TTS22 Group photo

Monday, October 28, 2013

PE and iLife update

PE & iLife
from Brenna

The first half of the semester the students  learned how to set goals, practice self care in a backcountry setting as well as an international setting and learned how to push themselves in physical activities.  This is an active group of girls!  In Jeffery's Bay the students got to try surfing, Natalie was a natural, and Sarah, Molly and Maeve had good wipe outs, but in the end were able to stand and ride the wave.  On leadership day as part of iLife we focused on different leadership styles. Since we were near Nelson Mandela's home town of Qunu we thought it best to teach the different styles of leadership.  Megan, Mara, Kathrine and Ariela were all in the spontaneous motivator category while Lindsay stood alone in the driver category.  On the Tsitsikamma hike, Peri and Eleanor enjoyed their solo hike time with music, and Juliana helped chop vegetables and collect fire starter, while Anna and Anne assisted in making mac and cheese over the fire. Day to day we are finding time to run and attempt to find as many athletic outings as possible. Emilee is stretching her legs and working on distance running while Hannah is working on strengthening her back.  We have had little time to reflect on the first half of the semester, but look forward to the Orange river and other fun Namibia activities! See you soon!

*The girls are working on mini-marathon goals for the end of the semester. Stay tuned for more info on their training accomplishments.

Rhino reality

Here's an article from Sylvia - wow and to think TTS22 was able to see over 10 rhinos in Kruger this semester.

Personally, I(Aunge) hope they can solve this problem soon as the rhino is my totem, or spirit animal, given to me by Japhet. I'll never know why. Any soon your daughters will have their totems too.

Welcome to Namibia

Namibia Facts |  Republic of Namibia Information | Namibia Statistics

Let me set the scene -

After approximately two weeks in the booming metropolis of Cape Town, filled with mind blowing activities and stamina building athletics, the group settled into two long truck days to reach Namibia. I'm guessing each one plugged into her Ipod and reflected back to standing inside Nelson Mandela's jail cell or to the young child playing at the primary school or to the plethora of souvenirs and goodies at the market. She probably relished in the quietness and stretched her legs, remembering how they burned up the steep trail on Table Mountain. And then she probably had an impromptu dance party, card game or nap as the bustling scenes of South Africa drifted further into the distance and the rich red dirt took over the landscape.

Then the group approached the border, the first border crossing in Big Blue, and tucked their passports discreetly into their third pockets to go stand in line for the next stamp in the passport. In line they probably heard over ten languages bouncing off the cement walls. Maybe they walked into the next country for their next stamp or maybe they hopped back into the truck to rumble over the bridge.

Namibia Facts |  Republic of Namibia Information | Namibia Statistics
Namibian flag
And finally they arrived at their first Namibian campsite along the banks of the Orange River. The landscape now screamed out hundreds of desert colors with various bushes polka dotting the rolling hills. After a day of recuperation and classes, the group set off for a four day, three night canoe trip down river. Their three guides have been leading trips on the river for many years and shared numerous stories of their childhoods, the diamond industry and life today as Africa embraces technology and the merging of cultures.

The first day on the river was extremely windy and challenged everyone to keep their vessel straight. One wrong move in the two woman canoe, and the wind shot them straight to shore. According to Brenna it was a group effort to make it downstream and often two boats were tied together to maximize power. The wind let up during the afternoon of the second day and the group made good progress. Little rapids proved to pack a soft punch and most girls giggled their way down the line. And as often as possible they all jumped in and enjoyed the cooling waters.

The river meandered around bends and drifted leisurely through wide meadows. There were water fights and different boating games along the way. And, as this river drains into the Atlantic Ocean it passes through diamond territory. The group visited an abandoned diamond mine and saw first hand the recent history of the industry. And, rumor is, the teachers and guides played an epic prank on the girls... but that's not my story to tell...

One evening the group hiked to an old quarry and mined for minerals. (Of course, I can't remember what the minerals are called.) And after creating a big campfire, each girl through her mineral in one at a time and watched as it heated up and burst into green, blue and red flames. Afterwards, the girls rolled out their sleeping bags and curled up on the soft grasses for a night under the stars.

And finally, the trip came to an end and everyone piled back into the old school bus for the bumpy ride back to camp. The trip reinvigorated the group and provided more bonding time in the outdoors. A few days later, the group repacked Big Blue and set off northwards to further investigate the history of diamond mining and the German influence in Namibia (previously known as German Southwest Africa and South-West Africa).

