The summer I spent in Cape Town, South Africa was one of my all time favorites.
I was just reminiscing the other day as I was trying to persuade two friends that it would be the best vacation destination. And then, with the passing of Nelson Mandela yesterday, I was reminded of all the brilliant work he did to make that country what it is today.
A favorite quote that Mandela said is, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." The education and change that Mandela brought to the country of South Africa is truly astounding.
The summer I spent in Cape Town was amazing and difficult, for a variety of reasons. The time I spent volunteering in the slums was eye-opening, because of the development that has happened in the last few decades. Compared to the time I spent in Kenya, South Africa was leaps and bounds ahead, developmentally.
The beauty that surrounds that city is literally breathtaking. I have been fortunate to visit a lot of beautiful places in my life, but Cape Town takes the cake. Table Mountain, Lyons Head Mountain, the southernmost tip of Africa, wine country, and the beach are all within a few miles of each other. The beauty is astounding.
I was also in charge of a classroom for the first time in my life, which was terrifying and educational in about equal measures. It helped me learn a lot about myself and what I wanted to do with my life, also.
Cape Town also brought out my adventerous side. First of all, I went there completely alone and I was in a strange place in my life. I decided on the (24 hour...) flight over that I was going to make the best of the situation. I hiked up table mountain, climbed Lyons Head, walked to the edge and saw where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic. The summer truly was one big learning experience, in every sense of the word.
So, all that to say, this post is a tribute to Nelson Mandela for dedicating his life to better the country of South Africa. And if you ever get the opportunity, please please please go to Cape Town.