By Emma Mitchell and Mathew Lancaster
Hallo! Site Two has spent the past week in Pretoria, learning about Afrikaner culture and history. Some very generous families opened their homes to us this week, allowing us to get a closer look at the life of an Afrikaner during the evenings, and to build close relationships with the people that allowed us to stay with them. Our days were spent listening to lectures on the history of Afrikaners, visiting various monuments and buildings around Pretoria, and, a highlight for everyone, spending time visiting a lion park, where we got to pet lion cubs and go on a game drive! By far however, the best part of our week was the time that we got to spend with our host families. We truly felt welcomed into their families and we are all sad to see the week come to an end! Below are some of the best things that we experienced with our host families during our week in Pretoria.
Emma Mitchell: “My host parents were an amazing couple named Rona and Nico. They invited six of us into their home this week- and anyone who knows our site knows that as a big group, we can be a lot to handle. Nonetheless, we were shown nothing but love by Rona and Nico this week. On our first day with them they took us on a safari at a nature reserve. I got to see wild zebras, rhinos, hippos, lions, and ostriches for the first time, which was the coolest thing ever. Every night we came home to a delicious home-cooked meal, some traditional foods, like biltong, and some foods we had been craving since leaving home, like pizza. On our last day with them, they took us to the zoo, and had their family over for a braai. Leaving them at the end of the week broke all of our hearts a little bit, but we swore to keep in contact, and we made plans to see them again before we all fly home at the end of the semester.”
Megan Dueck: “I think my favourite part of the semester so far was actually my Afrikaner homestay. Before the semester started I was already so stoked for the experience of living with a family of a different culture. Skylar and I spent our week with a couple and their two kids, enjoying the opportunity to separate ourselves from the larger group and be fully immersed in the daily life of this lovely family. We were able to learn from simple discussions, their view on what has happened and is happening in South Africa right now. It opened my eyes to how everyone experiences post-Apartheid differently, and how that means moving forward from it will be different for everyone. In a country of such diversity, embracing differences and creating unity despite the history of Apartheid will certainly be a long and difficult process. It takes longer to build after everything that has been torn apart. I only wish we could have had more time to build even better relationships with our homestay family.”