RECAP!

The past few days have been go, go, go and I'm loving every minute. Last week we had a small conference on HIV/AIDS where Luann and her friend living with the disease discussed all of the issues surrounding the epidemic in South Africa. Out of the 40 million people in SA, 6 million are living with HIV. Some are unaware that they are infected. I've heard several people say things like, "I would never date a guy/girl in South Africa because they probably have AIDS." The truth is that that is also a reality in the USA, we just don't discuss it as openly as South Africans have come to do. As Luann says, "We make choices that are not necessarily good for us, but we're only human." Most people don't feel open to discuss HIV/AIDS because there is a sense of shame that comes along with a diagnosis. Women, for example, have to get tested, face their husband and then face the stigma. Why is it that society views an HIV positive person as dirty because they contracted the disease during the act of sex, but sees a pregnant woman as cute. It's the same thing. The infected woman did not ask for the disease.


In other news, I'm getting used to walking around Cape Town with my rands (dollars) in my bra and nothing in my hands. My language teacher (as well as everyone else I've met in the country) told us not to leave the homebase holding anything, not even sunglasses on our faces. This particular woman takes the train to our house during the day with nothing but a ticket in her pocket and her husband picks her up because it's not safe to ride the train past 7:00. She told us that she went to Europe once and couldn't get used to being able to walk past large groups of men at night because it is so unsafe to do in SA. It's so sad that this is reality for South Africans. Since getting my pep talk on safety, I've seen a woman try to stab her husband and a man beating another man in the head with a brick. Both incidents occured on the side of the road, where nobody fussed or called the police. The brick incident happened this morning in broad daylight. I closed my eyes.

Yesterday a group of 10 of us toured 3 vineyards and did several wine tastings. We ate lunch on a patio overlooking the vineyards, surrounded by beautiful mountains and beautiful people. I can't get used to going from working class to upper class functions. I felt guilty indulging in fine wines & food, when 2 days ago I was feeding a baby born with AIDS. I thought I would be able to bridge the gap, but the gap is too big. It's unsettling. We did get to see the jail that Nelson Mandela was released from and that was neat. (I see Robben Island this week!)


I'm excited to get back to Sara Fox in the morning. We're starting to get some of the one year olds to turn over. A 2 year old girl that wasn't moving in the beginning of last week is now crawling around. This seem like tiny, slow steps, but they're such important steps! Josette continues to make everyone laugh the entire time we're with the babies with her one nursery rhyme, "zees leetle baby went to zee market, zees leetle baby ate zee roast...."


I hope everyone's staying warm at home.

xox