We have all loved everything about Bulembu since our first day here! It was great to hear about the enterprises they have and how they are trying to expand and change brands. We even got a tour of the baby house and where the older kids stay. We also love the houses here. It’s 10 people to a house so we all get to stay together. The only thing is that on one of our first nights we thought that our house (HP2) might’ve been a little haunted. Every time we would walk into a certain room my flashlight would turn off no matter who was holding it. We know it was probably just the batteries but it’s still scary when you’re in a big, old, and creaky house! Throughout our week at Bulembu little things here and there would be a little creepy but nothing was ever too bad. Everyone was mostly just afraid of walking in the dark from dinner to our houses.  On our last night almost everyone went to HP4, which is the boys house, to play games. Once it hit 10:30 the boys said they were planning on going to bed so we all headed back to the girl houses. After an hour or so of talking and packing it was around 11:30-11:45 and we were all in bed either asleep or falling asleep when we heard a noise coming from down the hall in our house. I was half asleep so at first I didn’t really know what was going on. Then, it went off again and my roommate Kendall asked if I heard whatever that noise was. We originally thought it was just the girls in the room down the hall laughing but when we opened our door we saw those girls slowly coming out of their room with a confused look on their faces and the girls in the room across from us looking equally confused.  About 30 seconds after we opened our doors we heard the sound go off again. This time it almost sounded like someone was throwing up but no one was in either of our bathrooms. We then realized the sound was a really loud baby cry coming from our very back room that we don’t ever go in. At this point I think we were all shocked and we were still trying to wake up and comprehend what was even going on, then it went off again once we started walking towards the area. We all screamed and sprinted into our back hallway which was the furthest area from where the noise was coming from. There were three girls who had managed to sleep up until this point who we promptly woke up with our screams. We opened up one of their room doors and told them what was going on. You could tell at first they thought we were crazy because they hadn’t heard the noise yet but I think the pure fear on all of our faces made them realize we weren’t kidding so they got up to go look. The bravest girls of the group went back to that room to see if they could figure out what was going on. At this point we still had no idea what could possibly be making that noise but we knew for sure that our house had to be haunted. When the girls went back there they didn’t find anything so then we all started walking closer thinking that maybe whatever it had been was done. Right when we all came out of the back hallway the noise went off again but in the beginning before you hear the baby crying noise we heard a creepy voice say “come out and play”. This might’ve been the most terrifying part of the entire night. All 10 girls in the house immediately took off running in all different directions but we all ended up in one bedroom with the door shut. At this point there were multiple people shaking and two crying we were so scared. Then we started to be a little more rational and all agreed (hoped) that it sounded like the noise was being played off of a speaker. The problem was we couldn’t find the speaker anywhere. At this point we did think that the boys probably had something to do with this because we started combining all of the things they had been telling us for the past couple of days and realized they were the ones trying to convince us that our house was haunted and telling us old stories of bulembu, one that actually involved a baby, and just being all around weird throughout that day. Now we weren’t as scared and went out to our common area yelling at them trying to get them to come out and admit that it was them so we would have some piece of mind. Unfortunately, they never came out of hiding so there was still a tiny bit of fear that maybe it actually wasn’t them.  We then started talking about how we would get them back the next day and how we would think the prank was funny if it would’ve been on the other girls house instead of ours. About an hour and fifteen minutes had passed by from the initial noise that woke us up so we decided we should all just try to get some sleep even though we were all a little freaked out. Kendall and I went back to our room and actually had to play some music to fall back asleep. Right as we both started to fall asleep we heard another noise. This noise was different though, it wasn’t a baby crying. We actually couldn’t even figure out what it was, it just sounded like really loud rain. I didn’t say anything because I figured it was just in my head from me being so scared earlier, but then we heard a really loud BANG. It sounded like a huge pot had fallen right outside of our room. I thought to myself that there was no way this was happening again, but we opened our door slowly and saw that all of the other girls were doing the same thing and we all had the same confused and slightly terrified looks on our faces. We walked around our house trying to close windows thinking that was how the boys were able to do whatever they doing to scare us. Right as we were starting to let down our guard we heard extremely loud banging on all of our front windows that made us scream bloody murder. That’s when we all walked as a group outside to try to confront the boys but we couldn’t find any of them. We decided to finally go to bed, since it was around 1-1:30 and we had a long travel day the next day.

