This message was sent to Rotarians Dennis Shoemaker and Tony Cerato. Ben asked that the message be shared with the club.
I just finished the semester and now have some free time.
I wanted to contact you two (the club) to check how you are doing and to give you a quick update on my progress on the degree program, my Rotary involvement, and life in the most southern tip of Africa.
Concerning my degree in economic development, I am half way done with my coursework and my second half begins in February. I worked extremely hard, particularly in this past month, and believe my grades will represent such. After the second semester, I will need to complete a dissertation which is said to take six months to a year. However, I am narrowing down topics at the moment and will most likely begin in the next month. So, I will most likely be working concurrently on coursework and my dissertation during the second semester - meaning I will probably be heading home in the June to August time frame. Though, as you know, unexpected events can change plans.
Outside of logistics, I am really enjoying my degree program. It is surprisingly, in a positive manner, rigorous. I have written over 30,000 words so far on topics that really hit what the economic and community development area of focus aims for. I feel like this program is perfectly catered to Rotary's mission and vision, and should make RI, TRF, and D5470 extremely proud. I am happy I made UCT my university of choice and, again, so appreciative for this experience. Thank you so much, and please pass my thanks on to the entire Downtown Colorado Springs club and D5470 as well.
I have be very involved in Rotary here and I try to attend meetings on a biweekly basis. I have volunteered for three big Rotary service projects since our last communication and will give more detail in a later blog, which I will send to you.
I have also visited three other clubs in the Cape Town area but all clubs unfortunately forgot to bring flags to exchange. I will see if I can still receive them so I can bring them back home. Despite this though, each exchange was enriching and I believe I represented Rotary and D5470 with the mantra of spreading peace and goodwill, and building friendships.
Rotary continues to become a deeper part of my life and I can really see the "on the ground" impact it has in Africa. I beam with pride every time I tell someone I am a Rotary Scholar.
Other than this, life in Cape Town is great. It is starting to get VERY hot and the city is coming to life. To celebrate the end of the semester I am heading up the east coast for a trip to explore more of the country's culture and traditions. I think this will allow me to get a better understanding of its history and struggles. I am also trying to schedule meetings with clubs along the way as well.