During the expedition, the Travel Journalism girls had a tough challenge - Felix Unite, the river company, needed new marketing materials. With Heather and Brenna's help, they developed a competition seeking the best article about a river trip with their company and a supporting photograph. I believe there was a prize - but the true prize is having the article and photograph published. And... drum roll please... the winners are:
Article - Hannah 
Photograph - Eleanor

Thanks for following the blog and sharing your comments! I will post more pictures as I find them.
Photo Credit: Eleanor, sophomore, California

Discovering a New World with Felix Unite
By Hannah, senior, Michigan

            Canoes shatter the still reflection of the towering mountains as they skim across the surface of the Orange River. You could be sitting in that canoe. The current pulls you along and you dip the paddle just beneath the surface, causing an explosion of ripples. The guides from Felix Unite River Adventures shout encouragements from the front of the group, you can count on a trip you will never forget.
            Throughout this trip you will never come across a view that will bore you. In fact, the hardest part about this trip is how easy it is to get lost in your surroundings and end up stuck on a sandbank. As you follow the Orange River you are constantly crossing the border between South Africa and Namibia and the environment around you seems to change every five minutes. At one point you are looking at vast sandy beaches and at the next you will see jagged red cliffs with rocks of every color and type blended in. This setting makes you feel like you are in your own secluded world because the mountains provide an escape from not only the view of civilization but the worries of home as well.
            Felix Unite also offers guides who are extremely knowledgeable about canoeing and the history of the area. “The guides really went above and beyond to teach us about everything from mining to starts,” Emilee, a student from the United States, remarked after returning from her trip.
            As the sun sets behind the mountains a pink glows falls across the river and then the real phenomenon becomes visible. One by one the stars begin to dance in the sky with a brilliance that would be unimaginable anywhere else. After a filling meal cooked over the fire you will be ready to curl up beneath the stars and feel a whole new connection with nature.

Aunge and Leah prepare for bed on Orange River, TTS18

Cape Town adventures - 3 student blog posts

Good things come to those who work for it.
 By: Bird, Junior, Iowa

Tony, standing about five and a half feet tall wearing a blue button up shirt and khakis, was our tour guide through the University of Western Cape, the Nooitgedauitt Primary School, and through some of Cape Towns oldest townships.

Wide-eyed TTS girls followed Tony through several school buildings on the University of Western Cape campus. I asked him about a poster on the wall with the slogan “Turn your what if into something big”! Tony personally turned his personal “what if” into something big by working from the age of 12 to save for college. He expressed frustration with some UWC students who take a palm open approach, expecting everything to be given to them.

The students at Nooitgedauitt Primary School have their “what if”s in mind but aren’t sure if it will turn into “something big”. We didn't have much time to talk with the students, but we did have a chance to hear their “what if”s.

Tony stuck with his message of hard work over handouts as we drove through the townships. The two bedroom cinder block homes take up to three times as much space as the shacks once there before. Continuing to drive through the new homes in the township,  we were astonished by the contrast of living styles between the township people. We eventually squeezed through a street with shanties on either side.

The People in the Shadows
By: Eleanor, Sophomore, California

"Robben Island was the 1840's dumping ground", explained our guide, Toiey, as we bumped along an asphalt road with penguin crossing signs passing by. Toiey(pronounced Toy-a) told us, with a tone hinting at indignant, about how many saw Robben Island as simply a political prison which held Nelson Mandela. In fact, he stated, Mandela only spent eighteen of his twenty-seven years of imprisonment on the Island, and Robben had been used as a prison for five hundred years. We listened to this new information, sixteen heads bent over hastily scribbled notes. We had arrived with preconceived notions already being annihilated by Robben Island's rolling hilltops dotted with sporadic buildings, previously assumed to be an Island consumed by the prison, much more Alcatraz-like.
We were expecting to experience a place scarred by suppressed freedom and political angst, what lay before us bore much more. Robben Island started as a leper colony,ostracized and banished to die. Loved ones were separated, be they male and female, for fear they would have a child. There are twelve to thirteen hundred graves on the island today, the only sign these people ever existed. One church remains standing, the rest of this colony's homes and buildings were demolished as soon as they died. Many of them were not lepers at all but had contracted a rash and with one glance, doctors would diagnose them with leprosy and seal their fate of doom.
This event which was so monumental in so many lives, was almost forgotten as soon as something else of importance happened. There can only be one legacy for a place and it can only be good or bad. The good things of Robben Island, penguins frolicking, beautiful scenery, inmates during the apartheid era getting a magnificent education, turn invisible in the light of the tragic injustices committed.
Our trip to Robben Island decimated our assumptions and showed us that history is not confined to the textbook. We walked in the footsteps of some of the most powerful and inspiring leaders in the world and learned about sufferings of the people within the shadows.

