Becca Cohen’s Blog

Back into the swing of things

I feel like real life hasn’t started up again since I got back from break. My friend Ellen’s parents were visiting our first week back, so I got some extra TLC and good meals and family time with them. April is filled with public holidays, so we also have less class than usual.

My friend Sven’s band played in town last Monday night, so we all went out to support him. The band played really well and the crowd seemed to love it. We felt like celebrities since we all knew the band but also like teenage girls in love with their pop idols.

This past Wednesday was Election Day, so we had off from school. This is one of the most controversial elections this country has had, but the ANC managed to secure another victory (the ANC has won every election since 1994). Elections went rather peacefully with only minimal administrative issues. I went to a polling place to see what was going on, and there was little difference from a polling place in America (however, Cape Town generally is very different from the rest of the country). It’s been interesting hearing about the sorts of issues this country is facing, but also sad to see how dismal cycle of the system and how it is filled with corruption and incompetence.

I finally have gotten my volunteering started. The initial project I wanted to work on still hasn’t gotten off the ground, so I pursued other options. I started working at the Mowbray Maternity Hospital in the infant’s nursery. There I help feed and take care of the babies. Some babies are there for a short time, but others for longer if their mothers have abandoned them or if they have other health problems. My first day there was a baby whose mother was on heroin, so now the baby is suffering from withdrawal— shaking and crying nonstop. It was heartbreaking to see. The doctors are weaning it off of morphine, but who knows what kind of later in life effects the baby will experience.

I am also set to start doing art with the kids at Heatherdale Children’s Home. Lara (my friend from camp who has been volunteering here since July just now left) has been working there with the kids and helped me set it up. I’m going to the home once a week to do an art therapy type of program in an attempt to boost self-esteem, create positive self images and get their creative juices flowing. Last week I went to the home for the first time, and the children are adorable. I have a bunch of ideas for the project and am really excited to start working there.

That’s basically all that’s happening here. I’m just cruising, enjoying being back in Cape Town. It’s starting to get cool and rainy since winter is on its way, which is somewhat depressing (especially when I hear how beautiful it’s getting at home). I can’t believe exams will be done in less than two months from now— the time has been going so fast!


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