Try Pronouncing Tsitsikamma…

Come on. I dare you!

Okay I’ll tell you. Sound it out! Its pronounced: “one-of-the-most-beautiful-places-I’ve-been-to-yet”.

5 of us girls packed ourselves into our Toyota Corolla and set out for an adventure. And an adventure it was.

We drove 3 hours to Plettenberg Bay and visited a wonderful farmers market! The market was set up in the trees which so many beautiful pastries, fresh-squeezed juice, and bread stands. We had a little of what seemed like everything and then made our way over to the craft market that was right next door. Here you had so many different types of goods, ranging from vintage finds to handmade wooden giraffes. There was plenty to look at and we took our time!

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Our next stop was Knysna Head overlook. This had to be the most breathtaking view I ever seen in my entire life. I would compare it to when my family took grandma to Hawaii and we had a huge cliff beyond the backyard that overlooked the ocean. Knysna was a huge drop down the ocean which rocks jetting out everywhere. The waves would come in and you would have a beautiful color combination of the tan rocks, the deep blue ocean and the White Sea foam. Rather than me trying to explain this, why don’t I just show you.

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Our accommodation for the weekend was what truly made the trip so special I believe. We stayed at Bethany Farm which was a little more inland. Jacks, the farm owner, gave us impeccable directions to get to the farm which was quite secluded in a valley. When we arrived to the farm we were greeted by his dog and many cats. We had our own house on the property with several amenities. The house was quite gorgeous, but there was no heating system and the lights ran on solar power so they were quite dim. This combination lead to an interesting night. To top it off, the only wifi available on the farm was underneath a tree directly in the middle of the two houses. With no wifi, three layers of clothes, blankets wrapped around us and what seemed like 20 candles lit on the table of the living room, we did what all 20-something girls would do. We grabbed that old guitar off the wall and improvised our way through “Baby” by Justin Bieber.

The following day was full of adventure and excitement. It began with a lovely visit to a small restaurant for breakfast. After we were fed we headed towards the Storm River. When we got to the coast I was in awe. I am used to the 2 or 3 foot waves off the Port Elizabeth beach but here there were waves reaching 10-13 feet at least. They were incredibly beautiful and carried so much power.

We made our way to the Untouched Adventures gazebo and got into our wetsuits not knowing what would lie ahead. We were going kayaking! After a small “lesson”, Meagan and I got into the kayak both having no knowledge on how exactly to kayak. And with that we kayaked across the waves of the Indian Ocean. That’s right. We went on part of the ocean. (ahhhhh!!!!!!) We followed our way down the river that was in the bottom of a small canyon. The views were absolutely gorgeous! Halfway through the trip we docked our kayaks on the rocky island and got onto our lilos (rafts). We used our hands to paddle ourselves down the river and tried not to realize how blue they were turning. We asked the guide who said the water was around 8 degrees Celsius today (46 degrees F) but in the summer it can get up to 24 degrees C (75 degrees F). So moral of the story, go in the summer.

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We climbed the suspension bridges and the rocks that sat on the coast giving a spectacular view of the ocean. On Sunday morning we had to say goodbye to our beautiful farm and head back to PE. Memories were made.

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Corrina Teague

SOUTH AFRICA– NELSON MANDELA UNIVERSITY, 2018 FALL

Corrina Teague is a Hospitality Management major. She is attending the ISA: Nelson Mandela University program in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, during the Fall 2018 term. She is hoping to have local experiences and see the natural beauties of South Africa while abroad.

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Wake Up to the Noise Around You

It was 7 pm and we had all just finished playing a game of “nerts” for the tenth time that night. Everyone sat at the eight-seater table in the common room, dealing out six decks of cards while someone’s Spotify playlist played in the background. Lucia was my partner and we had just won for the second time in a row, which we celebrated by giving each other a high-five with our damp palms. The room was steamy as we had to keep the doors leading to the terrace closed to make sure no mosquitoes got in.

“I think I’m gonna sit this one out, guys,” I said to the group as I leaned back in the red chair.

The others nodded their heads at me. They were already shuffling their cards in preparation for another game. Sweat dripped down their faces and onto their collarbones as The Black Eyed Peas played. I looked at each of them and was overcome with a feeling of appreciation. This group of sixteen people had all chosen for whatever reason to study at the University of Hyderabad. Even though we came from different backgrounds, we sat together laughing hysterically as if we had known each other for years.

I walked around the table and out to the terrace so that I could watch what was happening on the street. The terrace faced a street that ran perpendicular to the main road of the University. There was always movement and sounds coming from below: motorcycles revving past, laughter dancing through the air, drums being hit. I could easily spend hours sitting on the cement railing listening to the sounds of the night.

I could hear chanting and drums coming from a distance. People from the street served as my alarm as they looked in the distance where I couldn’t see anything. A pack of five dogs ran away from the noise, all of them checking behind their shoulder to see if anyone was following.

A group of fifteen men came into my line of sight. They were holding a white banner with red Hindi words painted on it, which they raised with each chant they bellowed. One of the men was drumming along to the beat as his face brightened from the glow of the drum. I couldn’t understand any of the phrases but I felt their anger radiate up to me with each fist they pushed into the sky. They continued yelling for 20 minutes, with each person in the group taking turns saying a phrase. Some of them got more into it than the others as they danced along to the music.

They moved farther down the street and out of my vision towards the main road. I could still hear them yelling but then the noise suddenly stopped. The men started running past my hostel back towards where they come from, leaving the only sound coming from their sandals hitting the pavement. They each sprinted through people and motorcycles with people watching from around them. Everyone slowly began following them as they crept towards the men’s hostels down the road. It was as if everything had paused for a second, even the trees stopped their dancing to see what was happening.

One of my friends Crystal and I were already planning on hanging out with another student, so we walked down the flight of stairs and exited the gates that guarded our hostel. Our friend sat outside waiting for us.

“Do you know what’s going on? People have been running back and forth for half an hour now,” I said to him.

“You haven’t heard?” he said. “A student committed suicide. He hanged himself from the fan in his room. The police just found him 20 minutes ago.”

People ran past us as we stopped in the middle of the street, the fluorescent lights buzzing above us. I couldn’t find the words to speak, but our friend understood me as he simply nodded his head in an unspoken understanding, watching chaos unravel around us.

Thoughts raced through my head as I stood immobilized. What’s shocking to me is that this has been the third suicide at the University of Hyderabad in the past year, the second in the past 25 days when a girl jumped from a high-rise building. What’s even more shocking is that I’ve become numb to this.

When does this start becoming a problem that people want to take seriously? After the 6th suicide in a month? When you don’t feel any emotional response to someone taking their own life? This isn’t just something that is affecting the West. This is a global issue that I can’t understand how or why it has gotten to the point where we are at.

If this message affects anyone reading it, go tell someone that you appreciate them, that you are grateful they are here on earth.

 


Anne Berset 

INDIA – UNIVERSITY OF HYERDERABAD, 2018 FALL

Anne Berset is double majoring in Creative Writing and Psychology as well as a minor in Philosophy. She is studying at the University of Hyderabad in India for the Fall term, where she will be taking philosophy and political science courses. She hopes to gain a new perspective on culture, politics, and religion while abroad. Anne loves to watch films, go on hikes, and spend time with animals.

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