South Africa – Culture Shock

Posted on January 22nd, 2013 by

There has definitely been a great deal of culture shock for me upon returning home to the United States. Because of this, my learning about the culture of the South Africans in Cape Town has continued since I got home. I had many “ah-ha!” moments where things I had learned or experienced throughout our trip became more clear. One of these moments deepened my understanding of the way in which the campers at Africa Jam get to express excitement.

Chapel at camp was an experience filled with joy and excitement. People did not go and just observe chapel. People were a part of chapel. The energy in the room was always so high that you could not help but sing and shout and jump around like crazy. An interesting concept that I was presented with is that to many of the kids at camp, chapel is one of the only times for them to let loose and really get excited about something. This feeling was compared to the way that many of us in America show our enthusiasm during sporting events. When I returned home, I went to a high school hockey game. The game was played outside for Hockey Day Minnesota and my home team beat their opponents in overtime (woop woop!!!). As I was cheering ecstatically with the crowd it hit me that the last time I had been this wound up about something was at camp during chapel. The yelling and screaming I was doing at the game had the same intensity as the way in which the campers were praising God.

After realizing the similarities between these two situations, it made me very thankful that the campers get the opportunity to let loose and be truly overjoyed about something at camp. I know that many of them come from difficult backgrounds and have to spend a great deal of their time putting on a strong face. Camp gives them an outlet for them to get excited about something they truly care about and I am so glad they get the opportunity, and that they are willing, to do so.

Jane Sparen


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