Postcards from Around the Globe
Day 5: Friday, May 22, 2009
Tremaine McGregor ’09 - Today began on a very early and unique note. We had been asked by Mr. Vivian to select members from our group to represent Morehouse and the partnership between the Leadership Center and Oprah Winfrey at a local radio station. Most of my brethren were still in recovery mode well past the time we needed to be awake. So, Adam and I ended up being the only members of the Morehouse group. Seipati, from Wilberforce, Kurt, and Clayton accompanied us to the station, which was located at Vutomi High School. Unfortunately, I did not have enough battery power in either of my cameras to capture this amazing experience. But Kurt recorded plenty of footage of the event, and I was thoroughly surprised at how well I ended up doing for my first media event.
We were introduced to Motseki, the host of the station. He was very welcoming and a true professional. I was nervous at first, but he made me feel comfortable. Seipati was the first to respond to Motseki's introduction of us all, and she represented Wilberforce and our mission with confidence and poise (although later she said she was very nervous). Adam responded to Motseki's questions about our mission and what we hoped to accomplish while in South Africa. I supported a lot of his comments and spoke about various organizations and individuals that we met, as well as our desire to increase institutional activity and strengthen relationships between Wilberforce and Morehouse through further financial commitment from Oprah Winfrey's foundation. Furthermore, we were asked about the legacy we wished to leave behind for South Africa's youth. I said we wanted to convey to them that hope is alive and well, and to never forget that there are those who care and wish to help ease the struggle forced upon them.
Jonathan Moore - Today was the second day that we worked with the Home Base Care Service in the town of Evaton. It was quite nice to do this again because now we had the chance to work with familiar faces. Today we all went to the patience homes together and we had the opportunity to experience the good doing together. The people were once again very grateful for any of the help that we were providing. To be honest, the first couple of homes that I went into I was quite nervous. I was nervous because I was in a new environment and I did not know what to expect. But in feeling that way it actually drove me to work harder because since I didn’t know what to expect, I was ready for anything. And to add on to that, I’m a Christian man and am a firm believer in the bible and there is a famous quote in the Bible that say “do on to others as you would want others to do unto you”. Because of that service that I did on that day, it really put me in a position to test what I follow, and I am grateful for experience.
Adam McFarland - This morning, after our always loving and hug filled greeting with our mothers, we went to only one lady’s home. This lady was a walking – or sitting – miracle. The workers informed us that just days before, she was virtually inactive – not walking, moving or responding – but alive. As we walked in the room, she sat up and her eyes lit up. It was here that the true care for their patients showed in the faces of the nurses. They were merely volunteers offering their time and resources to those who couldn’t provide for themselves. The question seemed to shift from, “What can I learn from these women,” to “What kind of lessons could any human not learn from these women?”…
We then went back to the house to give a tragic and horrid goodbye to our new mothers. Then we headed to Wilberforce for our good-bye lunch. Once again after lunch, we were struck by an even harder farewell to give to all of our newly-found life friends. We exchanged emails and Facebook addresses and every other means by which we could communicate until we met again (because call me crazy, but I JUST KNOW I am going to meet again with these people at some point in my life). When we left, watching all of our new family out of the back of the bus I got this incredible sense of loss. It was as if a very close friend was moving away. Since I have been here I have noticed that my personal emotions have almost been heightened. I love a little harder; I dislike a little more passionately, and I stick to what I believe a bit more virulently. I honestly, I can’t explain it. Maybe I did it all the while, but I am just now realizing how I really am, or, maybe I’m just crazy. Probably a little bit of both.
Tremaine McGregor ’09 - The journey to Johannesburg was like a trip to another planet. I could see the complete transformation of the environment into one that more greatly resembled the U.S. There were buildings, billboard advertisements, and amusement parks. Little did I know, however, that I would experience one of the most emotionally heavy moments in my life. Since we were in the area, Dr. King decided that we would visit the Apartheid Museum at the Golden City amusement park. I had no idea what I was about to witness. We were given identification cards (mine said blankes, or whites) and we entered the vast time capsule. Inside, I saw the journey of South Africa, from its Bushmen beginnings to its Mandela-era, and it was spiritually stirring. There were examples of rock art, a movie outlining the history of racial division in South Africa, a panorama section atop the museum and outside, a section dedicated to Nelson Mandela and his iconic leadership, a room dedicated to symbolic murders of activists like Steve Biko and others, videos of apartheid-era atrocities, and a part of the museum displaying the works of Ernest Cole.
The trip to the Apartheid Museum was much more emotional than any other stop on this South Africa trip thus far, because it embodied so much struggle and violence in the name of freedom and justice. It showcased how strong and enduring the spirit of Africa can be, and how it can change the world for the better. It helps us to remember our stories so that we can eventually relive and retell them in a better way for the future.
Eric Vickers - We journeyed back to Johannesburg and went to the Crowne Plaza hotel, which was an upgrade from the Wilberforce campus. We were all glad to have Internet access, even though we had to pay for it. That evening, we met Brad Jackson, a Morehouse alumnus, for dinner. We exchanged college stories and personal narratives over dinner. Before we knew it, dinner was over, our guest left and took care of the bill before any of us could pay for our own meal. That was the perfect start to our return to Johannesburg. After dinner, we walked around and then returned to our hotel to rest for the next day.