In the morning at breakfast we decided to not say anything about the prank because we didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of knowing they scared us, even though we’re pretty sure everyone in Swaziland could hear us screaming. The boys were acting a little suspicious though so we figured it was them.  On our bus ride we couldn’t hold it in any longer so we tried to get them to admit to what they did. I was actually very surprised at how good most of them were at throwing us off their trail.  I legitimately believed that most of them weren’t involved. About 32 hours later we reached the end of our trip and we were standing at the baggage claim carousel in Houston when Parker played the same baby noise on his speaker and finally admitted that it was them. He told us that every single guy on the trip was involved and they had actually been planning it for three days but wanted to wait until the last night so that we wouldn’t be able to get them back.

I’ve got to hand it to the boys, that was definitely one of the best pranks that I’ve ever seen. I can also say with confidence that I will always remember that night at “Boolembu”.

Categories: 2018 Trip

Today we woke up and went to the Lion and Wild Dog Safari Park. When we got there, employees greeted us with traditional songs and dancing. The group was quick to join in and although untalented, we had a blast. We quickly piled into caged trucks to begin driving through the safari. We saw a ton of lions! Lions in trees, lions playing, lions sleeping… our guide noticed there was a group of male lions sleeping and told us he was going to wake them up. We drove off the road and right up to the lions, and trust me, they were quickly awakened. Later in the tour when we were looking at giraffes, our guide got out of the truck to try and get the giraffe closer by feeding it random snacks we had in our bags. He even opened the gate of the truck to let the giraffe’s head in so we could all get pictures with it! Surprisingly, giraffes happen to be big fans of GoldFish! After the safari, it was time to pet the lion cubs! They were absolutely adorable but also pretty ferocious during our session. One bit Professor Flint’s pant leg, one bit Micah’s side, and one bit Claire (my roommate!). The cubs were just playing and it wasn’t a big deal but the picture of Claire’s reaction definitely made the experience worth it. Also, how many people can actually say they’ve been bit by a lion?! We ate lunch at the Safari Park too and it seems as a group of thirty young adults, we are a spectacle everywhere we go. After the Lion Park, we went to Lilliesleaf Farm Museum. It is the location where Mandela and other ANC leaders were arrested for trying to begin a war and their arrest resulted in the Rivonia Trials. It was a very interesting museum with a ton of information everywhere. They actually still don’t know who informed police of the secret location! After the museum, we went back to the B&B to get ready for New Years Eve. Our room’s electricity was out so getting ready was definitely a struggle. For New Years Eve we went to Indaba Hotel. The food was pretty good and they had an outdoor area where we took pictures, played some Heads UP, and a random hotel guest painted some of the group’s faces. We had fun dancing at the party and I’m very surprised at how much ‘American’ music they listen to! At midnight there was confetti and balloons that dropped from the ceiling and overall it was pretty crazy to ring in the New Year in South Africa, 8 hours before America did!