Summitting Table Mountain
By: Emilee, Sophomore, Montana

Weaving our way among boulders and rocky paths, the breath-taking rock formations of Table Mountain loomed above us.  Small drops of water fell from the sides of cliffs and TTS hiked up the last incline of rocky path, reaching the top of Table Mountain.  Emerging from the shade of the gorge, we were engulfed in sun that lit up the surface of the mountain, lifting our moods and encouraging a sense of accomplishment.  How did we make it to the top of the mountain?

Starting from the Zebra Crossing Hostel, we trekked up a hill with the morning sun beating down on us, finally arriving at the trail head which lead us to the mountain.  An estimation of three hours one way was our expected time hiking.  Strapping on our day packs, we set off!  For about an hour we went directly uphill, stopping for much needed water breaks.  Though doubtful of the trail choice we had made, we soon began to hike up the mountain.  "We're heading up!" or other cheers could be heard as encouragement filled the air. 

While covering more and more ground, the city of Cape Town appeared to become smaller as we gained height from the steep mountain side.  Seeing the scattered houses, mountains, and bay behind us, the enormity of Cape Town came into perspective.  "We're on top of the bottom of the world!" Anna announced.  The gorge came into view and everyone became anxious since the top was so near.  Our legs grew tired but we hiked on and the feeling we felt when we stood on top of Table Mountain was incomparable to any other moment.  White fluffy clouds spotted the bright blue sky and the rough mountain with green bushes surrounded us as we turned in circles at the beauty.  Not only did we push through the difficult moments of the hike, everyone was supportive to other girls when they most needed it. 

After congratulating each other, we formed a circle and each girl dedicated her hike up Table Mountain to a friend, family member, or someone they admire. The wind blew across the mountain and we explored the views of Cape Town before loading onto the gondola.  The gondola ride smoothly took us through the air and hung over the trail we had successfully hiked.  At the end of the day, our feet were tired but we were all proud of each other for pushing through challenges and reaching a rewarding goal.  

Tales of trekking - 2 TJ articles

Tsitsikamma: Day One
By: Natalie, Junior, Vermont 

As all sixteen girls jumped of "Big Blue", the excitement was evident among the sea of quick-dry shirts and backpacks stuffed to the top. With boots tied and waist belts tightened, the girls of TTS22 set off to the Tsitsikamma Mountain range for a three-day backpacking trip.

The walk to the first of two huts, where the girls would be staying the night, was a quick five kilometers through the dense fynbos biome of the region. Upon arrival, girls raced into the hut to claim a spot on one of the triple decker bunk beds. The hut was quickly deemed "the perfect place for 'tent talk'" (AKA: bonding) by Sarah. After getting settled, the girls went for a swim in Tsitsikamma's "pool", or river, which was discovered to double as a water tap. Everyone learned to purify water whether it was with a Steri Pen, water pump, or Aquamira. Confidence in this activity quickly grew; however, some girls still insisted on using all three types of purification. "A triple check never hurts," stated Megan after enjoying a sip of fresh and clean water.

As the day came to a close, preparation for dinner kicked into full swing. After fire building, chopping, and cheese grating, delicious macaroni and cheese was enjoyed. Now, with just enough carbs to power the next day's 14 kilometer trek, the first day of backpacking came to a conclusion, only to be interrupted by a massive spider. As fearless leader, Brenna, ran into the girls' hut clinging to her sleeping bag, the girls jumped to the top level bunks in hopes of reaching safety. After much dispute, a spider capturing plan was assembled by Eleanor, the heroine of the night. Following a safe release of the spider and one or two last spider scans, the girls finally closed their eyes and went to sleep as the long day of hiking awaited.

Tsitsikamma and the Outdoor Diva
By: Eleanor, Sophomore, California
Tired and hungry, Peri marched through spiky thicket and climbed over rotting logs, huge ferns arching over her head. She was unsure whether she was beating her way towards the refuge of the cabin she'd walked 14 kilometers to reach, or if every step was in the wrong direction and was one she'd have to retrace.

