Today in South Africa...

Robben Island
Today in South Africa we visited Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for almost 20 years. For those that may not know, Mandela was a political leader in South Africa who stood up for equal rights. The government felt his protests and strikes were politically offensive  therefore incarcerating him for 27 years. Once inside, we were able to see his living conditions and were  even given a tour by a man who actually was a prisoner during those times. It was a haunting, but beautiful reminder of how ones life and their sacrifices can make such a difference in the world. It was hard to understand a lot of things the tour guide was saying, but being inside those walls gave me a pretty good idea of what took place. One of the many things that stuck out to me was walking past the cell walls and seeing the tiny cells completely empty. I was informed halfway through that most prisoners had no beds. They literally had nothing. It was freezing that day so all my mind could think about was the men who had to sleep on the floor, shivering, possibly sick with maybe one blanket. Once that image was in my mind, my heart was instantly struck with guilt. Here I am complaining about being cold in the mornings while walking to the bathroom, while these men were sleeping on floors in the freezing cold. Oh, how minimal my problems suddenly became. Sometimes it takes a place like this to shift your perspective of things and appreciate the freedoms and rights my generation was born knowing.
Nelson Mandela didn't gain freedom until 1990, which absolutely blows my mind! But Mandela persevered and became a beacon of hope for most living in South Africa, especially those affected by apartheid.  His legacy lives on!