Categories: 2018 Trip

Today was honestly one of the best days yet. Breakfast was another Hippo Hollow buffet with incredible omelettes, I found out that pouring your own coffee is highly discouraged, and our group bought out all the resort’s bottled water — even sparkling. We left at 8:30 for some scenic adventures but sadly it was rainy and foggy so we had to skip a few of the stops. Our first stop was Bourke’s Luck Potholes which were absolutely stunning. There were beautifully colored and shaped rocks, waterfalls, and small bodies of water and rivers. We got some super fun pictures here and even met some pretty interesting bugs. It was pretty slippery at parts and in Professor Flint’s words, “don’t get too close to the edge, or you will die.” It’s pretty hard to describe the incredible beauty of this place, even our pictures don’t do it justice. The Potholes also had a marketplace where we quickly discovered the value of bartering. We then went to Lisbon Falls which were also incredible. There was a short hike to a viewing area where you could see the entire span of the waterfalls and it was breathtaking. I find I am constantly in awe of the beauty of this place. For lunch we went to a ‘pancake’ restaurant, but the pancakes were definitely more like crepes. They were sooo good. Mine was filled with ice cream and bananas and I could get used to this kind of pancake for sure. One of the employees asked where we were from and commented on how happy and kind we were. Next, the girls and Professor Flint got to go to elephant whispers! It was an amazing experience! There were six elephants and they were all so well trained. They all knew at least 80 commands! The tour leader was super knowledgeable and let us feed the elephant, give it commands, and of course take pics with it. Then we got to actually ride the elephants!! I rode with three other students on Tembo, the biggest and oldest elephant there. They take much bigger steps than I anticipated and I was much higher up than I expected too. After elephants, we watched a traditional African tribal dance! the guys were insane and could do flips and were crazy flexible. Dinner was a buffet with Kudu, Crocodile, and other fun things to try. I even ate a cooked worm – no joke – and it honestly wasn’t horrible. Africa surprises me more and more each day and I look forward to all of our future adventures. Today was a day I will remember for the rest of my life.

Categories: 2018 Trip

January 3, 2018

Today was the big day. The Big Swing Day. I had known about this infamous swing because of friends going on this trip in the past. Since I signed up for the trip, I had been planning on doing the swing. I am deathly afraid of heights though, so a little piece inside of me was thinking that I might end up not doing it. We got to the Big Swing and the view was beautiful. My nerves disappeared for a few minutes while I took in the amazing view. There was a lady about to swing when we first got there so we stood and watched what we were in for. The lady looked terrified. She was shaking like crazy as she inched her way to the edge. When she took the initial fall, her face looked like she was about to fall to her death and you could hear her scream for miles. We all looked at each other in shock and we all started second guessing our decision. I finally decided to officially do it. I paid the 350 rands for the zip line and the swing and there was no turning back now. The zip line wasn’t too scary, and the view was incredible. It still was a little nerve-racking hanging that high up over a canyon, knowing the rope could randomly snap any minute. It didn’t though thankfully! Now it was time for the dreaded swing. I was actually pretty calm while we were waiting to do the swing. Then we walked up to that blue tape on the edge, and my heart started racing. My legs were shaking like crazy as Sharon and I inched our way to the edge. We finally had our heels over the edge and the guy was holding us as we leaned back into the canyon. He counted to three and next thing I knew, we were free falling for about three full seconds, which feels like eternity when you’re stomach feels like it is in your throat. Thankfully we felt the rope catch us at the bottom of the canyon and we started to swing back and forth. The first swing back gave us another whiff of the stomach feeling, which I didn’t expect. The harness started feeling very uncomfortable and painful when we were swinging back and forth. At that point, I wanted to just get down. I was so relieved that it was over with! I’m very glad I did it, but I wouldn’t do it a second time. One and done for me. I did feel proud of myself for overcoming one of my fears! It truly is a once in a lifetime experience, even if it was scary! Once they unhooked us, we watched from the bottom the other pairs do the swing. That was a really cool angle to watch them from. Once everyone was done, we headed to lunch. It was very chilly at lunch and my rain jacket wasn’t helping much. I’ve realized now to just bring a jacket wherever we go because you never know what the weather is going to be like. Lunch was very tasty, but it took probably two hours. I’ve noticed every place we have gone to, the people here are slower paced and not as focused on efficiency and service as America is. Even though I like things to be quick, it’s kind of nice slowing down and not being focused on the next thing to do. Lastly, we went to God’s Window. It had beautiful views!