We started our morning  next to a merrily crackling fire with scrumptious oatmeal warming our stomachs. Our group buzzed with anticipation  for the longest trek of our three-day journey. We hiked through lush green valleys, pausing occasionally to take a drink and dip our water bottles into the glowing, iron-tinted streams of the Tsitsikamma. We conquered a never-ending steep ravine that finally bore the fruit of a breathtaking view at the top. It seemed the whole world lay at our feet, with us cradled by mountain peaks. It was only in the last slog of our march, as everyone separated for a solo hike, that one of our crew fell prey to a hapless mistake.
Peri doesn't like solo hikes. She says "talking motivates you up those steep hills". So as everyone started to drift apart she chose to stay with the pack at the front that was sticking together. Unfortunately, this pack was going at a fast clip and wouldn't pause for her to take pictures. Soon it was just her and her camera. 

A sign read only two more kilometers to the cabin, so Peri pushed on. And on. And on. What had once been a well worn path turned into a thread Peri had to bushwack to follow. Her pulse quickened and she looked around her in that paralyzing fear one gets when she is lost. She sat down and decided to wait for the next person to catch up. Fifteen minutes passed and Peri scrutinized her surroundings more closely. In the mud ahead of her she saw no familiar stampede of footprints, so she began to backtrack. She anxiously searched for where she went wrong and eventually found a diverging path she had missed before. Peri trudged up the path and finally she arrived to the welcoming congratulations and smiles of the rest of the girls. "I almost started crying because I was so happy that I'd found my way back. I realized I could solve any problems that nature threw at me." Peri says, "People call me a diva, but now I'm the outdoor diva."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

More academic updates - Literature, History, and Global Studies

Honors History and Government of Southern Africa 
view from Mandela's cell

While in Cape Town students visited Robben Island and were toured through the prison by an ex-prisoner! Imprisoned for 8 years, he told the story of why he was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to a term on the Island. He spoke of the reverence he had for Mandela, Sisulu and Tambo, who were imprisoned just 50 meters away, yet whom he never saw. At the time of my writing, students are in their homestays with Cape Coloured families. One of the most exciting aspects of their homestays is that many of them are older, which means they can share their first-hand experiences of Apartheid. Already students are connecting various policies they read about to the life-experiences of the families. This week we will visit the District 6 museum, the site of  the forced removal of 70,000 Coloured inhabitants in the creation of a white community, which will cap off our time in South Africa. Students also recently visited a privately-owned diamond museum, where they received a particular perspective of history from the diamond companies. It will be fascinating to explore the social ramifications of mining once we travel to Namibia and stop in abandoned mining towns. On the ferry to Robben Island I asked students to connect mining to the prison. We still have much work to do in connecting the dots, but their brains are on fire. Go history students!
political graffiti in Cape Town
Political graffiti in Cape Town

Honors World Literature and Composition

For the past few weeks the tension has run high for literature students. What would happen to Orleanna, Rachel, Leah, Adah, and Ruth May? Without television or internet, students began to see The Poisonwood Bible as their daily dose of drama. They shrieked when they finished a chapter, and others ran about with their fingers in their ears as some students finished the novel, not wanting to know what happened next until they could read it for themselves. Often, on the truck and in the tents one student would read aloud while others gathered around wide-eyed. After a bit of slam poetry on the beach in Jeffrey's Bay, students embarked on a 3-day hike. Each day when we arrived at our cabin the students found a spot on the rocks or in the sun to work on their analytical essays. They exchanged papers, and helped each other through the process. Now that the novel, and their midterms, are finished, the students are wondering 'what next?' They will find out their next installment soon...

Global Studies 

The Global Studies course is a 'catch-all', tying all of the classes together and relating the material to not only the place we're in, but the place students are from. Students just finished the nonfiction account of an Afrikaner's reluctant return to South Africa's apartheid, My Traitor's Heart, exploring concepts of identity, guilt, love, and responsibility. These themes weave through each experience, conversation, and site visit. From speaking to Xhosa boys on the riverfront about their lives in Mandela's hometown, to hearing about an instance of mob justice from the director of an AIDS organization, the students are strengthening their skills in making connections beyond textbooks. They are actively practicing their critical thinking skills, and brimming with questions at each turn. They want to know 'how?' and 'why?' from each person we meet. As we prepare to head up to Namibia, students will begin to think about eco-tourism and vanishing cultures.

