Monthly Archives: February 2014

South Africa: Some Numbers

Statistic South Africa United States Comparison
Size (sq. km.) 1.2 million 9.6 million 8 Times Larger
Population 46.9 million 298.3 million 6 Times Larger
GDP (2005) $ 239.5 billion $ 12.5 trillion 58 Times Larger
GDP Per Capita $ 5,107 $ 41,904 8 Times Larger

Some other numbers to help provide perspective on South Africa.

South Africa 24.10%
United States 6.6%

Poverty Rate
South Africa 31.3%
United States 15.1%

Life Expectancy
South Africa 49.5 yrs
United States78.5 yrs

Infant mortality
South Africa 42.2/1000
United States 5.9/1000

Female Survival to 65 years old
South Africa 49.03%
United State 91.14%

Male survival to 65 years old
South Africa 43.35%
United States 86.13%

AnnualHIV/AIDS Deaths
South Africa 310,000
United States 17,000

South Africa 17.8%
United States 0.6%

People Living w/ HIV/AIDS
South Africa 5.6 million
United States 1.2 million

A bit about the food


The food here? Overall, amazing! Good, fresh food is affordable for me and I’m taking full advantage of it everyday.
Once orientation was over, each meal at the school cafe or at the student restaurant has had plenty of veggies and salad. During orientation the student restaurant at the hotel wasn’t ready yet and the bagged lunches that were provided for us usually had chips and soda in them.

One of my favorite delicacies we get to enjoy is fresh feta. I’m not a huge fan of feta in the US. Other than having it on my gyros I never buy it on purpose. However, here it is offered with most salads, either on it or on the side. You can always tell the difference between fresh and process and this feta is fresh!

Honestly, fresh food is one of the things we are kind of warned about when coming to South Africa. Why warned? Because even canned food has fewer preservatives than our US food and has the chance to go bad. So, we are warned not to buy fruit cups and think they will last a couple of weeks. Generally, I buy groceries only for the next couple of days, not the whole week. We are close to the shopping center and only have a mini-fridge so it works out.

Eating out…
I do eat out a lot more here than I did at home. I’m qualifying eating out as meals I do not cook for myself-like at the student dining room in the hotel. It is very affordable and for what we get, cheeper than cooking. Breakfast at the student restaurant is R30 ($2.75) while dinner is R40 ($3.70). Usually for breakfast we are served scrambled eggs, meat (bacon, saussage, or hotdogs), roasted tomatoes topped with parmesan, toast, coffee, tea, and juice. We have more variety in our dinners and if there are a lot of people who eat dinner, we get more variety all in one night. For dinner we usually have meat, veggies, a starch like potatoes or rice, salad, coffee, tea, and a dessert (sometimes its a sweet like mini cheesecakes but other times its fruit salad). The meals are served buffet style and so we can get 2nd helpings if we would like.

The following pictures are just some meals I’ve had out at a couple of my favorite places.
This is a tomato and cheese trammie from Kaffine, a local coffee shop that also serves killer food. Oh, and they have good internet. On any given day there will be a student here FaceTiming.


This is breakfast I had a couple of Sundays back at Dulcé Café. It is eggs and avocado served on a fried potato cake, and on the side is a salty cheese.


This is another meal at Kaffine, I told you we are here a lot! Fresh salad and a chicken feta wrap.


Today’s Lunch

Man, I love the food here!

This was what I had for lunch today from the Rendezvous Cafe:

Pasta and pea salad with bacon and mayo

Barbecued chicken breasts

Grilled potatoes in garlic with olives

Mixed grilled veggies with pumpkin seeds

Dessert: Sweet potato pudding with walnuts.

This is the closest recipe I could find:

I was the first customer to get a helping of the pudding, which meant a corner piece that was still steaming hot.

Might be the best alcohol advert of all time

Finally, here is an advertising for alcohol that says, “Let’s celebrate life!” Not just let’s drink and objectify women. Well done.

Now, be honest…did you get a little choked up?

Africa: The Lone Unknown Continent 

The Chele B Review

Recently, I spoke with an acquaintance that lives in Morocco, a Country located on the Northern part of Africa’s Continent described as richly beautiful with a rocky terrain  of mountains and sprawling deserts and having both Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines.  Jokingly, we called Casablanca the fake capital; not because it’s Morocco’s largest city, but rather it’s the one most well-known for the 1942 Movie “Casablanca” starring Ingrid Bergman & Humphrey Bogart. The actual capital is, however, named Rabat.

