“Give. But don’t allow yourself to be used Love. But don’t allow your heart to be abused Trust. But don’t be native Listen. But don’t lose your own voice.” In Africa there is not a day you could possibly wake up and not be exceptionally over whelmed. I ask myself constantly ‘what today has to offer’. Trying to sleep at night after the debrief sessions and process your thoughts of the day, there is no vibe like it. The support, happiness and care this group has for one another is indescribable every individual is a best friend to me. My journey so far has been challenging, pressurising and very successful. I have already within the 5 days of being in Blanco accomplished unbreakable relationships not only within my group but outside it, with children from The Scheme, Golden Valley and The Square and also the elderly in the Old Folks home. Each of these places have their individual impact upon me; for example, being with the children no one could possibly wipe the smile of my face. In the morning them sprinting towards the combi to see us arrive until we are leaving and they are trying to jump into the combi and running along the side of the combi for as long and far as they can to come home with us. These kids are nothing like the children back home. At home there is no sense of community trying to explain to the children, the last time I was in my next door neighbours house was years ago, trying to this was like trying to explain rocket science, it just doesn’t happen. For Belfast to be such a beautiful and wonderful place we don’t even appreciate the people who we have in it. The conditions which the children live through in Africa daily is horrendous, from having glass in their feet to not getting food and water as much as they need it. The South African children prove they are the most sharing and caring people I have ever met, learning from their attitude is so empowering. The elderly we met in the home has had the largest impact upon my experience in Africa so far. The emotions and heart break noticing how they are spending the remainder of their life’s is something I will never forget. Flies crawling through their food and being strapped to chairs, were some of the conditions I witnessed, it was heart breaking and has made me realise a lot for when I get home. Every single day there is something new to learn. I have learnt an awful lot within myself. I have learnt that I am an energetic and confident young person. I am very inclusive and would rather have a smile on someone else’s face rather than my own. Knowing that I have made someone else happy is the biggest achievement of all. I have also learnt to be more considerate and appreciative of everything I have. In South Africa you come to realise that you are not making a difference to other lives they are evolving ours, we are just making them happy in the moment which they are living in. The impact South Africa has had on me is nothing short of amazing. The positivity I am feeling every day is unreal, and I am going to continue the rest of my journey with this attitude. From my experience in South Africa so far I will be bringing home with me nothing but positivity. I will enhance the skills which shape my personality already and what I can honestly say I am proud of. Coming home I will most definitely not be taking the people who surround me for granted. The things which I am bought and given will be cherished, along with the emotions which are shared towards me. I also know coming home I will have no negativity within me or around me as how I feel right now is an indescribable emotion which I never want to end. Until you come here you will never be able to understand the feeling, vibes and the simple happiness which everyone should have. I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart I never want to leave this place and coming home will be a disaster! As living here with the happiest people is the most pleasing thing in this world and is what I would adore to do for the rest of my life. “Live in the moment, but take steps forward never go back nor look back as sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life; tip toe if you must but ALWAYS take the step”.