Sunday, February 8, 2009


February is often the hottest month in Cape Town. With the mercury hitting 38 degrees over the past few days, 2009 looks to be no exception.

At school, in a loose blouse and skirt, I am sweating. Yet my students – in some combination of polyester tracksuit, poly blend skirt (with nylons) or trousers, button down shirt, wool sweater, tie and blazer – rarely make any adjustment to their uniforms. When I tell them they can take off their jackets and sweaters or loosen their ties, none of them do, even when they are constantly fanning themselves and perspiration is visibly forming on their faces.

At home sitting in our kitchen, my feet on the cool tiled floors, every available door and window open and a fan in my face, the heat is not unpleasant. Take away these luxuries, replace windows and doors and cool tiles and fans with corrugated metal walls and a tin roof and this scene does a complete 180.

In seeking relief from the scorching temperatures, many Capetonians head to the beach and the more affluent lounge by their pools. For most of my students, this is simply not an option. Despite being less than a half hour drive for most, beaches are generally out of reach due to lack of transport. Camps Bay is not a popular route for the mini taxis that go to and from the townships…

1 comment:

xoimrad said...

Hello Alex!

It's Katie from Old Dominion University. We visited Fezeka last May/June.

Well, good news, we are coming back! I will be going on the trip again this summer (can't wait!) and I am helping Jen put together the orientation for the Fezeka work site. I was wondering if you could help me out - are there any special requests or projects that you or the school needs help with this time? I could not find your email address but I do not check this blog much anymore so if you could please contact me back via my Gmail account, that would be fantastic! I hope to hear from you soon and I hope everything is going well :)

Warmest regards,


ps: Back in December my mother and I mailed two boxes of books to the school. I believe the ATTN: was to Swallows. I have not heard from him in a while and was just wondering if the books got there? I know the mail system can sometimes take a lifetime to get across the water but I was just checking on it. Thanks!