At the 8:30 am we took the bus to go to the Johannesburg Planetarium. On the way, we saw the Wits University ; which is one of the best universities of Joburg.
When we arrived in the Planetarium, we sat around an enormous projector, in a giant dome. Unfortunately, there was a technical problem with the bulb of the projector, which is now 80 years old. So we waited for a few minutes until the guide explained how the projector works. Then he gradually turned off the light and we saw all the stars that we can see from South Africa, like Castor or Polux. He also showed us some constellations like Orion, or “The Hunter” and Scorpio, that appears upside down compared to the Northern Hemisphere. He talked about the 8 planets of our solar system and explained us the traits of Mars, and also why Pluto is not considered as a planet anymore.
Finally he presented the spatial mission of satellite ROSETTA.
Martin and Samuel.
After that, we went to the mall. On our way to the mall, the teachers gave out some sandwiches and some drinks se we could have lunch. We didn’t have time to sit down and eat because the teachers had given us 1 hour. In the mall the teachers told us to meet at a specific place when we had finished our shopping. As for the shopping, the elderly had told us to get in groups of 3 people minimum per group. The following thing we did after the groups were made was to separate ourselves and to go the shops that we liked. Time was very short so we had to hurry. We saw people rushing in the shops to buy as much as possible. While we were shopping there were groups that went to McDonald’s and KFC. When the time was finally up, we met up at the meeting spot. Our friend Raphael bought a whole bucket of chicken and shared with every single one of us. Nobody was late, so we left the mall to go to the bus and from the bus, we went to the mine.
Hugo and George
After 1 hour in the mall we went to a gold mine that we visited with a guide. We took a lift to go seventy five meters underground. The mine was very cold and it was very dark inside, that’s why we had flashlights. First the guide explained us that the miners used explosives to extract the rocks full of gold and then they put the rocks in a “Coco-pan” (small wagon). Only some miners could use the explosive. Before they used pickake to extract the rocks and it took eight hours, after they had drills and it only took 10 minutes. Then the guide told us that between them, they spoke three languages : Afrikaans, Zulu and English. Every morning they had to put a “pass” in a box that was controlled by “the miners’ boss” so that at the end of the day when miners got out we could know if everybody was gone or not. After putting the pass in the box, they put on their equipment and they went to work. They spent a lot of hours in the mine and it was dangerous because the walls were unstable, that’s why they used different techniques to hold them. On every level they was a small first aid room.
The gold that was extracted from the rocks was melted in a big oven with a temperature over 100 degrees. After that the specialist used big pliers to put the melted gold in a mold to give it a form. Before taking it out of the mold they had to wait that the gold got cold.
Carlota, Marguerite, Celia and Sarah
After the mine visit, the teachers took us to Gold Reef City (Theme Park). They gave us 3 hours to do whatever we wanted to do. For us, the best rides were the Thrill rides. Their names were Anaconda (our feet didn’t touch the ground), Golden loop (with a huge loop) and the Tower of horror (with a vertical fall) There was a roller coaster with a log and water. Two students won a stuffed monster and gave it to Jack, the best bus driver ever ! This was a great afternoon for all of us. At the bus we chose to show our acknowledgement to our teachers by thanking them. We got back at the hostel and prepared our suitcases.
Everyone is so sad to leave South Africa. We think it was the best school trip ever, we would like to thank our teachers for their hard work again. Even though our behaviour may have been foolish at times, they never gave up and we loved to learn about South Africa.
Oussama, Alix and Emmanuel.
Special thanks to Sarah for helping out with the typing.