As was written in an earlier post, a former classmate of mine, Caitlin Halferty, agreed to write some blog posts concerning her experience in South Africa as part of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps. They are working with the East London Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs to boost capacity for tourism in the lead up to the World Cup.
The following is a quick e-mail I received from Caitlin about her experience so far:
EAST LONDON – Having a great time here. My team is working with the local tourism organizations, both nonprofit and government. We were able to arrange a tour of the second largest township in the country over the weekend, home to more than a million people. It was just an incredible sight – homes that look like shacks to us, with metal pieces stapled to hold the building together, yet the people were so joyous and welcoming. Great experience. We’re also making progress with our clients. I believe we’ll have some concrete and clear insights to offer.
Couple of interesting hurdles this week – the post office workers have been on strike, so I haven’t been able to buy stamps. Electricity went out in major areas of the region, we couldn’t find a gas station that was open to pump gas. Internet connectivity is also very sporadic. Small issues compared to the beautiful area, welcoming people, and all the adventure we’re experiencing!
Tomorrow also marks the beginning of tourism month for the Eastern Cape region of the country. We’re out talking with locals and visitors about all the region has to offer. Its a great (and easy) job! Our goal for this week is to meet with the 2010 committee. I’m not leaving this country until I secure a couple of world cup tickets!