Postcards from Around the Globe
Day 8: Monday, May 25, 2009
Eric Vickers - This day began at five in the morning as we hustled out of our hotel to catch our flight to Cape Town. Our entire group enjoyed Johannesburg and the experiences that we shared, however we were also looking forward to what was ahead.
After we unloaded our luggage into a car and boarded another van, I began to soak in the experience that was Cape Town. As we traveled, I shared with Dr. King that what I saw and felt was the stereotypical Africa. I heard that Cape Town was beautiful, yet all I could see was run down huts and dirt roads that reminded me of Evaton. I continued to sit silently in reflection and I never allowed my eyes to stray from my window on the vanís left side. All of a sudden, the scene began to change. Appearing out of thin air was a beautiful mountain with a cloud resting on its peak as a tired child on a motherís lap. Beautiful mansions began to appear along with luxury cars and a fast-paced city. My mind could not believe what my eyes were seeing.
Tremaine McGregor í09 - Eventually, we made it to our hotel, the Protea Hotel at Breakwater Lodge. It is located at the University of Cape Town, and also at the bottom of Table Mountain, so the view is amazing. Interestingly enough, this center of relaxation and education used to be a prison.
After lunch, we found our way to the University of the Western Cape, Clayton's alma mater. I am not lying when I say that this school has one of the most aesthetically appealing campuses that I have ever seen. It was here that we were introduced to Mr. Jacobs and Melany, or Mel. Mr. Jacobs is the director of the HIV/AIDS program at the University, and Mel is a program assistant. Funded primarily by the U.S. PEPFAR fund, this program has grown into a six-school partnership. Additionally, the program has been noted for its innovative approaches in dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. These creative strategies include storytelling excursions, student-driven programs, and a new intervention model (called Zamanawe, meaning "give it a try"). Access to HIV testing clinics have been made available to all students at the school free of charge, and the strong support structure assists with managing those who are discovered to be HIV positive.
Although they have become accustomed to scholars visiting from various schools, having Morehouse College representatives is rare because of our solely positive Black male role models. Mr. Jacobs stated that prior visits have consisted mostly of female students. Because of their innovative model of intervention (focus on trying to inform and educate about HIV/AIDS without actually mentioning the words) and the lack of representation, Dr. Fluker and Dr. King saw this as a great opportunity to begin a relationship with Mr. Jacobs and his organization. One problem that was acknowledged following one of Adam's questions to Mr. Jacobs was that of prevention among young populations. This was described as being a product of desperation among those affected by and/or infected with HIV/AIDS. Going forward, it is necessary to understand ways in which to inspire change among affected individuals, so that they feel better about their opportunities to live a better life in the future.