#B2B2015: Gerard Magee Blog


Day Eight

Well here we are day eight in George and a good day it has been. We were quite surprised this morning when we were told we were going to an Elephant sanctuary. The weather wasn't the best but there was nothing we could really do about that but anyway the drive to the Elephant sanctuary was about an hour and a half and it gave me a lot of time to reflect on my past couple of days. Especially the days i spent in Blanco but we’ll get to that later on, at the start i wasn't really looking forward to it but when i got to the sanctuary i started getting excited, i was just thinking to myself not many people would get to experience this. When we arrived at the sanctuary we went into a room where we were showed a short film on the history of elephants and after that we got on a trailer to go see the elephants, we got to feed them which was a great experience because lets be honest not many people say they have fed an elephant but i have to say the highlight of my day was when Uel kicked elephant dung over Brian it was just so funny.

Today was different compared to the last couple of days, it just felt different as if there was no buzz because we weren't going to be in Blanco and we weren't going to be seeing any of the kids faces. The first four days in Blanco were just so hard to explain the only word i could use to really describe it would be indescribable, it was just unreal. You just go through so many emotions. I will never forget my first experience in Blanco, we were driving into Golden Valley and as soon as we turned into Stella’s street all the kids started running behind the Combie. I just got goosebumps straight away. I couldn't describe the feeling I got from it. When i got out of the Combie, I felt very weird about being in the township because i didn't know my way around it and i felt as if i wasn't wanted there but that thought changed as soon as i walked down Stella’s street everyone was just saying hello and waving at you it went from being uncomfortable to being welcomed in a matter of minutes. But as the day went on it just got better, i met this young girl called Alyshama and straight away i knew there was an attachment, she just came straight to me and wanted up in my arms, the feeling i got when i picked her up was just amazing it felt so good and her smile was just amazing you could just see the happiness in her face. We played games with the kids throughout the day and they were just so glad that we were there for them they were buzzing the whole day and they just kept asking if we were coming back tomorrow.

The second day in the township was probably my best day in Africa so far as soon as we arrived outside Stella’s house there was a bunch of kids just waiting for us and it felt brilliant to know that they were waiting for us because we made them so happy the day before but the thing that made my day was that Alyshama was waiting at the gate for me. As soon as i seen her i was just so happy, it was just mad to think that i knew this girl not even 8 hours and i had all ready made an impact on her life, it just felt so good and i just knew that i had made a friendship that i would never forget. I spent most of the day with Alyshama and the bond i made with her was just amazing, it was tough to find out stuff about her because of the language barrier but i got one of the kids who knew a bit of english and Grace to translate for me and eventually i got to know a bit more about her.

The one experience i will remember from the time i spent in the township was our third day, one of the most emotional days for me. We did a food drop in the morning and while we where doing it i said to Paul and Sam that i wanted to deliver a meal. When i went to do my one i didn't know what to expect, me and Paul went to the door and as soon as the door opened i was just shocked…there was an elderly woman lying on a bed, she only had one leg, the thing that really got to me was the conditions she was living in, there was an old bed with a bucket next to it with urine in it and a table thats all that was in the whole shack i felt so emotional seeing this. That image will stay with me the rest of my life and what she said next just made me so sad,she told us that she used to be an alcoholic and that her family don't visit her anymore, in a way they abandoned her and nobody would bring her food except for Stella. This just really made me angry i was just thinking about my own granny and how anybody could leave someone in there family like that, we spoke to her for a while and then she wanted to say a prayer during the prayer i just busted into tears as it just kept playing on my mind how anyone could leave someone like that in them living conditions. Still to this day, it is playing in my head but as i left her house i was feeling sad but happy as well because i knew that i had gave that woman food and brought a smile to her face, it seriously made me really see how much i take for granted back home, like that woman is living in those conditions and just a meal brought the biggest smile to her face and she couldn't thank us enough but back home we wouldn't really think twice about somebody giving us a meal. Overall, my time in Blanco has been unreal and i wouldn't change it one bit!

I have learnt so many things on this journey already, to be honest i have not only been learning from others but i have been learning from myself and most of all from my second family the B2B team. Out in blanco I've got the chance to develop some skills such as a leadership role, confidence has grown and can hold a one to one conversation easily now and that i am a strong team player. i have pushed myself beyond limits and threw myself at every opportunity, this proves to me that if i set my mind to it, i can achieve anything! The group have given a sense of unity that is amazing and its made me feel so comfortable in opening up and talking to the group with more personal things and my emotions. I found this hard talking about my emotions and held back when i would ever be asked but I’ve worked hard on being more vocal about my emotions and feeling that i will definitely continue to do this when i return home. The thing that stands out to me since i arrived is how happy the people of Blanco actually are they are always smiling and telling you how glad they are to see you it just makes you happy seeing them happy as the saying goes ‘a smile goes miles’ and i really only truly understand this now. I have realised how supportive i am of people and this is something i never really noticed back home and its just so good to see that i bring out the best in some people.

Im looking forward to the jail tomorrow and hopefully learn a bit about the prisoners and find out why they are in there for and what would they like to do when they get out. Im really excited about the session we have planned for the jail as well. I have set my self a short time goal to get to find out a bit more about Alyshama and I'm really hoping to get to do this. If i was to describe my time in Africa i would simply put it as indescribable there are no words really to describe it. You just can't describe it until you do it.

‘When you put good will out there its amazing what can be accomplished’

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