In Khayelitsha we visited the smallest hotel in S. Africa, Vicky's B&B! We got to visit with Vicky herself as she told us her story of starting her own business as a woman in a male dominated society. She had to persuade her in-laws to even let her attempt what seemed like an impossible idea. Her B&B is in the center of her township, the only two story in sight. She wants to give forigners a chance to experience what south africa is really like. At first the community was afraid something was wrong, white people in the township usually meant trouble. Now with the help of community outreach Vicky has gotten the acceptance and even appreciation from the community.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The past week or so here in Cape Town we have been working with an organization called Olive Leaf in the nearby township of Khayelitsha. I cannot put into words what has come from the experiences we have encountered in these past few days, but I sincerely hope that I have done something for at least one person.
Before we spent time working with OLF we toured both Langa and Khayelitsha. Langa, the oldest formal township in Cape Town is the first of the two we visited. Langa is where a hostel system was created by the government to house migrant workers who came to the city to work, but were not allowed to live within the city. As we also read in one of the novels, men who lived in areas like this would only be able to see their families once, or maybe twice a year.
The first thing we did was visit an arts center where people can come to learn crafts or arts to help sustain themselves and their families. Once they complete classes they can come back to use materials tools. For every item they sell they then get 70% of the profits and 30% goes back to keep the program running. There are also theater and other art programs associated with the center.
After we visited the arts center we were taken on a tour of Langa. We got to walk around on the streets, past the police training center and learn about all the changes that this area has encountered. It is sometimes difficult to see all of the positive changes behind the still present problems lingering from the past.
The hostels that once housed men now house several families each. The hostel we visited shares one bathroom and one kitchen to six rooms that each house three families. We were warmly welcomed with smiles into the home with pride. There is something we take for granted about a warm place to sleep every night.
When we stepped out we walked toward a preschool where were were ever so warmly welcomed! The children sang and danced for us and were more than adorable! Shakea Shakea Shakea!