My time in Blanco has been nothing short of spectacular. After 36 long hours of travelling the group finally made it to George. The morning after we got there the group was filled with excitement and were buzzing to find out what was planned for the day ahead. As the group set off in the combis we were told we were heading to the township to meet up with aunt Abiel and uncle Charlie to then head to their local church to get our first taste of Blanco.
The church service was amazing, full of singing and dancing but also a very educational service. No doubt if church was like this back home I would be there every week. From the church we then headed back into the part of the township called the scheme. This was to get a taster of what the township is like and to also start to make a connection with some of the kids that live there. After running about like a headless chicken and bonding with some of the children it finally hit me that I am actually here! After three long years of hard work it has all finally payed off.
The next day we went back into the scheme and met up with the children from the day before in the local park. From the word go I was absolutely buzzing and full of energy. On a personal basis what I was looking to do was simply put a smile on the kids’ faces. Saying that what you don’t realise is by doing this they are actually putting a smile on your own face and making you feel unbelievable.
In the afternoon we set off for golden valley. The only word to describe this place is special. The kids here just appreciate your time so much. It is humbling to say the least. I thought I pushed myself a lot in the valley and didn’t hold back at any stage of the day. I feel this has really set the tone for the rest of the trip. The following day we headed back to the scheme and the day started fantastically as usual. As the day went on it started to feel slightly different and I started to reflect a bit while in the park. I decided to sit down for five minutes and think why do these kids appreciate the little things so much. My main goal now is to try and get a better insight into why. In the afternoon we then visited Thembalethu for the first time. Just like the other two places it was fantastic. Although this place was very different, it was sort of like a youth club in a way but no were near to the extent of back home. These kids were happy enough to just play with a small bit of lego or colour in on a blank page.
What I have learnt so far in Blanco is to not take things for granted. Back home we look at things like being well fed and cleanly clothed as the norm, but being on trips like this really put things in to perspective. We feel we are doing these kids a favour by putting a smile on their faces but they are teaching us a lot more than it seems.
Although we have only spent three days in Blanco this place has impacted me massively. From day one I feel I have given it my all and have genuinely done myself proud. It has made me reflect a lot about back home and how family mean so much to me. There is no other way to explain the impact other than special.
What I will take home with me from the experience is I have to spend more time with my family. In particular, my wee sister. This is because I have been thinking if I can do it with kids, I don’t know from the other side of the world why can’t I do it with my own family. I will also take home with me to believe in myself more. I need to start realising the potential I have and to put it into practice.
“Don’t stop when you are tired, stop when you are done.”