Friday was an interesting day. We began by going to Soweto (name is derived from shortening South West Township). It became a black suburb of Johannesburg during the Apartheid Era when the government moved all the blacks out of the city center. It is the location of much of the struggle against the Apartheid government. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu both have homes in this area. The people have a great deal of pride in their land and home. They police the area themselves. It has been effective since crime is virtually non-existent there. After touring the Hector Pieterson Museum (Hector Pieterson was a 13 year old who was shot and killed by police in a peaceful rally on June 16, 1976) and learning a great deal about the struggle against the govenments system we were off to a local restaurant. Many mystery meats there and some great ice cream.
After lunch it was off to the University of Johannesburg Soweto campus. We expected to have a cultural exchange with the Soweto choir, but walked in to discover that there was an Arts competition taking place at the school with hundreds of enthusiastic spectators and that we were one of the groups to perform. When we sang our South African songs the response was beyond belief. The judge asked to speak to us after the performance, was complimentary and then proceded to enthusiatically discuss President Obama and play a rally song for his campaign.
We returned to the hotel and got ready for the last dinner in South Africa. Unfortunately it was at this time that three of the girls were hit with the flu. They have seen a doctor and have some medications for the trip home. Our traveling nurses Cheryl Olson and Susan Becht were wonderful. We had a meeting in Dr. Rieck's huge suite and talked about the great trip that we have experienced and how we want this to be a beginning for us as we seek to share the ways that we have been changed by our experiences. Thanks for your support and for your interest in reading our blog. There will be more posts when we arrive back in the states. For now it is off to the Apartheid Museum and then the airport. It has been unbelievable. Can't wait to see everyone at home.