#B2B2019: Tori-Ann Blog

Before I got my place on the B2B team I used to watch a new team going to South Africa every year and each time I couldn’t help but think about myself being there in SA and thinking how it would feel to be chosen for the team. It was surreal to even think about and now I can finally say it has happened which makes me feel proud and ecstatic but also overwhelmed. B2B can be hard at times if any of the team are feeling down, but we are always motivated and ready to tackle any obstacles that come our way with a positive mindset. One video in particular that I watched somebody mentioned going to Blanco not only to change the people in Blanco’s lives, but their own. This really stood out to me because it relates to how I feel, I want to make a positive difference to the kid’s lives and make them see how wanted and important they are and make them feel happy for at least even a minute of their day. However I also want to gain personal development on this journey to make me feel more confident in myself as well as around others because I think I am quite shy and introverted. I feel as though I am achieving personal development because during debriefs I have been opening up to my team more and taking off my mask. The final session of B2B was the beginning of our Africa journey. Only at this point did I start to truthfully take my mask down and show my true self to the team which I am proud of. I have started to build relationships with the children in the townships, two in particular. Every time we drive toward the field I immediately look out for Niecy and Nicky; and every time they do the same with me. The feeling is so surreal because before I came to Africa I didn’t think I would build any strong bonds with the children, but now I can’t wait to strengthen the bond between Niecy and Nicky. I feel like the team didn’t properly click until we got to the R-City Cafe at 7:30AM on Wednesday morning to leave for Africa. Ever since then everybody in the team has developed individual friendships with each other in their own time which makes the bond between the whole group feel stronger than ever because each person feels as though they don’t have to keep their guards up. I have been developing more friendships within the group which is important to me because it makes me feel a sense of security when I am here in Africa. Being in South Africa has helped me develop an understanding of what it’s like in a different lifestyle other than my own, where people don’t take things for granted. In South Africa the children appreciate little things like showing them the slightest sign of affection because they don’t get it in their lives very often. Most people back home have expectations of luxury things like phones and new clothes all the time, while these people’s expectations are so low and they would be grateful for even a hand shake. It is so special to be in South Africa and see a whole new perspective of life and to be able to come back and tell some stories like previous B2B members, I would also say Africa has changed me personally because I can now say I am conquering goals and stepping out of my comfort zone. Being in R-City previously has already made me step way out of my comfort zone with the simplest things like having a conversation with someone because of how shy I am (or was). South Africa has made me forget about my comfort zone all together because I feel comfortable in the team and also around the children. I don’t usually like change, however this change is a good change and it is beneficial to me which Is why I am grateful for this opportunity of a lifetime that I will never forget. Anybody would be so lucky to experience this journey. 

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