Doringbaai & Lutzville, Day 1

Thursday, March 9

Today we drove up to Doringbaai and Lutzville, where we met our home stay families, conducted our initial interaction activities, and got to know some of the local residents (including lots and lots of children). Clearly not the smoothest day ever, but in terms of learning more about South Africa, what did you learn today and what did you most benefit from as related to the opportunity to interact?

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Who are you and why are you here?

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13 Responses to “Doringbaai & Lutzville, Day 1”

  1. Caley Says:

    I loved meeting the kids and spending time with them in the afternoon. It just goes to show that having fun and play can happen regardless of differing languages and cultures. I also learned how difficult life can be for the unemployed and uneducated in South Africa. It was a very difficult day but all in all I probably learned more on that day than any other.

  2. Phil Says:

    A day of learning indeed! Despite the rough few days, I think we all left with a better understanding of the relationship between those living in poverty and the privileged after this visit. In Lutzville specifically, there was a tone of uneasiness, uncertainty, and skepticism from the township towards us that had been established after years of feeling taken advantage of.

  3. Samantha Frapart Says:

    Non-stop circles of feelings! While this was a rough day to say the least, the highlights were bonding with the children of Lutzville, and getting to know my home stay mother and her family.

    Samantha, Moni, Rooma and I were fortunate enough to stay with Noi. I’ve never met a woman who could open her heart and home with such love and compassion and I was instantly drawn to her. Though we did not get to spend much time together, I learned quite a bit about her deep faith in god (she loves Joel Osteen – go figure!), and her incredible day-to-day efforts that make her son’s life feel normal and even special. I remember at one point she called her son spoiled and I thought “man, if you only knew.” I feel really fortunate to have gotten that time with Noi.

  4. Eugene Shearer Says:

    I arrived late to the party and after a 33 hour flight I was driven 5 hours north to Doringbaai. My first impression of South Africa was how clean and beautiful the countryside was. Not knowing what was happening to the other classmates, I really enjoyed my car ride by eating biltong and napping while Faizel and his wife jammed to some 90’s dance tunes and smoked cigarettes. I don’t have much else to say since I spent most of the day in a car on this day.

  5. Sam Says:

    After settling into our homestay in Doringbaai, I was struck at how the community reflected a lot of South Africa’s problems in general. A stark racial divide within the down, how the majority of the businesses there were white-owned, and the general reliance upon government handouts were all clear.

    My homestay experience Peter and Bettie was fantastic. We enjoyed a nice dinner and had productive discussions about the current state of business in the area, as well as explored potential new ideas that Peter had. Brian, Tyler and I concluded that if Doringbaai were to have a brighter future, they needed more people like Peter and Bettie in the community.

  6. John Says:

    This was evidently a complicated day. Seeing Lutzville West for the first time left me very humbled. Meeting the kids was a rollercoaster of emotion, but also some of the most fun I had all trip. The walk back through the community was profoundly unnerving in a way I’ve never felt before, even in my travels through similarly impoverished communities. There was a lot of attention without a lot of structure, and I wish things had been handled differently from the get-go. Unfortunately we all felt very isolated, and had no means to contact our other classmates or the outside world.

    Those struggles aside, this was probably the most educational day of the trip. I’ve never been to a place like Lutzville West before, and likely never will again. I suspect it will leave a lasting impact on me.

  7. Linda Says:

    The children were so excited to have us there. They followed us around to every activity. Our housemom’s grandchildren, Danielle and Denajia, were adorable. Given their proximity to and working relationship with the sea, I was surprised that the food she served us and her family was not seafood; it was mostly processed meat and starches which I presume are the most affordable.

    Our housemom was the first to tell us why we were actually there – to encourage the youth to stay off drugs and alcohol, seek job training and work. She implied that the town suffered from rampant alcoholism and drug use. Zach never told us this and I was angry that he expected us to deal with this serious social ill with no training whatsoever.

    We also had to leave our house that night because there was an alcoholic beggar living there that our housemom failed to disclose to ThinkImpact. That was an awkward exit that Orlando helped us through.

  8. Tyler Says:

    I felt especially privileged on this first day in Doringbaai, thanks in major part to my host family. Peter and Betty were gracious hosts, and I felt taken care of and welcome in their home from the moment we stepped in the door. Over dinner, Sam, Brian, and I got the chance to talk about the community’s problems with Peter, who is one of the most vocal community leaders. We got a ton of perspective on how he has seen things deteriorate over the years and the ways that volunteer groups like ours may or may not have had a lasting impact in the past. Later that night, we all watched a locally produced DVD documentary where elder members of the community shared their stories of how the fishing village has changed over time. The consensus was that Doringbaai had fallen very far from its heyday and there was enduring concerns over whether young people in Doringbaai could forge a future for themselves here.

