Although the Westville Boys School is technically a public school, it is much more formal than public schools in the states. Similarly to British schools, the boys all wear suits and ties and have to keep their hair short. Peta, a friend from Westville Girls School, explained that her school also has a very strict dress code - right down to the types of barrettes and the color of ribbons they're allowed to wear in their hair. I think of the ripped blue jeans and crazy dye jobs that roamed the halls of my high school and marvel at the difference.
The weather stays warm here all year around. So even though it's the middle of winter, the next day we went down to the beach for sun and body surfing. For Shawn and me, it was the first time we'd ever been in the Indian Ocean. Brent pointed out the shark nets that keep the Great Whites and other sharks from making a dinner out of the surf rats that line the beaches. Rollerblades and bikes cruised past the Sunday crowds.
I must admit - this was not the Africa I was expecting. For the last few days, I felt as if I was back in high school. It was fun and carefree, with a great future to look forward to. Still, when I think of the school that Shawn and I visited in Egcekeni, a nearby black township, I realize how very different people's realities can be, even when they're so close to each other. I hope that, in the future, all kids can have the same opportunities for education and carefree, hopeful teenage years.
Shawn - Hluhluwe: Finding the "Big Five" Beasts of Africa
Kavitha - South African Youth Enter the African Century
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