Categories: 2018 Trip

January 4, 2018

I was exhausted when my 4:15 am alarm went off. I hadn’t slept well the night before because I kept feeling like I was about to fall off a cliff. The Big Swing was haunting me. I was excited for the day though. It was safari day at Kruger National Park! It was already light outside before 5 am which was crazy to me. It felt more like 9 am. We saw a hippo minutes before we left! I was so happy because how could you stay at Hippo Hollow without seeing a hippo?! It was a great way to start the day. The park wasn’t too far away, and we loaded up on the safari trucks, bucket hats and all. Wow we saw so many animals! Elephants, lions, giraffes, rhinos, baboons and impalas were just some of the ones we saw. We even saw these wild dogs chase after their breakfast, the impalas. It was neat to see them do their natural thing. Another cool thing we saw were elephants playing with each other in the water. It was so cute! They seemed to be really enjoying it. At the very end of the safari we saw baboons and there were a few babies! The babies were adorable, and they would cling onto their mom’s belly when she would walk somewhere. We saw all the major animals except for the leopard. It was disappointing not seeing the leopard, but overall we had a good safari experience and saw so many animals. I had to remind myself several times throughout the tour that these animals are actually WILD. No human intervention whatsoever. I had seen most of these animals before in captivity, but never in the wild and on their homeland. Now that the safari was over, it was time for Swaziland!! The drive up the mountain to Shewula Mountain Camp was rough. It was very bumpy, and we were close to the edge many times. The communities we passed were very poor and run down. It made me really sad and reminded me of how blessed I am. I’ve seen pictures and videos of poor African villages, but it was surreal to see it in real life. Small children ran toward our vans with smiles and waving hands. They were so cute! Something that was odd to me was we kept seeing people walking around with smart phones, yet their houses behind them were falling apart. I was also starting to get nervous as we drove up the mountain because I didn’t know what to expect. The mountain camp wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be though. The huts were fine and we didn’t even find any major bugs in our hut. The bathrooms were not bad either. The main thing that was strange to me was the bathroom was combined with both girls and boys. Dinner was very tasty! Actually better than a couple of the buffets we had eaten previously. My favorite was the chicken with peanut sauce. The no electricity in our huts was the main thing that I had to get used to. Our flashlights and lanterns worked fine though. The situation showed us how dependent we are on electricity yet how we can easily survive without it, especially for just a couple of nights. The views at this place though!! In my opinion, they were by far the best views we had seen so far. The sun was setting right around dinner, and it was beautiful and also a perfect time for taking pictures. Later that night we looked at the stars, and it was incredible. So many more stars here than your typical night sky in the city!

Categories: 2018 Trip

Our first stop in Swaziland is Shewula Mountain Camp. This is the place that has no electricity or cell service so originally I was a little nervous to see what it was going to be like. However, it turns out that this was actually one of my favorite places throughout the the trip. When we got to Shewula we all went off and got to pick the huts we were going to stay in that night. I was in a group of 4 girls who got lucky enough to get what we called the “Honeymoon Hut” because we had a bathroom and shower. Our shower was outside which at first we thought was strange but I think we all ended up loving the outside shower, mostly because of the views. I have never seen anything quite as beautiful as the views from Shewula. You’re on the top of a mountain so you can see green mountains for miles. When we first arrived it was right around sunset so we were spoiled with great views from the very beginning. The food at Shewula was also amazing! I would definitely recommend that you at least try everything no matter what it looks like because you might be pleasantly surprised! Our group even found a new obsession for a drink called “Liquifruit”. One thing that I think will always stick out in my memories is the stargazing that you can do at night in Shewula. Since it’s on top of a mountain in a secluded area there isn’t any light pollution so you can see the stars like you’ve never seen them before. It’s also in the Southern Hemisphere so you can see all new constellations and even the Milky Way Galaxy. This was also the part of our trip that we all started to become really close friends. It’s refreshing to not be able to use your phone at all and just be able to live in the moment and truly be with the people in your group. We went to stargaze and ended up just sitting out there talking and really getting to know each other. On our trip the next day was the first day we had free time where you could choose what you got to do. My hut decided to go on the hike down the mountain that ended at a river. I believe around 9-10 of us did this hike and it was a little challenging but so much fun! It’s also a good warm up for Emlembe. After our hike we got to go see the “village healer”. That was… interesting. Later in the afternoon we went around the village and got to meet some of the people who lived there who were courteous enough to allow us into their homes. We even got to try on some tradition clothes and did some traditional dances. We then had a soccer game planned with some of the kids who lived in the village which was a blast! The people who didn’t play in the soccer game got a chance to hang out with the younger kids so I think everyone was happy. Professor Flint told us that no Aggie team has ever won a soccer game on this trip and our game was no exception. However, we did tie and only lost in PK’s. One really funny part of our time at Shewula was when the older boys of the village came to show us their traditional dances and then made the boys in our group try to dance. Shewula will always have a special place in my heart, along with all of the friendships that were made there.