A few days after the above conversation, I was asked about the well-being of my Moroccan friend. One thing in the conversation led to another and before long the subject matter shifted to other things about Morocco such as everyday life and such.  However, the conversation became quite interesting the more the discussion started linking Morocco to Africa.


One of the most fascinating points here is how Morocco and other Countries on…

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Africa’s Economic Giants: Part One

Even though this video is from 2012, I think it gives some good information on the economic status of these two countries. Also, since this is part one there is an account of the history between the two countries. Nigeria supported black South African’s fight against apartheid.

Below is the CNBC Africa description of the video:
Dubbed as Africa’s economic giants, Nigeria and South Africa account for one-half of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP, and are potentially two of the biggest drivers of growth for the region as a whole. Their intra-regional and financial links have expanded significantly in recent years, but it is widely recognized that there is still a long road ahead in achieving optimum economic integration.

Clap your hands

Happy birthday, Miss Stephanie!

Weird tan lines

At the end of my 2nd week here in Port Elizabeth, I’ve gotten some weird tan lines appearing. So far, my feet have the best tan. I gave up applying sunscreen every day because I was sweating it off by the time I got to school. And while I may have some amazing SPF, it tastes horrible! I have started keeping sunscreen in my backpack so I can apply as needed during the day. Some people here carry umbrellas to protect them from the sun, which doesn’t seem like a bad idea. I was amazed this week when I was in my office and my coworkers were not even breaking a sweat. Meanwhile, in the corner I was sweating buckets. Granted, I contracted a bug this week and so my internal temperature regulation was way off. Still, I was wearing shorts and t-shirt while they were wearing jeans, long-sleeves, and tennis shoes. Oh, and rare is the building with airconditioner. Studying in the library in the afternoon is much more appealing since it has a/c. I was going to get a small fan for my desk but I’m not sure how much I’ll be in the office for the rest of the semester. This week is when my work really begins. The English Skills Students start their classes and I will meet with them in the afternoons to work on their writing. I think I’m meeting with them in their classroom and thank goodness, it has fans!
I’m still waiting to meet with the writing center administrators. I spoke with the lady that I met with last year when I was here. I sent her my memorandum of understanding that my boss back in St. Cloud wrote, which outlines the criteria for my internship requirements. I also sent her my CV so that she could forward these documents onto the director. I look forward to starting both portions of my internship. I know I will learn SO much over the semester.
I got sent home on Thursday because there wasn’t much for me to do and I was just sick. I slept most of the day. Friday, we were supposed to tour a animal reserve, but the weather did not cooperate. That was disappointing. I went to a local coffee shop for the morning to finish my writing sample so I could submit my phd application. When I got back to the hotel in the afternoon our internet was working again and I finally submitted it! *sighs* Hopefully, I’ll have good news by spring break!


One at a time

Two weeks into my time in South Africa and I was starting to feel overwhelmed. My second day here I read about a Sir Fabien, a rhino that had been killed, poached actually. This rhino had notoriety because of his best friend was a pug. At first when I picked up the paper and saw the story, I thought it was going to be a cute story about their friendship but sadly it was not. Then we toured Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth where you drive from nice upper and middle-class neighborhoods to 3rd world conditions. Then I came to campus excited to start my internship and working with students. On my first day I had a meeting with one student and then another came to see me twice to try and set a meeting to have a tutorial. It just seemed that everywhere I looked there is so much work to be done and I was starting to feel mentally paralyzed by it.

Then I remembered the story about the little kid and the starfish. The last time I’d heard the story was a fundraising dinner for the TriCounty Animal Shelter in St. Cloud, MN. The executive director was talking about the work they do at the shelter and how overwhelming it can be at times. However, she keeps it in her mind that the shelter is making a huge difference to the individual animals they place in homes. You can’t save them all but to the ones you do, its a lifechanger. With this in mind I changed the name of my blog to Star Thrower as a way to keep my focus on the ones that I am able to help. I want to keep this concept at the forefront while I am here so I can continue to be productive and have a rewarding experience helping those students that I am able to help.

If you’re gonna be sick, at least do it by the pool

I’ve got a little travel crud…I came back to the hotel after our city tour and took a nap. My room has direct sun and so it felt much better to lay next to the pool, nap, and enjoy the breeze. As the afternoon has gone on more people joined us as they got back home from classes.

Ethnographic Emergency

Quick, call an anthropologist!


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