It was an interesting point in time, that was for sure. South Africa was, quite literally, the midpoint of our voyage. My itinerary for last spring’s Semester at Sea voyage had us sail from the Bahamas, south to Brazil and up the Amazon River 600 miles, then back out and over to Ghana, before coming down to the southernmost tip of Africa, where I found myself a little over a year ago today. Everything about South Africa screamed different. It is (arguably but commonly viewed) the “most European” of the African countries, and I know after the culture shocks of Dominica, Brazil, and Ghana, we needed some comfort.
I remember that at the time, I was just ready to tackle another country. I had heard from SAS alumni that South Africa was one of the more fun ports, lots to see and do, plus it had a relatively familiar party scene. Certainly, it was safer than the middle of the Amazon rainforest. And it was supposed to be gorgeous. I had big plans and new best friends. Looking back, I realize now that it was the tipping point for when I really became a global traveler. South Africa was just familiar enough to help me realize how much I had already grown, yet just different enough to give me a sweet taste of something new. But after we left South Africa, it was onwards to India and another five countries across Asia – we could no longer hide from the culture shock. We were told to appreciate the familiarities of South Africa, because after we left, we’d be on our own. Continue reading
Reading the prompt, my immediate thought was, oh I know where this is going. We are still racist. We are still sexist. Women are treated as inferiors, but feminism is a trigger word for debates and piss-poor attitudes. And I will certainly agree that we are not all equal, not in terms of race or gender, religion or sexuality, socioeconomic backgrounds, etc. As you can tell from the posts, we’ve all seen it ourselves. I could tell you the typical stories of being advised not to travel without men whilst abroad, of higher auto insurance rates for men (read an article on anti-discriminatory insurance rates in the UK here), of being afraid walking outside at night. But I’ll leave that to my classmates. Instead, I’ll use this time to talk about horses! (Are you sensing a theme in my conversation habits yet?)
I am a three-day eventer – a good basic explanation of eventing can be found here. I have ridden for 14 years, across just about every riding discipline you can imagine, and finally settled on eventing 7 years ago. I’ve ridden all four collegiate years on Bucknell’s equestrian team, serving as secretary and then captain for the years before I went abroad, and now serving as (the unofficial) show team manager. I also ride three days a week at another barn in Milton, and while I’m home, I am at the barn every single day. Horses are truly my life. Laugh all you want, but when you find the one thing that motivates you to get out of bed every morning, that gives you hope for your future when everything seems to be going wrong, you know what I’m talking about. So what does this have to do with our blog post? Continue reading
Athleticism is one of the main components of my personal identity. I consider myself to be pretty athletic and very competitive when it comes to sports. I grew up playing three sports (water polo, swimming, and softball) and succeeded in all three. Over the past three summers I have been a beach lifeguard in Corolla, NC where I have participated in big lifeguarding competitions and placed in multiple events in the South Atlantic Region. At Bucknell, I am a co-captain of the women’s water polo team (where we just went 4-1 this past weekend!) and have started all four years. Sports have consumed and play an important component of my life.
From my personal experience, I still see a large part of American society being sexist towards women’s athletics. For example, during high school gym class, we would play all sorts of co-ed sports including softball, basketball, handball, volleyball, and tennis. When it came time to the team sports, I would always become very frustrated. During handball for example, the boys would never pass me the ball even when I was wide open, in a scoring position, and calling for the ball. It was discouraging and frustrating and I ended up just walking back and forth on the court since there was no hope for me to get to participate. I have not only experienced this discrimination on the field but also by the attendance to female sporting events versus men. The men’s water polo team here at Bucknell will have the stands packed during their home games while the women’s team will have maybe a quarter of the attendance (mostly family). Continue reading
This week’s prompt allowed me to discover an intriguing business concept as well as its leader – Samasource, founded and led by Leila Janah. Samasource works as a go-between for a company that needs some sort of technological work and a woman, youth, or refugee living in poverty. Essentially, Samasource intends to end poverty by providing the underprivileged with jobs, and therefore, an income. Well, duh, you might think – not exactly a novel concept when you get right down to it. Yet Samasource has found a clever and productive way to go about its mission. Continue reading