Categories: 2018 Trip

Today was one of the most exhausting, informative, and insightful days of my life.  We woke up at 7AM and I had my usual omelet with bacon and cheese at the Rivonia.  The plans for the day included trips to multiple museums and Soweto, the former black sister city of Johannesburg.  We first went to Nelson Mandela’s old house when he was president.  It was located in a very nice part of town.  Along the way we passed by many signs of luxury including Aston Martin dealerships and enormous gated houses.  Our guide was named Victor and he talked about the current condition of South Africa.  One thing he continuously laughed about was the fact that many leaders of African countries have multiple wives, including the king of Swaziland with 14.  He also talked about how polygamy is allowed in many of these countries and about the overall dim outlook for many women when it comes to marriage.   I find it interesting that many countries that practice polygamy are the same countries that make higher education very inaccessible to women.  This creates this situation in which women become funneled into financial dependency, leading them to subjecting themselves to these less than ideal marital conditions.  I feel like the lack of education opportunity and ultimately the absence of the ability to advance is the catalyst for so many of the problems the world faces today.

The last stop of the day was Nelson Mandela’s first house in Soweto.  This neighborhood was in stark contrast to the earlier neighborhood with gated houses and lush green lawns.  We had dinner tonight at a restaurant by Desmond Tutu’s old house.  The restaurant was buffet style but I did not like most of the food so I didn’t eat much.  One of the most rewarding parts of dinner was getting to sit next to one of the guides from the other bus named Kenny.  He was from the Soweto area and was a kid during the Apartheid struggle.  He helped put the entire fight for freedom into context and it was very eye opening to see that he was not that old but still experienced the full forces of Apartheid.  I asked him during dinner was his favorite place in Africa to visit was.  He surprised me when he replied “Liberia”.  Liberia is objectively one of the worst countries in the world in terms of crime, poverty, and disease.  His answer was that because of these factors, because it is so bad there, all they have is the people.  No superficial distractions, just raw humanity and personal interaction with them.  I don’t know if I share this viewpoint but it was definitely new and refreshing.

That night I tried to reflect on the day and what I had experienced.  I had seen so much inequality and such a distinct difference in opportunities provided to people of differing classes in South Africa.  You could make the argument that any person born in America can achieve financial success if they have the intellectual talent and work hard.  They can go to school, get great grades, win scholarships ect.  However, some of the kids I interacted with at Soweto do not have this chance.  They have next to zero chance to live a prosperous life just because of the situation that they were born into.  They could be just as smart and talented and I am but they can’t live a prosperous life because of their setting and surroundings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 2016 Trip

