Monday, July 26, 2010

Meeting a Two Million Year-Old in South Africa

Traci Pillow is a Vol State student who visited South Africa this year. She reports that the travel study program included a first-hand look at the Cradle of Humankind:

I traveled to South Africa this spring and studied Cultural Anthropology. The country was beautiful, especially Cape Town. I never imagined that I would learn as much as I did in a three-week period. I learned about Nelson Mandela and toured Robben Island, where he was a prisoner at the maximum security prison. I learned about apartheid and saw the effects it still has on the country.

There is no way to find the words to describe the feeling of seeing the way of life in the townships. It truly made my heart ache for them. There were miles upon miles of worse than poor living conditions.

One of the most fascinating experiences was at the Transvaal Museum. We were able to go into the vault (which was for authorized personnel only) and see many bones and fossils that had been excavated including Mrs. Ples, a well-preserved skull of an australopithecine estimated to be 2.5 million years old. We went to Sterkfontein cave which is located in The Cradle of Humankind. Sterkfontein is the world’s largest running paleoanthropologist site.

I was also able to go on a safari and on a shark-cage dive, which was a thrilling experience.

-Traci Pillow (Hammond)

No comments: