South Africa 2007

Cohort III

From December 28-January 9, 2007, the twenty-six students of Cohort III traveled to Cape Town, South Africa on their freshman intersession trip, led by Magdalena Grudzinski-Hall (former program director), Hannah Stewart-Gambino (former professor), Teaching Fellows Colleen Clemens and Elizabeth Vogtsberger, and the leaders of Global PACT.


Trip highlights:

  • Arts Cooperative visit
  • Service learning days in the townships
  • New Year's Eve Freshly Ground concert
  • Community center lunch and visit
  • Table Mountain hike
  • Meeting with SHAWCO, a local NGO
  • District 6 Museum
  • Green Market Square
  • Wine country tour
  • Cape Point hike
  • Robben Island tour
  • Local theater show
  • Home visit
  • Talks on local development, 
    banking, World Cup preparation, transit,
    and apartheid journalism 


“Not a day goes by when I don’t think about Cape Town. I did not anticipate the impact such a short trip would have on my life. On some days, I just have a snippet of a memory—a Freshly Ground song may pop up on my iPod, the day’s crossword has “ostrich” as a clue—but on other days, I find my mind lingering on memories of South Africa. Often a sound will trigger something: children playing, a bird call I don’t recognize, the sound of an ocean. Then I turn on the tap and a rush of gratitude for clean water overtakes me. I see the local middle school let out for the day and I wonder what the kids of Kensington Township learned earlier in the day. These moments are the impetus for so many of my actions now. I take my responsibility for those around me, those people in my own backyard, much more seriously than I could have imagined. My hope is the sound of children’s laughter will someday motivate everyone who hears it to act in their community; this action reaches beyond our yards and inspires people all over the globe.” –Colleen Clemens, former Teaching Fellow




"I was shocked the very moment we entered the township. I stepped onto the dirt path entering a different world. Right across the street there were rows of middle-class houses. It was amazing to be able to notice the drastic difference right in that area. On one side there were people who have three meals a day, receive an education, have jobs, and possibly take vacations and do leisure activities. Just across the street, however, there are people who quite possibly will only have one meal per day, are unemployed, and may not even receive an education through middle school." -Jessica Lowe, Cohort III






"Table Mountain can be a metaphor for my entire experience and for Africa - exhilarating moments filled with clashes of extremes. When one conjures images of South Africa, what first comes to mind are the images of deserts or jungles, not images of mountains. Table Mountain rises up, dominating the landscape in an otherwise flat coastal region, just as Cape Town is a relatively affluent area juxtaposed to the harsh realities of poverty prevalent in other areas we visited. This photo shows a group climbing a portion of a steep rocky passage. It does not adequately depict the teamwork required to make this treacherous climb. One of the feelings about this photo that I share with family and friends is that this rock climb and hike was unbearably long, mentally hard, painful, but also inspiring." -Jim Coffey, Cohort III














from left to right:
Boat trip to Seal Island
Jim Coffey playing soccer with children from Khayelitsha township
GC students posing in front of Table Mountain
Jessica Lowe teaching students from Khayelitsha township