This semester I am interning in South Africa with an organization called the Bicycle Empowerment Network. I will be living about 40 minutes outside of Cape Town adjacent to Table Mountain National Park, a prime location for hiking, mountain biking, and all around adventuresome trouble. I chose to title this blog “Ubuntu State of Mind” because the philosophy of ubuntu comes from South Africa and is relevant to my way of life. Ubuntu is difficult to define but is generally the philosophy that everything is interconnected. It is the belief that we are all a community of people and animals that exist together and not separate of one another. Therefore, our actions affect the whole world. Nelson Mandela put it like this: “A traveller through a country would stop at a village and he didn’t have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu, but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?”
While I am here I hope to soak up as much culture, adventure, and sunshine as I can. Following the Ubuntu philosophy, I will be aware of how each of my actions, even something as simple as greeting a stranger with a smile, can change someone’s life directly or indirectly. I am excited to begin this new adventure with the outlook of taking every opportunity I get with optimism and enthusiasm. This blog will not solely be about my internship, but will also serve as a journal for me to document my life while living on the Southern Peninsula of Africa. And so my journey begins. I hope you will enjoy the words written here which will provide you with a picture of this beautiful place that I will call my home for the next four months.