Now that I am in South Africa I understand what people mean when they say “you won’t understand until you get there”. This is so true! You don’t realise how bad the standards of living are until you are walking through the townships and having to ignore the disgusting smells, while seeing the small shacks made from wood and tin with most not even having a toilet.
My Africa experience so far has been incredible and I know there is still a lot more lying ahead. So far I have worked with the elderly in a home, small children aged 2-5 in a creche and in the townships where I have met some of the most amazing and happy kids. These kids have nothing and still manage to have fun they smile from ear to ear the entire day. Whilst working in the creche I came across a child called Lila. When I seen Lila at first she didn’t look like the happiest child in the place therefore I challenged myself to engage with her and have some fun. It didn’t take long before she was laughing and smiling with me and even though she didn’t speak a word of English it didn’t stop us from making each other laugh. Watching her smile and enjoy herself while I lift her up was just an amazing image that I won’t forget.
Being in the townships has been a big eye opener for me. How much the kids trust you to be able to run and jump into your arms or just walk over to have a conversation is just so out of the ordinary as it’s not something that would happen back home. Walking about to see the kids with no shoes and ripped clothes really hits home. It makes me think that you really don’t need the latest shoes or the most expensive clothes to be happy as these kids are a prime example of it.
So far I’ve experienced 100 different emotions both happy and sad. Whilst being in the township your having the best time the kids just hear the music and there straight up ready for a dance but then leaving you see how much the kids still want to have you there as most of them won’t get this much affection in their homes. I really want to take everything I’ve learnt over here and bring it back home. I realised how much love, attention and time I can give these kids who I don’t no, yet I have two sisters back home who I hardly have the time of day for. Over here how also made me realise how much I take for granted, what I have learnt here is to appreciate what I have as the people over here would do anything to have what we have back home.
Before coming to Africa I came across the quote “the best things in life are not things, they are moments” and being here has showed me how true this is. This journey has been filled with some unbelievable moments and I know that even when I leave to go home that’s not the end of my journey.