BLANCO… first day hitting the township and the team was feeling excited but at the same time a bit nervous on what was going to happen throughout the day ahead. Everyone had a good buzz about them as we drove into Golden Valley. Before hitting the township everyone in the group had a picture painted in their head on what it was going to be like, when we arrived i think it is safe to say the picture they had painted in there heads had changed completely!
When the team entered at the township we got split up into two groups, 6 of the group were working down at Stella's, digging up the foundations for them to grow vegetables which would be given out around the community. The other 6 members were working at Golden Valley, where the field is, all the kids of the township would play there and make their own fun with whatever they could find. Walking to the field was quite uncomfortable as some of the team felt the sense that they were not welcomed but during the day everything changed and relationships were built, that for us was inspirational. The team worked on cleaning up and removing anything that looked dangerous, we tackled it and made sure that it became a safer environment for the kids that would play there. There was rubbish, broken objects and smashed glass on the floor with kids running about who were wearing no shoes on there feet, us witnessing something like this was heartbreaking.
Before heading out to Blanco, I myself had a weird feeling, it was a feeling that I've never felt before and i don't think i will again in my life. During the journey to Blanco i was quiet, thinking a lot on what I'm going into, what will happen and what my emotions were going to be like. As the combie was travelling through the township to Stella's place people were waving, smiling and there faces were priceless. One thing that stood out to me was seeing the people that were ill, in terms of not eating, lack of hydration and not living in a safe or clean environment or whatever the story may be. The thing that got to me most was the kids, looking at how they are living and hearing some of the stories they have: they don't get washed really, they have no shoes to put on everyday and they may not eat or get to sleep much. When thinking about this it made me feel confused, how people can live like this? how there is no one out there that can change whats happening in these communities? All this made me compare to things in my life and the things i have in it is unbelievable in comparison.
Over the past two days I've learnt a lot about myself and today, I've got a good idea of what goes on in Africa. The past year my confidence has not been the best, as days pass in Africa my confidence is growing and that is because of the challenges i face and there is a great bond and support within the team. Out here in Africa i have took a leadership role by taking part in many activities for example when we visited the church i took myself out of my comfort zone, i was dancing and having a good time with the people from the community and they made me feel welcome and comfortable. Also in Blanco today i pushed myself further by building relationships with many people and one kid in particular called Eva. Putting a smile on Eva's face was hard and it took me time but I succeeded with it, it makes me feel a lot better about myself knowing I'm helping others in need. It was important to me to make Eva smile because all the other kids seemed happy and to be having fun but Eva sort of walked about by herself and i seen that, and felt the need to do something about that. Also while I was spending time with Eva, a young lad approached me with a note book asking me to sign my name on it but he had handed me a book on a particular page with a past experience he had written in his book. He had wrote about his mother passing away when he was 10 years old. I felt upset about this, it took me back because it was unexpected. This is one story of many of the kids that be in Blanco, it is impossible to imagine the many others and what lies behind the smiles that we see from them.
I've so much to give to Africa but most importantly Africa has a lot more to give to me from the people walking up and down the street, the kids that I've helped and the leadership role I've taken in helping put a smile on their face giving them the comfort that they need and really want. The next few days in Africa i am expecting a lot more to happen, a lot more relationships to be built and work to be put into the community from myself and the team. So far Africa has went over and above anything that anyone thought…
Helping others, is helping yourself!!