The Fruit of the v(w)ine
Mackenzie and Mollie pressing the grapes from the vine to make wine:)
The group of students lounging and having snacks at the Harvest Festival in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Sitting outside, sipping on a glass of locally made merlot, listening to the sound of live music, it was hard not to fall in love with our Saturday afternoon at the Spier Wine and Harvest Festival. From the moment we stepped off the bus, it was clear we were leaving behind the chaos of Cape Town for the day and entering the lush tranquility of Stellenbosch. “Simply elegant” are the best words I can find to describe the experience, with seating limited to pillows on blankets, guarded from the sun by white drapings overhead. People of all ages roamed the venue – children covered in Spiderman face-paint, young adults giggling as they stomped grapes, and elderly couples sampling fine wines. Strolling up and down the rocky paths, tasting specialty wines and food, it was easy to lose yourself in the splendor of the day.
In a program where we are so often called to look upon the economic inequality in South Africa, and find ourselves working in underprivileged communities on a daily basis, it was interesting to see the other side of things. How the other half lives. Saturday was a peaceful (and much needed) vacation from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives in Cape Town and the emotionally weighing nature of the things we see at our service sites, but it was also an eye opener to the vast inequalities that exist in this country today. In a country where there is still a great deal of people living in informal housing, without access to basic resources, should a festival like this exist? As service-learning students, it is our job to ask these questions!
Written by Guest Blogger,
Lindsay Voet, North Eastern University