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South Africa J-Term Blog #3

Friday, our second full day at the school was nothing short of amazing! Filled with more song and dance, it was an energizing day in which we got to finish some projects that we started earlier in the week.

Classroom in Nkume Primary School

From ordering 17 whiteboards and whiteboard accessories for each classroom, to installing 6 fans in their library and (new!!!) computer room, we stayed busy for sure! Some of our education students also got to lead lessons in the classrooms, touching on topics like the differences between traditional and modern-day Africa.

The Future of Africa sent Nkume Primary School students T-shirts.

Earlier in the semester, Future of Africa sent over 100 T-shirts and notes to Nkume, and we finally got to open the box and pass them out! The kids there definitely have a sense of style — we’ll just say that.

Zulu museum

After the last full day at the school, we got to explore the Dlinza Forest in Eshowe and climb up 20 meters to see it from the top! Then, we went to a local Zulu museum to learn about the Zulu history throughout the years — extremely important as we are in Zululand.

Carthage students attended dinner with the Honorable Mayor of Eshowe and a few other municipality...

Finally, after all of that fun, we were invited to a dinner with the honorable mayor of Eshowe and a few other municipality guests. There were incredible speeches and songs, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that hearing from Nkume teachers and the deputy mayor made us feel so reassuring about the work we have been doing at the school. 

The day we’ve all been dreading has come — the day we have to say goodbye to our family at Nkume Primary School.

Students passing out fruit.

After spending all morning running around, playing various games, and having dance parties, as well as passing out fruit to every single student, there were many teary-eyed hugs and “see-you-laters.”

Zulu beaded bracelet

Zandile, the school’s director, even gifted us with traditional Zulu beaded bracelets and Nkume mugs, which were sweet parting gifts! While leaving is hard, we can feel happy about the time we spent at the school completing projects that we’ve been dreaming about for the past two years. Thank you to the incredible generosity and welcoming spirit that Nkume gave us!

Nkume students say goodbye to Carthage students.

The Zulu language lesson of the day: Ngiyakuthanda.
Phonetic: in-ghee-yuh-coo-thahn-dah
English translation: I love you.

Indian Ocean

After our tearful parting, our group headed to St. Lucia, or known here as iSimangaliso so that it stops getting confused with the island of Saint Lucia. We got to catch the sunset over the Indian Ocean at one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen! The water there is so warm and felt so much better than Lake Michigan. After sunset, we ate dinner and then got a good rest — Sunday is our first safari!

Catch you later…

— Morgan Tracy ’22

About the study tour

Service Learning in Communities — Nkume Primary School

Travel dates
May 23-June 6, 2022

Prof. Michele Hancock (education)
Prof. Jacqueline Easley (education)

This study abroad trip begins in a rural region of South Africa where our outreach work at Nkume Primary School continues. Students will have the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of the students who attend the school through education, school maintenance projects, and planting new crops in the recently established vegetable garden.

The next part of our adventure takes us on an exhilarating safari experience to search for the Big Five (leopard, lion, elephant, rhino, and buffalo); a moment of solace in the ancient Drakensberg Mountains; and a journey along the Eastern Cape’s iconic Garden Route and complete the experience with a trip at one of South Africa’s most sought-after coastal towns. Learn more