Young Xhosa Dancer

Cape Coast Highway near Cape Town- (notice the unique geological rock variation)

Sunrise on the savannah

One large Baobab tree

*Please note these pics are from previous trips.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Thinking about a new pet?

Wow - Talk about Hands-On Learning experiences! TTS22 is a lucky bunch of ladies, rarely do trips get to pet cheetahs (or other big creatures).  These pics were taken at Maholoholo Rehabilitation Center in South Africa. If you want to find out more about the center, or see common photos of animals who stay there, check out:

The fastest land animal in the world, the cheetah is a marvel of evolution. The cheetah's slender, long-legged body is built for speed. Cheetahs are tan in color with black spots all over their bodies. They can also be distinguished from other big cats by their smaller size, spotted coats, small heads and ears and distinctive "tear stripes" that stretch from the corner of the eye to the side of the nose.

Did you know?       A cheetah can cover up to 20 feet in just one stride with its powerful legs. 



Did You Know?
Unlike other big cats, cheetahs cannot roar. However, they can purr on both inhale and exhale, like domestic cats! 





 Did You Know?
When cheetahs are running, they use their tails to help them steer and turn in the direction they want to go, like the rudder of a boat.







The group also helped feed the lions (from the other side of the fence), played with vultures, studied the rhinos, and watched the busy honey badger scurry around its pen.  The badger has escaped multiple times over the years- a few successful attempts include: building ladders with rocks and branches to go over and digging a hole 7 ft deep to go under. The pen now has inverted fencing at the top of the 5 foot cage and the cement footings are over 12 feet under ground.


Science midterm point!  From Sylvia

Oh yes, these students are remarkable for the amount they have learned in the first half of the semester!   I am truly impressed with their interest level and determination to understand both the theoretical and the practical side of science.  Of course, naturally the more active the exercise the more interesting, but that's no problem for me as I also love the hands-on, practical and experiential side to teaching science. These ladies are engaged in their learning and have remarkable insights into both natural history and environmental issues topics. My course concentrates on four main areas under the heading of "Honors Natural Science: Population Ecology and Conservation."  The four units within the class are roughly divided into the following themes:
A. Population Ecology -
           The major theories and topics under this heading have been taught but as these concepts are naturally all-encompassing and widely applicable, these topics will be revisited and reincorporated into lessons as the synthesis of this information in various site and issue-specific teachings is critical.  
B. Geology -
           Today's class was the official start to this unit.  The unit covers plate tectonics, geological time scales, geological landscapes in the countries we visit, volcanoes, diamonds, Eolian landforms, etc.  Today we had class next to the Orange River and started this unit on the micro level and students drew the evident rock/cliff stata. This is a second time we examined strata (Drakensberg was the first) and we will continue to look at various geological strata whenever the opportunity presents itself. Today we also examined rocks, after learning the difference between a rock and a mineral naturally,  we studied the processes that give us igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. For homework, students focused on keying out "their" rock using the classifying and identifying worksheet.  Students said they had a lot of fun looking at rocks on the beaches of the Orange River....I wonder, was it the beach or the rocks?  
C.  Land Management and Conservation-
           Though we have discussed township access to resources and other major poverty and ecology issues, these themes are principal to our objectives here at The Traveling School.  All conservation has to be founded on good science.  Conversation and science studies cannot be separated and thus this theme is ongoing.  In our world of rapid environmental destruction, I believe it is my obligation as a teacher to empower the students to be agents of change. There are methods that work based on good science and people and projects doing good work.  These examples are covered in the final section. 
D. Current Events-

        Regardless whether we are talking, teaching, learning, discussing, observing, practicing, applying or simply reading, our curriculum brings in real life, place-based opportunities whenever possible such as the ongoing debate on Rhino conservation. In our mock debate, some of the students debated in favor of poisoning each horn, others argued rhinos should be farmed for their horns and yet others argued for stricter trade laws and regulations. Each group referenced readings, observations and interviews to create a richly stimulating debate. Current events and place-specific opportunities are indeed the strength of our TTS curriculum. 