Our first stop was Lisbon Falls. There were these huge waterfalls that dropped off into deep canyon. There were beautiful, just like the rest of Africa. There were a couple of little shops that we looked at, but I’m trying to save my money for the Swaziland market. Our next stop was God’s Window. We hiked to the top of this mountain to an amazing viewpoint. It wasn’t really a mountain but it felt like it. There was a beautiful view of Africa at the top. Green mountains that went as far as you could see. It was breathtaking. This place really demonstrated God’s beautiful handy work. After we hiked back down we went into town where we stopped for lunch. I had a banana caramel crepe/pancake sort of thing with a strawberry milkshake. Super healthy. We walked through some of the shops that were by the restaurant, when Ethan was suddenly bombarded by birdman. During lunch this guy holding some wooden birds on a string made eye contact with Ethan and tried to get to him to buy some of the birds while we were eating. He told him maybe later, so when we ran into him on the sidewalk he targeted Ethan. Ethan was not interested, but the guy would not give up. He was giving a hard sales pitch to Ethan, and eventually Ethan caved and bought two of the birds. When he handed him the money the guy smiled so big, it was great.

From here we went to Elephant Whispers to ride African elephants! There were six elephants, three females and three males. The guide there told us that elephants in Northern and Central Africa and dwindling, but in Southern Africa they are nuisances. They’re put down quite often because of the destruction they cause. Elephant Whispers was formed to rescue those elephants that were being put down. The guide showed us how smart the elephants were by having them do commands. They could turn left and right, shake their heads, speak, lift their legs, and they could even tell the females to turn around while the males would stay in place. It was crazy, they were smarter than dogs. The guide told us they had the brain capacity of a 16-year-old human. He brought one of the big males forward to perform some tricks for us. He had him lay down on his side and we were able to touch him from trunk to tail hairs. He was really rough feeling, but the inside of his ear was really smooth. We got to feed the elephant and pet him on the trunk afterwards, which was so neat. Standing in front of him you were just in awe of his size. After this elephant was done they brought out Tembo, the biggest male they had. He was in his 30’s and still growing. He was massive…way bigger than the last elephant. We got to hug Tembo’s leg, which was like hugging a huge tree trunk. My arms wouldn’t even go all the way around his leg. And he just stood there, not moving. Once we were done with our photo ops here, we got to ride the elephants. It’s just like horse back riding in Texas, but here it’s with elephants. Kathryn, Ethan, Spencer and I all got to ride Tembo. He was so much bigger than all the other elephants. We were in the back of the pack when we were riding along the trails, and we looked down on all of the other elephants. The whole time you’re just thinking “I can’t believe I’m riding an elephant right now.” The elephants were definitely one of the best things we did.

Once we were done riding the elephants we went to Hippo Hollow, which was actually right across the river from Elephant Whispers. We could see the hotel when we were riding the elephants. We had a buffet style dinner that was pretty good- there wasn’t really anything new or drastic that we ate which was kind of nice. After dinner I walked out to the edge of the restaurant which overlooked the river, and a young South African boy pointed out a momma and baby hippo just walking along the edge of river maybe a 100 yards from us. There’s a night guard there who’s supposed to keep people away from the river’s edge so they don’t get attacked by hippos or crocodiles. He said sometimes the hippos would walk all the way up to the restaurant’s edge, but that they can’t get into the restaurant since they can’t climb stairs. He said the crocodiles usually don’t go too far from the riverbank. It was just crazy to be eating dinner and you look out and there are some hippos just grazing in the field. Or you may just get to see a crocodile sunbathing along the bank. Wild animals in Africa are a whole other ball game compared to our wild animals in Texas.

