Mary Go Round / Motorcycle Diaries: South Africa

Hey Mr. Omari... Tell me where you been? I've been around the world but I'll be back again....

Haven't had internet for some days. Forgive the delays. This was written for Tuesday.

Productivity increased over the past two days, but this does not come without frustrations remaining. Yesterday was split into smaller groups in order to get some more done which proved to work. This was after I expressed some frustrations in front of the group and the professors. Some may say I was a bit aggressive… You know me… I’m working on it. Ha. Then the afternoon picked up significantly.

I have a story for you… yesterday after a day of work all of the groups met back together and updated each other on what we’d accomplished. This discussion and check-in lasted about 30 minutes. Well, over the weekend we had to read some articles and one was by Leslie Witz, a professor at University of Western Cape and board of trustees at the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum. Today was the long anticipated day to meet this man… anticipated by the professors—who of course have met him on numerous occasions and are his colleagues. I’m hoping you sense my sarcasm. We started out today by updating this ONE man on what it is we had accomplished the previous day. Maybe I’m just being a stickler but was it not a waste of time to do the updates the previous just do them again for this man? We could have done them one time today when he was there saved time. Then we spent approximately the next two hours talking about the same things we’ve been talking about for the past week and asking Witz questions that we thought he would be able to answer. Instead, he usually replied, ‘yes, that is a great question.’ Once again, more time that could have been used more productively.

Through the dialogue with this man many of us became confused. Over the past year plus, we have been trained to think in terms of the community. So when we came here we all had the mindset that everything we do must be for and through the community. And I’m sure you’ve picked up on this in previous posts. But, it seemed as though this message what not was Witz was really telling us. He spoke about the museum in terms of other museums and used the same measuring stick. So then, why is this museum special? Or why is this museum a community museum? It appears that in actuality there is NO link to the community, rather some of the community members. I wonder if the museum was originally meant for the community. At times it seems as though it was meant to tell the story of migrant labour everywhere. If that’s the case, cool, just tell us. Please keep in mind that I always will have bias and that this is one perspective. Also, that I am an outsider who has been here for just over a week. These are just my thoughts.

After lunch we got rolling again. Conducted some interviews, documented some things in one of the hostels. Overall, in two days we’ve gotten more tangible work done than we did all last week.

Onto lighter things… I’m feeling much better. Although about 5 of us have been sick since Thursday. It doesn’t seem too cold when I say it’s about 50-60 degrees during the day. The problem is that it rains throughout the day sporadically, and there is NO heat in any of the buildings. So when we’re at the museum for 8 hours we’re there in that 50 degree weather shivering all day. I’ve begun to wear jogging pants under my jeans and I had to buy another jacket yesterday. We’re planning to go catch Hancock tonight at the cinema, and I’ve cooked with another bro from the class for the past two days. Nothing spectacular but it went down well. Maybe I’ll keep cooking when I get back… I know some people who would like that. Ha.

There are too many thoughts to give you everything. I’m trying though. If you have any requests or want to know about specific things please ask and if I’ve experienced them I will be happy to share.

Signing off...

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