shared that many immigrants enter Cape Town from other parts of Africa. Regardless, once they enter Vrygrond, they become a member for life, where one individual watches out for one another and the overall, larger community. In thinking about the current state in America, this resonated with me and made me ponder how we can instill this sense of collectivism and unity into the work we do with our children, families, and educators. Similar to True North’s mission statement, I think it really does begin with a foundation of love and relationship-building. I’m excited to see what we continue to learn and experience in the next few weeks especially as we begin to form relationships and spend more time in the creches!