#B2B2017: Gary Carson Blog

My journey started to feel real when the group met up for our last group session before we started the 36 hours of travelling from Dublin to George. From the day I stepped foot in Blanco I knew this was a special place. Our first day in Blanco was in the Scheme Township. When we were driving into the Scheme the group was filled with excitement and joy to have finally made it to South Africa. I didn’t know what to expect from hearing all stories from groups in the past but it was now my journey to experience it for myself. The group got of the combis at Aunt Abiel and Uncle Charlies house to be told we were going to their local church. This church was not like any church back home and if it was I would be there every week without a doubt. This church was unreal, full of dancing and singing. It was also an educational church service. When the church service was over we went back to Aunt Abiel and Uncle Charlies house to get an insight of what the Scheme Township was like and a tour of the Scheme. Not one person in the team held back on anything and I went and give it my all from the very start. From walking from their home more and more kids kept coming out of nowhere. This was a special moment because I started to make a connection with a couple of kids who have lived in the township their whole life. Particular I made a connection with a young boy called Kyle. This was brilliant for me to make a quick connection with the young boy because back home I don’t really get the chance to spend time with young kids. The next day we went up to the Valley. At the start it was a real eye opener because of the wall that separates the rich and the poor. I was walking around by myself just taking it in that how happy all the kids are with the things they have, that is basically nothing. While I was walking around I felt someone jumping on my back, this was a little girl called Kasey-lee. From then I have built a very strong and positive relationship with the young girl. All Kasey-lee wanted was to be lifted and for me to spend time with her. A very special moment that stands out for me is just seeing a smile on all the kids faces within the Scheme and the Valley. This just shows how spending time with the kids can have a huge positive impact on their lives. At this moment I felt a sense of achievement after the 3 hard years of work through R-City. This hit me hard that I am finally here in South Africa! What I have learnt from being in Blanco is tomorrow is not promised to anyone and to just give it my all for everything I do in life. I have also learnt to appreciate everything my family does for me because looking at the life style of the people in Blanco has empowered me to change and start appreciating things more. By me putting a smile on a kids face they are also doing the complete opposite by putting a smile on mine. My personal journey to South Africa has impacted me in many different ways. From day 1 in Blanco I feel I have given it my all in everything I have done by challenging myself to make the most out of the trip. I feel I have done myself and my family proud by coming to South Africa and knowing my family are proud is the best feeling in the world. Blanco is just a very special place! One thing I will take home from this journey to South Africa is to spend a lot more time with my family and make the most of the time I have with them. From playing with kids in Blanco and by putting a smile on their faces I feel I will be a lot more confident to do different types of things back home. I need to realise that if I can put a smile and spend time with people in Blanco I will most definitely be able to bring my skills and qualities home with me. “I am not the best, but I am trying my best” 

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