Sometimes I learn:
In My economic class we had a panel yesterday of young development economists. It was very interesting to get the South African perspective on a lot of things that the world is debating. Some things that I learned during this session are as follows
- South Africa is having a huge problem with education causing the excessively high unemployment. In order for students to make it into college they must take an interest exam, with that only 5 % of the black/colored population passed it last year. They are completely lacking in math and science skills that are required at the college level.
- This lack of knowledge is thus not permitting people to get jobs. There is very little here that an unskilled person can do. So while someone with any sort of trained skill would get jobs almost instantly, a majority of the people don't have enough education to be hired anywhere.
- The people who are going to college are continuing the negative chain by moving out to places like Europe and Australia. Last month there were 160,000 applications of South Africans attempting to get to Australia. Part of this is the economics, and another is a fear for the upcoming president (Jacob Zuma).
- Prices are on the rise, education is ranked in the bottom three in the world, a president who has already been accused of corruption and thinks that taking a shower can keep you from getting AIDS is soon coming into power, and while many are staying in the beautiful country there are thousands leaving for a better life.
- I don't know what the future holds for South Africa… but unless the educational system is fixed so that there aren't townships with 50% unemployment rates and the economy is stabilized... then I don't know that it has easy times coming.
Sometimes i go out:
So, Nico (German) and Amre (Egyptian/ Swede) have a classic 1976 Ford that we have used for excursions recently. To begin with we have taken many surfing trips to beaches along the Atlantic Coast. It's been fun and while I am completely horrible at actually catching good waves, it has been fun spending evenings at the beach. The last one we went to was this past weekend in Kommetjie near Cape Point. It was the first beach I have been to in awhile that didn't have a hug wind blowing me and sand everywhere. However, the ocean was intense and the waves were so huge that there was actually a surfing competition happening with some of the best guys from the Western Cape. At one point I just tried to go out into the water (which was roughly the temperature of ice water) and got so exhausted after 15 minutes that I fought for another 10 minutes to get back onto the coast. Needless to say that only the pros were surfing that day. Also Cape Town has been a frequented spot now that we have a car to get there. The best trip though was the night we went to meet up with Chrissy. Two Saturdays ago her group was in town touring the Western Cape and Alex, Nico, Ashley, and this other random girl just to happen to want to go to Long Street to party. So we all went and I practically ran from the car to where we were meeting to see her. We were both so happy that we fought back tears and hugged for about 5 minutes. Then we spent the night catching up and recapping good times from Elon. There is nothing like a few months away to really make you realize what you have back home. Outside of your little trips along the coast, I have been going out a bit more here as well. Like back home I hang out in a lot of little groups that all choose to go out one night a week or so… meaning I go out several nights to be with all of them. The night life here is quite hectic though with too many bars to count and people always out dancing. For instance I went out Wednesday after a Braai to Bohemia and Tolleys with the Americans, Friday to Terrace, De Lopa, and All Stars with Timmy and some Afrikaaners, and Saturday to The Rhythm Lounge and Thumbs Up with Hauns and the Germans. Needless to say there is not a lack of things to do here in the evenings.