Every traveler has a home of his own and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering. –Charles Dickens
Last November Sean took an application to the high school to find a student eligible to apply for an opportunity to visit the United States. In April, Phenduliwe Ndlangamandla, a 19 year old Form 4 student at Ka-Langa High School, attended the 3 week Pan African Leadership Program in the United States. She spent time in Washington D.C., Chicago, and Indiana with students from all across Africa. It was Phenduliwe's first experience out of Swaziland. The following is a summary of her experience.
My trip to America was great, with funny and shocking experiences. The first experience was cold. America is very cold, whether the sun is in the sky or not. One of the good days in Muncie, Indiana I was on my way to Ballstate University where we usually had our classes. The sun was in the sky but the wind was cold and freezing. I am glad I was able to survive in the cold, all the way from Washington, D.C. to Muncie, Indiana and Chicago it was very cold.
Well, Americans keep their pets indoors. I knew about that but what surprised me is the way they treat the pets, they are treated like children. In Muncie I spent most of my time studying the relationship between my family and their pets. They were close friends, especially the dog called Lilly. At first I thought it is because they are an old couple but Mr. and Mrs. Robbey told me that they always have a wonderful dog in their house and they like dogs a lot. They knew the characteristics of each pet in the house from Lilly the dog and Jack and Peter the cats.
Shocking experiences as well, I could not believe that some Americans thought that Africa is one country with different languages. They thought we were not living a civilized life. Some asked us if we have fancy malls for shopping, television, schools, hospitals, cars, etc. They asked how do we manage to walk from home to school with the wild and dangerous animals. This gave me a clear picture that they do not know anything about Africa. After we have explained to them how Africa is they longed to come and see the beautiful places we have. They said they were afraid of the animals they thought were all over the place.
I went to church with my family in Muncie one of the Sunday's and I could not believe what I saw and heard. They do not have a specific religion and during the service they do not read any scripture. I was amazed when they sang the song "We Are Walking In The Light Of God" in Zulu. This church is a union of all religions anybody can think of, that includes, Christianity, Islamic, Jewish, Buddhism, and if you are not a believer you are free to join them.
Likes about the U.S.:
American people are friendly, they were always smiling at us even in the streets. My host family treated me like their own child and they showed me love. I like the idea of bringing children together like the Boys and Girls Club in Muncie, Indiana. The children come together after school, get food, do their homework and play, then their parents fetch them from there and go home. Moreover, the Second Food Harvest is nice, people donate food to be given to the less privileged.
What can improve:
I think the American people should improve their knowledge about Africa. It really feels good when we know that they know something about our continent. Reduce the rate of smoking. A lot of people in Chicago smoke in public which is dangerous to everyone.