Hotchkiss in the World: Travel Blogs

Hellen Hom-Diamond
October 2, 2017

by Anna Connell ‘18

 

We began the day with inspiring speakers in the auditorium surrounded by the myriad accents and smiles of the different delegates. Our first speaker, Caleb, was a 22-year old shark attack survivor, who stressed the service, adventure, and leadership in his life that have helped him maintain positivity and tenacity throughout the challenges he’s faced since 2015. He attributed this to his mother, who taught him the acronym IADOY (It All Depends On You). He urged us to create our own stories by having a positive outlook and "making friends with our circumstances" in order to rise above them. Our other speaker, the lead singer in a famous South African band (Fresh Ground) shared stories of her childhood in a township, where she was constantly reminded of the segregation and inequality of apartheid. Despite the oppression of the government, she felt the unity of the black community within her township, as they were united in their suffering. She sang to us and urged us to value and share our own stories. The whole auditorium sang along when she did an acapella version of “Waka Waka,” her band’s best known song.

 

After the speakers, we split up into our 3 different schools, which for us was St. Crypian's School. There was a great opening ceremony, where many different SCS girls groups performed. Their pride in Africa as a whole became clear throughout the day and spread to us, giving us more excitement as we moved forward.

 

We had our first South African braai in SCS's open field tucked right under Table Mountain, a truly awe-inspiring setting. We've just moved into our host family's home, so I'm excited for our experience to continue!

Hellen Hom-Diamond
September 29, 30, 2017

by Chris Lukens ‘19

We took off from JFK around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday and landed in Amsterdam at 6:30 a.m. local time. There we enjoyed a three-hour layover with a traditional Dutch breakfast of pancakes and pwrfejitias to prepare for our 11 hour flight to Cape Town, as well as time to take in some culture at the Rijksmuseum in the airport.On the plane there was plenty of time to get work done, watch movies, and sleep. Good_Morning_Sunshine_Plane_9_30_17.JPG

After what felt like an eternity the plane finally landed in Cape Town at 9:00pm. Luckily, immigration and customs did not take long and we found our friendly driver Frankie in no time! The ride from the airport to the bed and breakfast was quick and we were finally able to lay down in a real bed after nearly 25 hours of traveling. We were told the view from the bed and breakfast was spectacular, but we weren't sure what it was as we had arrived in the dark. After waking up we walked out the front door to the sight of clear blue skies and the one and only Table Mountain.

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It was certainly a good way to begin our stay. We proceeded to have a delicious breakfast of eggs, toast and pretty much everything else you could ever want before heading out to see the sights of Cape Town with our new driver and tour guide Enrico. Our original plan was to see Table Mountain in the morning but we were told it was closed due to high winds, so instead we took a  tour around the city, the highlight of which was seeing the noon cannon firing on Signal Hill over Cape Town - a cannon that had been cast in 1794, and fired daily since 1806. After the cannon we found out that Table Mountain had been reopened and we headed straight for the cable car. The line wasn't too long and within an hour we were on our way up. The views from the car as we ascended were phenomenal and the floor rotated to give us a 360 degree perspective of the landscape. Nothing compared to the views from the top of the mountain. We stayed on top and hiked around for about a half hour and took some pictures before taking the cable car back down.

 

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We grabbed a quick lunch at the supermarket to eat on the beach, and tried some of the acclaimed Simba Chips before going to check into the conference hotel.

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After a quick turnaround we made the five minute walk to the convention center where we registered and enjoyed a welcome dinner and party. The dinner lasted until about 9:30 for us and we quickly fell asleep once we got back to our rooms, tired from our first day and long travel.