#B2B2017: Caine Grogan Blog

My journey so far has went above and beyond the expectations which I had for myself but also the team as a whole. The group session tonight before we left really set the tone for the journey which we would be undertaking. The buzz the whole team had when we landed in Cape Town was electric, the 6-hour drive to George in the darkness with music playing really give me time to think about what I want to achieve out here and what I want to discover about myself. Going into the townships for the first time was amazing all of the kids running around wanting to play, having fun and just wanting love and affection. One kid stood out from all the rest for me that’s probably because he hit everyone in our team at least 3 times and was just running about going mad. His name is Puta and since we first got talking he’s just stuck with me, playing rugby with each other, putting him on my shoulders, just getting to know him and spend time with him has been a privilege. I realised how much I meant to him when we rocked up on day 2 and he was over to the combi calling my name. Another day when he wasn’t there one of his friends said “That’s Puta’s one” that made me so happy knowing that even the other kids had known we had a connection. On Wednesday the lads went to the jail, we didn’t know where we were going, so we were completely unprepared for it. We gathered a rope, football and 2 bottles of water out of the bus and made do. To date it is one of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced as we broke into small groups and I was with 10 prisoners, they told me all about their lives and how they got caught up in crime. To be honest my heart did go out to some of them the one thing they have hope for is the future no matter how much of a bad place they are in, they have faith in God and want to make there wrongs right. Tomorrow is the fun day and probably the last time I will be with Puta, I hope to leave an impact on his life as I’ve seen it can be done with the relationships, some people from previous teams have special relationships and that’s what I want to have. What I have learned so far is that time is most valuable thing you can give to someone. Time is something we can never get back making someone smile or laugh and not expecting anything back is one of the greatest feelings you can get. I’ve also learned that tomorrow is never promised to anyone, we have to live in the now and live in the moment. Enjoying ourselves while we can because we never know what is round the corner and give everything your all. I don’t want to be going to bed at night feeling I should have said this or should have done that because we don’t know if tomorrow will be there to say or do it. The biggest impact on me to date has been the 3 church sessions. Listening to the Pastor Dion talk his words of wisdom about life he has really had a positive impact on my time in SA so far now I will be reflecting and questioning myself about my purpose in life and what I have to offer. I think doing this is critical in discovering who I am as a person and what I want to be remembered for. One of my goals was to develop better leadership skills and my time in the jail made me realise that I can be an effective leader. My thought now is that if I can get a group of prisoners to open up about their life story’s and instruct them to play games etc, I can do anything now. Wee Puta will leave an impact on me when I leave Blanco but I am trying not to think of that, I am just going cherish every moment I have with the young gun and live in the now. The B2B experience has been a once in a life time opportunity and we are near half way done. I’ve been thinking a lot of home and what I’ve learned over here how I can implement it back in Belfast. Previous to this I was always worried about pleasing everyone. Constantly thinking what others thought of me, now I have realised that you can’t please everyone and do what makes you happy because at the end of the day the only voice that can put you down is the voice inside your own head. A positive mind set and surrounding yourself with happy people will bring you happiness. I’ve also been thinking a lot about my family and how much I take them for granted, especially my parents, brother and grandmother. This trip has made me realise how much I need to be more appreciative towards them. “Take risks if you win you will be happy if you lose you will be wise tomorrow is never promised don’t be going to sleep with any regrets of what you should off done.” 

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