  9. Bill Quach Says:

    I was in Lutzville. It was great to take an inside look at the lifestyles and culture of an impoverished community, which I assume is representative of much of South Africa. I believe taking this inside look also came at a cost, and that cost was our group making individuals in the Lutzville feel uncomfortable in their own homes. People were skeptical of our presence and goals and I understand that. This day taught me that the MBA is a valuable degree and we should do what we can to positively impact the world from our position of privilege, but there is a limit to what we can do to help. Making an economic impact at Lutzville was near this line.

  10. Parnali Says:

    While I was certainly comfortable with our welcoming Doringbaai hosts and my particular home stay family, I was very taken aback as we took our group tour of the small town. Our Doringbaai hosts (three African women) walked very cheerfully through their side of the town, pointing out the many landmarks such as convenient stores, gas stations, the winery, etc. in a very happy and uninhibited manner. However, the second we crossed over to the “white” side of Doringbaai, I saw an immediate flip in our hosts demeanor. For starters, they became extremely quiet and stopped pointing out restaurants and landmarks as openly as they were. Further, though there were several white neighbors outside in their yards and walking around, not a single African or White Doringbaai resident said hello, or even spoke a word with one another. The theme of racism was very apparent and extremely tough to witness.

  11. Garry Ferguson Says:

    Thursday, 9 March: This was a day unlike any other. The trip to Lutzville was an incredible experience, though short lived. I’ll start with the disappointment. I was disappointed to leave prematurely, but understood the decision as safety concerns could not be ignored. Plus, if the predominant thought in the minds of participants regarded inadequate safety, I think everyone’s experience would have been substantially inhibited. I understood and agreed with the decision to depart, but would like another shot at some point in my life.

    The kids were fantastic! They had energy to spare. We didn’t even speak the same language in many cases, but other human characteristics and activities transcended language. It is interesting to see how fulfilled these people were despite not having a standard of living anywhere close to what many of us have in the U.S. Observing this brought to mind the hedonic treadmill theory. In other words, people can continue to accumulate stuff, material items, worldly possessions, and be pleased with that stuff momentarily, but still live an unfulfilled life while continuing to chase material things as their state of satisfaction returns to the same level it was prior to the positive or negative event. Ultimately, stuff, if you will, does not lead to fulfillment. Stuff is nice to have and is ok to have. It undoubtedly renders some amount of pleasure, but that pleasure fades and it’s on to the next thing, and the next thing that gives you a momentary sense of pleasure, but you will inevitably return to that homeostatic disposition. They obviously didn’t need a lot of material things nor basic things we take for granted, but they still were able to be realize joy. It reminded me to continue to strive to be better while being content with the blessings I have.

    Moving on, it didn’t take long to see that there was little we could accomplish in the way of real business solutions. Given that business concerns were off the table, my concern shifted to the importance of the ministry of presence – just being present amongst the members of that community. Being in that setting was uncomfortable at times, but I expected to feel that way prior to arriving and almost became comfortable with being uncomfortable, if that makes sense. Personally, I love structure and boundaries, hence my decision to be a member of the military, but I didn’t think either of those personal affinities would allow me to make a substantial impact in this particular setting; therefore, I completely disregarded them and decided just to be present and positive, hoping that doing so could have been beneficial to the community.

  12. Garry Ferguson Says:

    Thursday, 9 March: This was a day unlike any other. The trip to Lutzville was an incredible experience though short lived. I’ll start with the disappointment. I was disappointed to leave prematurely, but understood the decision as safety concerns could not be ignored. Plus, if the predominant thought in the minds of participants regarded lack of safety, I think everyone’s experience would have been substantially inhibited. I understood and agreed with the decision to depart, but would like another shot at some point in my life.

    The kids were fantastic! They had energy to spare. We didn’t even speak the same language in many cases, but other human characteristics and activities transcended language. It is interesting to see how fulfilled these people were despite not having a standard of living anywhere close to what many of us have in the U.S. Observing this brought to mind the hedonic treadmill theory. In other words, people can continue to accumulate stuff, material items, worldly possessions, and be pleased with that stuff momentarily, but still live an unfulfilled life while continuing to chase material things as their state of satisfaction returns to the same level it was prior to the positive or negative event. Ultimately, stuff, if you will, does not lead to fulfillment. Stuff is nice to have. It’s ok to have, and it undoubtedly renders some amount of pleasure, but that pleasure fades and it’s on to the next thing, and the next thing that creates a momentary sense of pleasure, but you will inevitably return to that homeostatic disposition. They obviously didn’t need a lot of material things nor basic things we take for granted, but they still were able to be joyful. It reminded me to continue striving to be better while at the same time being content with the blessings I have.

    Moving on, it didn’t take long to see that there was little we could accomplish in the way of real business solutions. Given that business concerns were off the table, my concern shifted to the importance of the ministry of presence – just being present amongst the members of that community. It was uncomfortable at times, but I expected to feel that way coming in and almost became comfortable with being uncomfortable, if that makes sense. Personally, I love structure and boundaries, hence my decision to become a member of the military, but I didn’t think either of those personal affinities would allow me to make a substantial impact in this particular setting; therefore, I completely disregarded them and decided just to be present and positive, hoping that doing so could have been beneficial to the community.

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