Friday, February 8, 2013

CAS at Waterford

In doing the IB diploma, there's something called "CAS," or "creativity action service." Essentially, it's extracurriculars,  but forcing you to do a broad range of them, instead of all theater, or all sports. Instead, you have to make sure to get a certain number of hours in all three categories. It's something that we all would do anyways, but CAS kind of makes it a joke, because we have to keep track of hours, so whenever you show up for something, there's this joke of "CAS HOURS."

Anyways, Waterford has some pretty cool clubs, so I figured I'd write a little bit about the things that I've been doing here outside of school.

First of all, for action. Let me make it very clear - I never did sports in the States, but I tried. I tried tennis, rock climbing, and yoga. I kept hitting myself in the face with the tennis racket. I kept just falling off the rock climbing wall. I felt like some sort of landed fish trying to twist into yoga shapes. And so, what was I supposed to do for action?

To be honest, failing at sports was probably the best thing ever, because if I wasn't desperate for action hours, I wouldn't have tried two of my favorite activities here - Indian dancing, and Scottish dancing. Dancing counts as either action or creativity, which makes it a wonderful activity for someone like me.

Indian dancing is actually really wonderful. It's the kind of dancing in Bollywood movies, with the fancy hands and all that. The really nice thing about Indian dancing is that we're preparing for UWC Day, which is a day of a bunch of culture-sharing stuff at the end of the term. One thing about the culture of Waterford is that everything is really laid-back, and it doesn't matter if you're late to a club, or if you miss a rehearsal or a class. While sometimes that's nice, it's not how Indian dancing is. The girl running it wants us to be good for UWC Day, and to be honest, it's really nice to have something that you're expected to be on time for, and can count on other people to be on time for, and to always be there, especially having something we're working for all together. Also, I just feel awesome doing these funny dance moves.

Scottish dancing is pretty much the opposite. It's really laid back and kind of goofy, but since there's no performance we're getting ready for, that's fine. The best way to describe it is if I liken it to that scene in Titanic, when Rose is wearing that dark purple dress, after that boring dinner party, and they go down to third class and go dancing? It's that kind of dancing. And it's awesomely fun.

I'm also trying kayaking on Saturday, which is in the pool, but it could be fun. I'm hoping it is :)

Okay, so then there's creativity. First, I'm in public speaking. After all my time as captain of the speech team at my old school, I figured I should at least try it out, and it was really fun. I did impromptu in the States, which was a smaller event there, but that's the main focus of this team, which is really cool for me. We're working on getting involved in some competitions around Swaziland and South Africa, so I'm really excited.

Along with that, I'm actually in a play, if you can call it that. I really enjoy being involved in it, but it's probably more accurately described as an abstract performance arts piece. Essentially, my role is to walk really slowly across the sports fields, tripping every three steps, as four other people walk slowly, doing their respective actions. The field is lit up a certain way, and we're wearing certain things, and it's all a very big symbolic piece of existentialism, but people still walk past our "rehearsals" being very confused why there are these people walking slowly across the field. It feels ridiculous and awesome all the same, and remember, "CAS HOURS." Just kidding...

For service, I'm volunteering in the pediatric ward of the government hospital here in Mbabane once a week, but I'll probably end up writing a whole separate post about that, so I'll leave it for now. Along with that, I'm involved in a group called 30 Seconds of Change, which is a rather new group, founded by Sofia Gomez-Doyle (USA WK '12). The focus is to use social media to empower those who wouldn't normal have a large voice, encouraging them to do community improvement in their areas by connecting funding to projects, and that sort of thing. Locally, the "chapter" at Waterford is looking at working with Mpaca Refugee Camp here in Swaziland to install toilets and (maybe) computers. After that, there's room for anything, and it's really a club that just looks around at how to make the world a better place, and just does it. I'm really excited to really get going with it.

There are a few more things that I've been doing around campus, but those are the major ones for now. There are so many cool things to join here - sometimes I just wish I could join everything, however cliched that might be :)

Oh, and I hear that there are snow days going around in the States - enjoy that! I'll be enjoying our 80 degree, sunny weather with my shorts and flip-flops ;)

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