Tight Security

It was a slightly earlier morning than usual but that didn’t phase us. Madi and I were up till 2 the night before chatting, sending emails, and looking at photos. Eli uploaded all of her edited photos so I was fun to go through and see everyone. 

At this point we aren’t following the original schedule that was sent out. Things change but just in the order of what we do. The morning activity was a trip to the University AIDS and Gender Center. In the building the walls were lined with posters with facts on aids and how to use condoms. They tried to make the posters funny. 

We walked around the aids center and all gathered in a round robin discussion room. Just enough chairs for everyone in the room. The guy who lead our discussion was young and knew how to work a room. We were supposed to have a brainstorming session to see if we could fix some of their problems by explaining our ideas and how we do it at UF. He started out by bringing up student health and the stigma behind it. The group tried to compare aids to student mental health on campus because it is where we are lacking. Only 1% of students have aids but it is a problem once they leave college. In their mental health division, they only have a few people even working and all of the medical staff is women nurses. They run into administration issues because the school doesn’t like to address certain problems and doesn’t have the reasources to fix the problem. Each time the moderator asked for our solutions, someone would say something and he would bring in a whole new set of issues. There were lots of times when the group got off topic. Then we brought up student leadership and activism and how to get students involved even though they felt defeated after riots. People don’t have time to be student leaders here. They focus on school. The solutions and examples of our school in comparison to UP made me kind of upset because we are such jaded people. They should have had students from Valencia or a different community college come in and discuss their school because to be real we were a bunch of brats talking about our campus politics. After a bit though, it sunk in to everyone on how some students at UP were really in rough situations and doing anything to stay in school. We talked about girls and how they don’t have access to maxi pads and basic needs. All in all the whole group was hype and a buzz and everyone was like shoot how can we help. Megan asked if it would make a difference if she wrote a letter to the school. Mihael asked the best question/comment, “How can we help as college Americans?” . Our woke moderator responded that America is the leader of the world so stay involved in politics and what is happening in our country because our policies and ideas affect the whole world. It reminded me of the intelligence squared podcast I was listening too on my way up about different aspects of Trumps first 100 days in office. One of the questions was if the America First policy was a good idea and motto. Some of the commentators where against it because it was a motto from a bad piece of American history and the other group said that we are the leaders of the free world and need to lead by example. All in all interesting podcast and do reccomend. Intelligence Squared US Debates is always one of my favorites because it is interesting to hear both sides right after each other and go head to head finding holes in each other’s arguments. Altough I am not a debater and far from it, I still really enjoy listening. 

We had two hours to grab lunch so instead of going to the icky bar like place from the University tour or going back home (both options that other peeps took) Nik Austin Madi Eli Ama Matt and I walked to the center of campus and had really yummy trendy sandwiches at Tribeca. It was the place we ate at the mall but it was a smaller menu on campus and we ate outside facing the main square and plaza of americas equivalent. It was delightful and I enjoyed the company. We discussed girls clothing and how rompers and women’s underwear is very comfortable for guys? Questionable but delightful. 


I found this photo online of the embassy


But this is what it actually looked like (from google)

We all were dressed up spiffy to visit the embassy. We had driven by it the previous day and it looks like the launching room at Kennedy Space Center. Madi and I almost left our passport but quickly realized everyone else in the group had theirs. Since we are in our own separate bungalow, we tend to miss things. The crew bused to the embassy and got in line to get in. They check all of our passports and then take us in threes through security. You aren’t allowed to bring anything into the embassy and all phones must be turned off and left at the front. Matt decided he wanted a pic at the front gates and he got yelled at by the guards. They asked him to deleted the photo but it is a old film camera so he couldn’t. He put up kind of a fight to let him keep it and they agreed. He even got them to not x ray it so the film wouldn’t develop early. We traded our passports for visitor passes after we got through security. They escorted us through the classic government building (very 90s government) and took us to a conference room. No one sat that the head seat. A state department worker, Nik, first came and spoke to us about his job and the role the embassy has in South Africa. He was sweating a lot in the beginning. Eventually we learned he was a math major and it made sense.  He was in charge of exchange programs Between US and SA. A second state department lady came inandtslked about her more senior role in politics. The group grilled them with questions on the role of the embassy on SA politics, life moving around to different countries, their personal views of the us and South Africa. They were very willing to answer any questions we asked. They said they don’t get involved in South Africa politics because they are just an embassy and we were like sure we have seen enough spy movies. 

After a few hours, our session was done and we returned home. Paul sat next to me on the ride home and had a quick rant about how the peeps in our group were disrespectful of the armed forces. I was like please complain away youare in a safe space. Picked up our dirty laundry ar home and Madi and I started a Great Trek to do our laundry. I just wanted to clean the dusty jeans and leggings from the safari. We found one on google maps and walked a mile to find it no long existed. Then we knew where another slightly farther one was from when walk to school. Seemingly a forever walk and we were about to go home when we stumbled across it. We didn’t feel unsafe walking but it was that point in the afternoon where we knew we would have to turn around soon. We returned home an hour and a half after the great laundry Trek pretty tired. We took a very roundabout way of getting there but it turned out that the laundry place was close to our home. 

In the girls house, they were washing their clothing in the bathtub. I should have taken a pic because it was Ama, Eli, Bailey and Geos clothing shorting around in a dark water from some dye and then they had to wring out the clothing and hang it up to dry. I was like bless; our Trek and a few dollars is worth it. Eli picked her song for the music video she is making and I was sad because I was hoping for the Mumford and Sons Johanasburg songs but she chose the September Song by JCole. Instead of ordering in, all of the girls decided to walk to the mall and go to Tasha’s, a trendy restaurant. The boys made food at their house for each other and Dr. Leedy. So cute. At Tasha’s Madi and I split this amazing pasta pesto. Amazing. We ordered a slice of cake to split as well and had to take it to go because the pasta was so filling. It was the best meal yet, what’s rush. 

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