Sunday, October 2, 2016

Three Weeks in Africa

Only three weeks into my trip and it feels like I've been here for months. The sights, the people, the environment is so vast and diverse I couldn't possibly see it all in the 9ish weeks I am here in South Africa. Although, I feel like I have seen so much of it, I see or hear something new everyday. That is what this trip is about to me, to have new experiences and to learn. And in only three weeks I have done just that.

Highlights of my trip so far...

A 15 hour plane ride and I didn't sleep 
Living on a farm at Ingwe (in Plettenberg Bay)- hiking, learning and team bonding
Hiking to the ocean 3 times
Monkeyland and Birds of Eden
Kloofing in Africanyon
Living in the township, Kwanokuthula, I have a mom (Wendy), dad (James), and 2 sisters, Achumile (14) and Buchumile (6)
Working for Plett Aid and the first two weeks of field work I am with a carer that goes to peoples houses to check up on them

I have had limited access to internet, and that is a good thing, but I just thought I would update just so you all know I am alive. More posts to come, hopefully a little more comprehensive but I have been busy working and living in Africa, wow I still am shocked with that realization at times. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

An Overview

A Little About Me...

and the purpose of my gap year

Hi, I'm Maddie Grubb from Ballston Spa, New York. I love to read, listen to music, play and coach soccer, draw, and spend time with my family. I come from a very large and close family with 13 cousins and too many to count other people that when asked how we are related we just respond with, "eh we're all just family." My favorite times of the year are spent with them, on birthdays, holidays and vacations. My experiences with my family and with others have shaped me into the person I am today. The lessons and values I have been taught have pointed me into the direction of this gap year and to cultivate change.

Being able to give back to others is so important to me. I feel it is also important to learn about other cultures and other people. I want to dedicate time to travel the world, learning while I  perform field work in other countries. I hope to learn more about the world and about myself through a gap year. Words cannot describe how excited I am for this opportunity to travel and learn more about the world in the process.

The Itinerary

September 12th, 2016 - March 26th, 2017

The 7 month trip is broken down into 7 week segments in each country. We will be working and studying with a particular focus at each destination starting at South Africa (Global Health), then India (Education), and Ecuador (Environmental and Food Sustainability). Each of the 7 weeks are followed by a cultural enrichment week. At the end of our program, we will return to the US in Washington DC and meet with government representatives while giving presentations on the subjects we studied on our trip.

Orientation: South Africa - 2 weeks

We meet up as a group in South Africa, where we will begin to learn about cultural sensitivity, communicate across language barriers, and immersing in a new culture. We will begin team building activities as well as health and safety training. We will discuss the curriculum and set goals for the year.

Unit 1: South Africa

This is where we will start our first unit: Public Health and the AIDS Epidemic. We will study the steps that are being done to treat and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS is our most critical global health crisis. With deaths in the millions in sub-Saharan Africa, communities face the threat of collapse. We’ll investigate how a country recovering from Apartheid is attempting to address the needs of those infected. We’ll work with home-based caregivers, a nursing center, and clinics. We’ll experience gorgeous coastline, expanses of grassland, and a mix of ethnicities.

Enrichment: South Africa

Unit 2: India

We will travel to India and begin Unit 2: Education. Education is the keystone of development. We’ll explore how education can empower individuals and communities to improve health and create equity and justice. We’ll work in education centers for women and children in some of the poorest parts of Delhi and Dharamsala. We’ll visit the breathtaking Taj Mahal and immerse your senses in the rich smells, sounds, and colors or markets and festivals.

Enrichment: Cambodia

Unit 3: Ecuador

This is where we will begin our third and final unit: Environmental and Food Sustainability. The environment and its natural resources are threatened. Our group will explore how production and consumption systems affect the environment. We’ll investigate how industry, agriculture, and cultural conflicts threaten forests and clean water in rural Ecuador. We’ll plant trees that protect the ecosystem and support local farmers. We’ll experience towering peaks of the Andes, equatorial beaches, and the colonial architecture of Quito.

Enrichment: Peru

Culmination: USA

While traveling the world teaches many things, the greatest lessons are those we learn about ourselves. We’ll explore the relationship between the US and the rest of the world. We’ll meet representatives from the World Bank, Congress, and NGOs to discuss international development. We’ll reflect to bring together your learning and experiences into powerful conclusions. We’ll create a Presentation of Learning to raise awareness about critical global issues. We’ll attend the TBB gap year programs graduation and celebrate our accomplishments.