Categories: 2016 Trip

I don’t even know how to describe how perfect today was. I’ve never had so much fun. We woke up kind of early to some monkeys on our front porch. One was eating a sugar packet he had obviously stolen from somewhere. There were more out in front of our house just playing in the yard. After breakfast we packed up our stuff and headed to The Potholes. There were these huge red-ish colored rocks with waterfalls and little streams running through them. They were absolutely gorgeous. Everywhere you looked there was something unique. From there we travelled to The Big Swing. I don’t think you can accurately describe just how big it is until you see it in person. The drop from the canyon is insanely high. Kathryn and I somehow managed to pull off going first on the swing. From some reason we really weren’t that scared to go, it just seemed exciting. I guess it was probably because I didn’t really get a good shot of someone doing it before me. After getting our harnesses on we tried to figure out a way to strap the GoPro on to our bodies to capture the fall. I ended up using Christy’s head strap to attach it to my chest over the harness. As we got out on the platform to go we were tethered together, and we had to hold on to each other as well. We ended up having to turn around backwards and inch our way out to the edge so that our heels were off the platform. That was the hardest part. Inching our way out to the edge so that our heels were hanging off over this enormous canyon. You’re just standing there waiting to fall backwards, hoping that this rope doesn’t break. We had to count down from three and then just lean off the platform in the scariest trust fall of your life.

We were completely upside freefalling for what felt like ten seconds. In reality it was like three seconds but if felt like so much longer. All I can remember about that freefall was looking at Kathryn’s feet and blue sky. It was terrifying until the rope caught. There was definitely a moment of “Oh my gosh am I going to die?!” But then the rope caught and we started we swinging across the canyon. For some reason we both just started laughing. I think it was a mixture of ‘I can’t believe I just did that’ and ‘I’m so excited we aren’t dead’ laughter. The canyon was gorgeous. There was a huge waterfall that you weren’t able to really see until you fell in the canyon. Everything was green with huge mountains off in the distance. Once we started to slow down on the swing, a man on a platform had us grab a rope so we could get lowered down. By that point I was ready to get down because the harness was squeezing so tight around my legs. It took me a while to find my footing once we were actually on the bottom platform. We decided to stay on the platform until the next group went so we could video their fall. The drop looked a lot farther from down below. You could barely even see the people on the top platform waiting to fall.

After filming their jump and leaving the camera behind for them to film the next people, we started our hike back up. Honestly the stairs back up were way sketchier than the actual fall. They were all tilted forwards, and some were broken. You could see broken planks that had fallen below from past people stepping on them and then breaking, and some parts were pretty much straight up. There were wobbly handrails on some parts, and on other parts there were no rails at all. It took forever to get back up, but it really scenic. You felt like you were climbing through the jungle. After we finally made it to the top we walked back over to the platform to see other people go. We got back in time to see Tori conquer her fear, hear Hightower scream “America”, and watch Kyle who was absolutely terrified yell out some explicit words before he fell. It was much scarier watching people go, so I’m really glad we went first. While watching them fall I just kept thinking, “Why did I do that?” It was such an adrenaline rush, though. Totally worth doing it, and as I think it about more I would definitely do it again. If ever in South Africa, make sure you stop to do this. And if you don’t have the guts to do the fall, at least go watch someone else do it.

 

Categories: 2016 Trip

I had always wanted to study abroad since my time at Texas A&M, but I never knew which one to go on. I chose South Africa as my study abroad because it was a foreign country to me, and somewhere I had desired to go. This decision turned out to be great, because I had the time of my life on this trip, and learned so many things about the culture, food, and history of the country. South Africa was one of the greenest countries I have ever been to, with giant trees everywhere.

My favorite thing about this trip was getting to interact with animals, especially lion cubs and elephants. We got to play with cubs at the Lion Park and saw full grown ones as well. Later on in the trip, we had a close up interaction and then got to ride elephants. Also, being able to ride through Kruger National Park was an experience that I will keep with me as life moves on in Texas. We rode in a jeep with no windows out in the open, and saw safari animals in the wild.

Studying abroad for nearly three weeks with complete strangers was one of the best things I have done throughout my life. You learn so much about each other in such a short amount of time that you are not strangers for long. The memories you make with these friends are ones that you will never forget.

Categories: 2016 Trip