Math Concepts - Sylvia and Brenna

Our small class setting allows us to give each student individual financial strategies to succeed in her next step. The simulation game, "The Game of Life", recently ended and students handled financial twists and turns with finesse.  For example, Sarah's character was a working mother with three kids, one of whom broke her leg while studying in Germany.  The unexpected  medical emergency expenses compounded her enormous debt already acquired from her home remodel.  Sarah had to negotiate the consequences of all her character's actions and choices and never knew what next week would bring. Other students faced financial curveballs: Megan's character had to deal with the absent father of her child who disappeared after racking up an great deal of debt which became her character's debt. Maeve's character was a big earning surgeon who alternated between high rolling nights out at the clubs and spontaneous five star vacations, on one of which she bought an expensive dog.  Lindsay's ski guide lifestyle made long term financial planning difficult because clients would come and go. She also sustained a foot injury and received workmen's compensation. Ariela's character was a hard working single mom until she found the love of her life and got married. The wedding was five times more expensive than originally planned.  Everyone learned how bad choices are not necessarily correlated with income levels.

For the midterm exam, students created individual guides to "Flying the Coop!".  In these guides students reviewed all the financial instruments we studied and the terminology learned, along with the associated pros and cons inherent in daily life.  This guide will be useful when the students become independent, and perhaps the lessons will be a relief to their parents. These projects were beautifully put together and demonstrated the depth of their understanding and their joy in applying their knowledge!

Please stay tuned for more class updates!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Academic Updates

Algebra 2
Algebra 2 class continues to challenge girls to understand patterns and make generalizations. Girls created colorful graphs to demonstrate patterns in transformations of common function graphs. Word problems often scary for students, but girls have been tackling increasingly difficult problems by working collaboratively and using strategies to break down problems into manageable chunks. Molly and Bird have found that talking through their steps aloud with each other is an enormous help in brainstorming and identifying errors in their reasoning. Students are learning to use more of the features of their graphing calculators, as we did when modeling linear data. Girls measured and recorded data for heights of stacks of bowls and then used their graphing calculators to create and graph an equation to show how the stack height increased with the number of bowls. We owe thanks to our cook Mvuu, who allowed us to borrow bowls from the kitchen! Most recently, girls have applied their earlier work in understanding the relationship between graphs, equations, and solutions to solve problems involving systems of linear equations.

Girls in Precalculus continue to develop their problem solving skills as we puzzle through applications of linear and quadratic functions. In the past several weeks, girls studied common parent functions and explored patterns in transformations of functions with a colorful graphing activity. We reviewed solving various types of equations including linear, quadratic, rational, and radical equations with a focus on understanding the process rather than memorization. Girls discovered the relationship between the quadratic formula and characteristics of the graph of a quadratic function and applied their knowledge to solve problems involving maximizing or minimizing. A graphing calculator-based investigation on the behavior of graphs of polynomials prepared students for further study of polynomials coming up the second half of the semester.

Travel Journalism

We hope you enjoy the activity blog updates from the Travel Journalism girls! In addition to working individually on their blog updates, girls continuously interview, write, revise, and re-write their articles addressing a chosen aspect of education in Africa. To gather information for their articles, girls conducted informal interviews whenever possible. Eleanor, Anne, and Ariela interviewed students at schools in Waterval Boven and the Drakensburg Mountains. Hannah interviewed people in schools and campgrounds to get various perspectives on the meaning of the South African national anthem. Emilee had a long chat with our cook Mvuu about how education in Zimbabwe has changed during his lifetime, and Ngwena talked to Natalie about his views on culture and education. In class, we discussed narrowing down topics to specific stories and focusing stories on the people involved, as well as practiced writing good leads. Ariela and Hannah led short discussions analyzing published articles to draw out lessons to be applied to our own writing. After peer-editing during the Tsitsikama trek, girls submitted the final draft of their articles as a culmination of the work for the first half of the semester.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Leadership & Mandela Day

(student TJ article)

Nelson Mandela throughout the ages
By the end of the day, we had gained insight into Mandela's life and what it means to be a leader. Although Mandela worked to end apartheid, we experienced a representation of apartheid today, and most girls were struck by the moment we shared with seven boys who live in Africa. This real experience compared to the pictures we saw at the Nelson Mandela Museum and allowed us to have a background on what is happening in Africa today, which still includes discrimination between white and black people.

