From then until now,
Where do I even beginning to sum up my B2B experience? In all honesty, there are no words that could ever comprehend such an experience. The amount of emotions that you face throughout a day in Blanco, and even the amount you face all at once…
My first day in Golden Valley was a complete different experience than the rest of my teams. I was amazed! Everything you think you know, and everything you have seen in the videos and photos, is right there in front of you, it is surreal. I had listened to that many stories about the township and other peoples experiences within the township, I began to build up other peoples expectations in my head and when I got their and experienced it for myself I was so overwhelmed with unknown emotions, the expectations that I had before I couldn't even remember what they were. Everything just seemed to happened so quickly. You feel amazing known that the handwork you put in throughout the year all feels worth it as you are here, your standing right here in Golden Valley, and your buzzing from that high. And then a kid runs up to with no shoes on and rips in their clothes and they latch on to you as if they've known you their whole life. Your emotions and strength as a person be put to the test as your experiencing one extreme to another and being able to process these is a challenge.
I seen a young girl who seems to be around 14/15, she was screaming at a much younger kid, so I ran over to see what was going on. Right away I seen that Amy was a very frustrated young girl, who has a lot of anger in her. Each day in Blanco with Amy I try to build are relationship that little bit stronger, however she can be fairly difficult due to her anger. my relationship with Amy is different than the rest of my teams special relationship within Golden Valley, as they are a good few years younger than Amy and don't seem to be anything other than filled with joy.
Amy is smart, she can make you feel guilty, and can be manipulative towards myself and the smaller kids within the township. This just made me want to know more of why Amy is the way that she is. I recognised from the very beginning that with sticking with Amy it would be difficult and my character would be put to the test. We must fight about 5 times a day, but at the end of the day she still runs up to me and tells me that she loves me and calls me her sister. Which to me it tells me that I’m doing something right. With Amy are bond is quiet strong but she is very reluctant to let me in on a personal level. This is something I hope to achieve before I leave Blanco. But if I can make a slight impact on Amy’s life, I will leave South Africa happy.
Today was different than any of the other days. Today we took a group of young kids out of the township to Redberry Farm were we ran the summer scheme with them. I’d never seen anybody be so happy to do simple activities such as making a lume-band, painting a face, or doing an easter egg hunt in all my life. These little things that we take for granted back home - but here, today will be a day that these kids will never forget. The excitement on these kids face to even be out of Golden Valley for a few hours was unbelievable. They be so grateful for something so simple as sitting down and colouring in with them. One thing I have realised from this trip is that time is the most precious thing that you can give to someone.
The feeling of pride, and love you get by watching the kids being so happy and knowing that it is down to myself and the rest of the team. Words couldn't describe the buzz you get from watching them jumping around and having the best of time, you are literally being high on life. We have given some of these kids an escape from issues of their personal lives for a few hours and allowed them to be care free kids.
Also today on the farm Joe had called me over after picking the kids up and told me Amy gave him a letter to pass on to me, in the letter she apologises for her anger towards me and she expresses how much I mean to her and that she loves me. To hear that just gives you that extra bit of motivation to be persistent with the likes of Amy because they are the kids that need the attention.
When the young kids had been dropped back to the township we picked up the teenagers, otherwise known as the ‘Youth’ over the past few weeks we have been getting to know these teenagers on personal level, through the work of running some sessions with them. Myself and the rest of the group were really looking forward to seeing them at the beach to just chill out. I think they enjoyed it a lot as the beach is not somewhere they get to go to an awful lot. The rewarding feeling you get from the teenagers is no less of a reward than the one you get from the smaller kids. One of the guys was so happy that he put his jeans on in-side-out, but he didn't even care because he was happy, why should he let what anyone else's thoughts affect him. I think that we can learn a lot from these kids, they have such great ambition of what they want to get out of life. The majority of them aim to be a doctor, they don't see coming from a township with barely any money as an issue, or even the fact that some of them leave school at 15. I think these kids and the people of Blanco have an awful lot that they could teach us, i just wish we had more time to do so.
Over all I think that the Belfast 2 Blanco programme is one of the best, if not the best programme created for young people like myself. On this journey I have became my own person, I am able to express my emotions openly and realise that I shouldn't care what others think of me whilst doing so. I have also noticed that I am now a million times more independent and realise that I can do things for myself, I don’t need to rely on my parents all of the time, that I am capable of doing most things for myself. I also have been given the opportunity to develop my leadership and communication skills in my time here. But most of all I have been able to discover the young woman I am surely becoming, the trip to SA isn't just about helping the kids out here. They are the ones who help us and make the biggest impact on our life.
- “The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Because when you give someone your time your giving a portion of your life that you will never get back.”