TTS20 on Safari

Monday, November 5, 2012

Gennifre Shares First Impressions from South Africa

I met up with the TTS20 group several days ago and enjoyed camping in a huge thunderstorm with them on the edge of the Indian Ocean outside of Richard's Bay. The girls were in high spirits in anticipation for the Campus Visit. We celebrated Halloween, and the girls dressed up in everything they could find buried at the bottom of their duffles. Brooklyn dressed as a beautiful lion, her totem, in a long yellow skirt and paper ears pinned in her hair. Megan S. was a giraffe with two tall pony tails and a colorful giraffe-spotted skirt.

I enjoyed attending their classes by the pool in the sunshine the next day. The girls were wrapping up projects and getting ready to showcase their academic work for the parents, so they rehearsed memorized poetry and put the final touches on posters, and prepared the Project Wet lessons (see link for more about Project Wet-TTS partnership) to present in the Zulu village when the parents joined.

(a day passes)

After a long morning of travel on the truck  the girls said a temporary good-bye to Papa and Tekshure to hop into the open-air safari jeep provided by Rocktail Beach Camp. Screams of delight as the girls piled into the luxury canvas safari tents - They have thick towels! They have a hot shower nozzle the size of a dinner plate! The girls with parents here waited on the stairs for the jeep carrying the parents to arrive. I adopted Jane, McKinley, Alex, Brooklyn, Kelly and Lily, and we created our own family - The Clutch family (because a turtle lays a clutch of eggs).

The parents arrived with tears, hugs, screams and lots of emotion. They checked in, and all the girls met them by the pool in the evening to teach their newest group members about Africa. The girls presented about African culture and etiquette, the whys of clothing and how to travel safely, how to exchange and carry money in the third pocket. They shared details about classes and academics too.  The session went on as the sun slowly set, and, as the parents asked questions about the program, an authentic Q and A session evolved.

It has been amazing to see this group of young ladies at this point in their journey. They have come so far from the group of strangers who came together at the hotel in Washington, DC. Your daughters have much to share with you about their experiences, and for those of you who didn't make it to South Africa, your daughters are storing up the stories, shouts, tears and joy to share with you upon their return home.


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