On our way to Mvezo, the birth place of Mandela, our truck (Big Blue) was buzzing with discussions on leadership. Each girl shared two people in her life whom she looks up to and admires as a personal mentor. Before we arrived in Mvezo, our truck pulled off of the road near the Mbashe River, where Mandela swam during his childhood. Here we found shade and set up chairs where we sat and discussed Mandela's eight lessons of leadership. At this time near the river, a group of seven boys who were close to our age approached us. The boy who spoke English told us they go to Nelson Mandela School and love swimming in the river. We learned a few Xhosa words and a little Xhosa culture when we noticed thin ropes tied around the waists of some of the boys and soon learned they were ropes provided by a traditional healer to keep evil away. Our conversation with the group was across a barbed wire fence separating TTS girls from the seven boys, since they were on land beyond the road. The represented the racial divide between whites and blacks, poor and wealthy, and great language barriers. Symbolizing apartheid and the separation between races in Africa, the fence breaking us apart from the boys showed how Mandela ended apartheid yet it still exists today.

rock rondaval with thatched roof
We came upon rondavals (circular huts), that are undergoing construction to become another Mandela Museum. Currently, fifty Xhosa people are training for jobs in the buildings. We had the opportunity to talk with the people and freely ask any questions we were curious about. A group of women taught greetings in Xhosa which were useful in starting conversations and taught us about a similar culture the boy who talked in English spoke of, but from an older perspective.

Another short ride on paved and gravel roads brought us to the Nelson Mandela Museum and a pile of wood to show where the school, Mandela attended, stood. The museum was full of knowledge on Mandela's life and his participation in ending apartheid. Sylvia added, “I loved how in the Mandela Museum, they talked about a lot of other people.” “It embodied Mandela's selflessness.”, Anne confirmed. Down a steep hill from the museum was Mandela's sliding rock. This is where he and his friends would sit and slide down the smooth surfaced rock, catching speed near the end. Laughter filled the air as each of us scooted down the rock with only our feet to stop us!
Mandela's boyhood church

BY: EMILEE, Bozeman, MT, sophomore


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Call for Mail!!

Dear TTS22 Parents, Family and Friends,

You may already know that I will join the group in Namibia with the Campus Visit Trip. I’d like to extend an offer to all families to deliver up to 10 cards or letters to your daughters for you. If you would like to collect letters or cards from yourself, friends and/or family and mail them to the TTS PO Box 7058, Bozeman, MT 59771 (they must arrive no later than Wednesday, October 23rd), I will get them to your daughters (teachers included!!). Please don't send packages at all; we ask that you send nothing bigger than regular office sized envelopes, as I will need to pack light enough to meet the weight restrictions for my luggage. I'll collect your letters, cards, photos, newspaper clippings and hand deliver them straight to your daughters. 


Monday, October 7, 2013

Hang 10!

(student TJ article)
TTS18 in J-Bay

The plan, in typical TTS fashion, went awry. In fair Jeffrey's Bay where we lay our scene, you could find 'gnarly surfers crossing' signs planted haphazardly in the cement of the quaint main street. And on a bleak Friday morning at 6:30, you could find a mammoth overland truck carrying 16 girls towards Island Time Surf School.

For the sake and sanity of our surf instructor, a young man named Vern, we split into two groups for lessons. Group one suited up, which was easier said than done. The nature of wetsuits is clingy and suffocating, requiring half of your energy simply to squeeze yourself into it. After a lesson in sand surfing, Vern turned us loose to the Indian Ocean.

The ocean must have had it in for us. To say the waves are a tumble dry washing machine would be an accurate statement. The sensation is in one way high speed and the other slow motion. You feel the board slip out from underneath your body, you have a split second to think Really? Again?, and then the swell crashes over your head. It pummels at your body, then flips you head over heels as if to rid your pockets of lunch money. Every single time a girl got swept under a wave she'd come up sputtering and laughing, shouting “That was sick!” for all to hear. But the breakthrough moment when you finally get yourself standing on the board, a shaky infant on new legs, is beautiful.

So, how did the plans go awry? Everything seemed fine for group one, and indeed, it was. Group two was turned away, the surf deemed too high for beginners. So on Sunday morning at the crack of dawn, we came back. Group two had the opportunity to hang ten with just as much fervor and luck as group one. Yeah, nothing went according to plan. But such is the essence of The Traveling School, and such is life. The experience required adaptation, and as newly ordained surfers, we went with the flow. 

BY: ANNE, North Carolina, Junior