Getting Ready!



Dear ECU Capetonians!

As our July departure date of Thursday, 16 July nears, Professor Lynn Harris and I want to bring several important topics to your attention.  Please take time to review the long list below.  We have made important changes to a similar announcement that went to you on 26 May.

(1)  We will meet at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, 16 July, at the far left end of Terminal 2 as you face any entrance door.  There is a meeting area in that section of Terminal 2.  That will give us plenty of time to say goodbyes to family and take departure photos.  We may also need a little time to repack school supply donations as noted in #9 below.

(2)  We are all now registered for courses.  You assigned professors, either Drs. Harris or Wilburn, will contact you individually in a day or so about your course assignments.  If you are taking HIST 4533 in which you will write a research paper under either Dr. Harris or Dr. Wilburn, you and your professor must complete a form.  Your professor will contact you in a day or so to begin that process.

(3)  Consider downloading and installing the free app, WhatsApp; this will permit you to text free to your family and friends from South Africa to the US, as long as they also have downloaded and installed WhatsApp.

(4)  Consider installing Skype or FaceTime so you can see those with whom you are conversing;  again, they must have also downloaded and installed the apps.

(5)  Be sure to inform your bank  or credit union that you intend to withdraw funds from South Africa via ATM.  There is no need to bring much cash; it is actually more expensive and inconvenient to convert paper dollars than it is to use an ATM.   Visa and Mastercard are taken widely throughout South Africa; Discover is not.  Consider using a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees.  Also inform your credit card company that you intend to use your card in South Africa.  As a matter of security, you must keep your passport, cash, and credit cards with you at all times.  Do not leave valuables in rooms.

(6)  Clive has put together an ECU “survival guide” for us, which we have attached.  Please read it carefully; it also includes our latest itinerary (note that Clive inserted our program web site photo with the outdated, inaccurate departure and return dates into the survival guide–ignore those dates).  Our new dates are reflected in the survival guide in his itinerary and on your plane ticket.  Also, remember that it is winter in South Africa; consider bringing some waterproof clothing.

(7)  When appropriate, we all pitch in to tip our drivers and guides; whatever amount you deem appropriate will be fine.

(8)  Remember to bring your passport, another picture id (you need two picture ids), and your plane ticket to the airport in Raleigh.

(9)  Be aware that we will have to pay for luggage between Raleigh and DC and back again ($25 for first 50 lb. checked bag; $35 for second 50 lb. checked bag; the same will apply when we return and fly from DC to Raleigh); there is no fee between Raleigh and Cape Town for up to two suitcases of 50 lbs. each.  Carry-on baggage allowed:  United accepts the following items, per customer to be carried on the aircraft at no charge:   One carry-on bag no more than 45 linear inches or 114 linear centimeters (L + W + H) or 14 inches x 9 inches x 22 inches (23 x 35 x 56 cm) and one personal item (such as a shoulder or laptop bag).  The bag service charges below reflect a maximum outside linear dimension of 62 linear inches (157 cm).  As far as our South African Airways economy tickets, here is the wording:   free of charge you may check in 2 pieces at a maximum of 23 kg (50 lb.) per piece and maximum dimension of 158cm (62inches).  South African Airways carry-on baggage allowance for economy ticket holders is as follows:   one piece not exceeding 8kg (18lb) 56cm (L) 36cm (W) 23cm (H).  All hand luggage must be of a size that fits under the seat in front of you or in one of the overhead lockers.  One (1) Small personal (E.G. Small purse, small laptop case) is also allowed.   Larger laptop bags and standard/bulkier briefcases will not be considered a personal item and will count as a normal piece of cabin baggage, which may not exceed one piece in economy.

(10)  As we will be donating school materials to a pre-school in Langa (a largely impoverished African township) near Cape Town, consider purchasing educational materials to take with you appropriate for kids up to about 6 years old.  If you have any used clothing suitable for kids, clothing will work as well.  You might think of loading one suitcase with such items (no more than 50 lbs), then afterwards using that suitcase to pack goods you purchased in South Africa.  Since first writing this, one of our former students has sent two sizeable packages for school supplies.  I will bring them to the airport.  Between the 11 or so of us, we can divide them up before we check in.  You may want to bring something of your own as well, but leave a bit of room for more school supplies.

(11)  The voltage in South Africa is 220, so you will need an adaptor to recharge laptops and communications devices.