The University of Iowa

In the news: "I bless the rains down in Africa..."

August 8th, 2018

After work, I enjoy walking down to the beach and enjoying the waves up close and personal. It will be hard to leave this beautifully diverse city in 10 days!


By Aida Mengistu (Cape Town Summer - Internship), IES Abroad

Prior to coming to Cape Town, myself and others were conflicted about the impact of the water crisis in South Africa. I didn’t know anything other than what mainstream media in the States was broadcasting and an email from the IES program. The news would say, “Severe water crisis in South Africa…Dams nearly drained of fresh water.” So on and so forth. I couldn't help but think, should I really go abroad during this time of crisis?

As I have been here for over a month now, I can tell you that there is an extreme miscommunication with mainstream media and the reality of the situation. Yes, water is limited compared to previous times in South Africa, but water has not completely disappeared or evaporated! Whether you’re in a store, restaurant, hotel, hiking, the bathroom, or driving, you will find a reminder notice of the current water situation and ways to be more efficient with your daily usage. This may be through the use of waterless sanitizer, less toilet flushes, less water available through the toilet or sink, shorter showers, reuse of water, etc. I find this as a very effective campaign strategy to continuously remind everyone – wherever they may be – to be mindful.

My experience with the water shortage has not affected my time in Cape Town, South Africa in any way. If anything, I have grown more conscious, active, and moderate in my usage and behavior. It's so important to have these cross-cultural experiences for further personal growth and understanding.