#B2B2018: Shonagh Toner Blog

Shonagh Toner Blog

“Don’t stop learning because life never stops teaching” This quote explains a lot for me and my journey in blanco because it has just been breathtaking!

Today we hosted a funday for both communities in Blanco, Golden Valley and the Scheme. This brought a lot of excitement for the children but also the group because we were all buzzing to see the kids again and especially the ones we had made relationships with. Driving towards the field I felt like a celebrity because all I could hear was kids shout “B2B” and it was polluted in red tops. So today was filled with bouncy castles, BBQ, football, face painting, a dj, dancing and lots more. There was so many smiles from ear to ear from everyone who was on the field today. I really enjoyed dancing and being my true self except for the part I got swung from my backpack by these 6 kids who stood in a circle finding this the funniest thing ever as I was screaming for my team members to help but all they could do was laugh.

Later on in the evening we ran Blancos got talent in the church hall. All I can say is wow,the community spirit here is just unreal. The support and compassion they show each other makes me think of back home and how our community spirit is nothing compared to this. Happiness is key here! Everyone got involved and it was a smashing night.

The past few days I have built a strong relationship with a lady called Carla. She is an inspiring and respected woman of Golden Valley. She has impacted me to go home and work more in my community because the work and time she has for people brings happiness to all. She is truely a role model for our group and her children at home.

I have also made a strong connection with a boy called sidino but he likes to be called Dino, he is 10 years old. He is the most gentle and timid child I have ever came across but when he is with me he shows me love and affection, his smile makes me feel humble and warm. The one thing I admire the most about him is his love for his cousin Naise. He is always hugging and telling her she is beautiful. They have opened there arms to let me be apart of there special relationship and this has learnt me to be more excepting of others around me. When I walked with Dino holding my hand I took a step back,reflected and watched my team and the speaker sang “there’s no place I’d rather be in this world” and this is completely true. With Dino I feel like a child again. Meeting him I finally get why this place makes people feel very overwhelmed because of the affection that we receive from the kids. The little things like hugs means the most to them. At the park in valley they found it so fun to run up and down a small slope beside the wall that divides the rich from the poor. This taught me that all the materialist things can be took away at any time but the happiness in yourself will always stay no matter what!

Another special bond I have formed is with a girl called Sherrie,she is only 2 years old and can’t afford to attend the crèche in Golden Valley. On the first day I say her through the fence and she came running down and I ran to her, she was full of laughter and love. We all call her the intruder because each time I have been in the crèche she comes through the railings to me. What really surprised me was when we fed her she could only eat three bites of food and then fell asleep in sophie’s arms. This is shocking as her stomach must not of been able to handle much as she does not really eat. This made me very emotional and taken back.

I only have 2 days left in the townships with the children and I am dreading leaving them behind, even though it is the most happiest place I cannot help but worry and over think of what is going to come next for all the children here as they live very hard lives. Coming here I did not think I had a mask up at all but I have been proven wrong. I have learnt who I truly am and I am proud of myself for all the hard work I have put in. I can really say I have gave South Africa my all and I am reaping the rewards so far, I also hope when I go home I give my all in everything I do.

“Life’s about being real,being humble,being strong and being able to touch the lives of others”

Shonagh Toner

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