Although there were some informational meetings prior to our departure to South Africa, I consider our first meeting at the airport at JFK since all 16 of us were together for the first time awaiting our flight to Johannesburg. A group of 16 CSUF students eager to learn and experience what it’s like to live in South Africa, eating meals together, studying together, shopping together, and getting sick together.
We were complete strangers living together at Crow’s Nest for 5 weeks, and although each of us come from different backgrounds, we will all have this entire experience to share. From Human Services, Health Science, American Studies, Biology, English, Theature, Communications, Political Science, and all these other majors in our group, we really do come from different perspectives. It’s hard to imagine that you can build such strong relationships within a group so diverse, but this South Africa class of Summer 2011 has been lucky enough to do that. I can’t stress enough how amazing I think so many of these people are. There have just been so many times when I just sit there with this sense of awe…and all I can say is, “I LOVE our group”.
Our sense of humor as a whole is so on point, it’s insane to me that we can all share as many laughs as we have on this trip. The one-liners, inappropriate pictures, and intellectual conversations about our bodily functions…these are the moments I wish we had documented.
Meat pies, diarrhea, lambhouf (because it’s not pronounced lambhoof), brutal fruit, savanna dry, Gondwana’s! , “Monkey! Monkey! Monkey!” , “First touching animals, next touching children!”, Madibaz café, Pick N’ Pay, Uncle Shaddly aka Moses, “authentic”, bungee jumping, cuddling with animals, cooking dinner on hot plates, bumpy bus rides, karaoke, our confidence boosting conversation at the farm, and all the other things I can’t remember right now but … maria’s laugh, cori’s laugh and planking, anil’s nerdiness, mel’s eating and “bomb easy mac”, ashley’s sarcasm, gabby’s tim face and bamboo, katie’s humor (seriously), jessica’s “this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever!”, aubree’s tattoos, melissa’s…impressions haha, kristina’s BAAAAd jokes, christie’s awesomeness for our shared experience at the airport!, marla’s paranoia in the most positive sense haha, tiffany’s expertise on castrating sheep and being such a great roommate, taylor’s “YA BITCH!” haha, and our professor, Carrie’s general awesomeness as a person/educator.
These are only a snippet of the things that I will remember about this trip and these people, and being around this group has played such a big role in my experience in South Africa. We are hilarious, fun, intelligent, open minded, genuine, sarcastic, friendly, generous, passionate and just so effing cool, and I’m excited to see what else life has in store for us.
Honestly, being surrounded by these people not only makes me feel good about myself as a person because I’ve connected with them, but meeting them and knowing that there are so many genuinely good people in the world who are so different yet so similar…gives me hope. It gives me hope that such a good group of students exists within our generation. We are a group of students who want to learn as much as we can, and want to use our knowledge to do good. Whether it’s in South Africa, United States, or anywhere else on the globe, I can already picture each one of us contributing to make this world a better place.