#B2B2019: Luighseach Mc Master Blog

My journey so far has been a roller-coaster in the best way. Before South Africa I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to take of my mask and be the real me, but that all changed in our last session before we left and it’s a session I’ll never forget. When we first arrived in Blanco I had so many mixed emotions and when I first stepped of the combi I knew this journey was going to be something special and one I’d never forget. On our first day we went and seen how some of the people in Blanco where living. It’s so heart breaking to see how bad the conditions are, I can’t even believe that its allowed to be that way. When we see the kids running about with smiles on their faces from ear to ear it just makes you think, “how can these kids be so happy with nothing?” When we met the kids for the first time I found it hard to interact with them because I was terrified that the language barrier was going to be difficult to overcome. The next thing I knew I had 6 girls playing with my hair, talking about their school life and personal life. I’ve had so many highlights if I’m being honest but the ones that stand out for me is when we went to the golden valley crèche the kids were just running about and all laughing and having fun but I met this one we boy who had been grumping from we went into the creche. When we went inside I sat on the floor and was trying to talk to the boy and the next thing I knew he crawled onto my knee and just sat there and hugged me, I fed him his lunch and half way through it he feel asleep and at that point I started to think about the life that this boy was living. I started to think about was getting treated right and all these thoughts went through my head at once then I really started to think about everything that I’ve seen. My other highlight would have to be the elephants. It was just amazing to learn about them and see how they are cared for. Being able to walk with their trunk in your hand is such an unreal real experience that I will always remember. I think the biggest thing I’ve learnt so far is that love has no language and if something is supposed to be, it will be. I think at this age we all take so much for granted such as education, love and time and we shouldn’t because we don’t know what tomorrow brings. When I go back home I want to spend more time with my family and close friends. Personally since I’ve been here I’ve found a new confident side of me that will be coming back home with me. How is the feeling amongst the team….. The team is phenomenal, everyone is taking real time to get to know each other better and when you need that shoulder to cry on you know that the person next to you is someone you can trust and talk to if you need a we pick me up. I didn’t think that I was going to feel so proud to be part of something so big and this team has just taken it to the next level. How does SA differ from Belfast….. The difference’s I’ve seen between South Africa and Belfast would be the way people live in the townships . The people don’t have running water in their houses so they have to fetch it themselves. They also don’t have a toilet in the house, so there is a community toilet. When you drive 5 minutes away you see these big rich houses with everything they need but won’t stop to help the others in community’s around them. But back home you get everything handed to you on a sliver plate. So you find that a lot of the women here would heavily abuse drugs and alcohol when pregnant so they can get more money from the government. What learning will you take home with you….. I think the biggest thing for me that I’ll be taking home is how this place has had such an impact on me in such a small amount of time. It has taught me how to build real relationships, be the real me and take my mask off. I’ve also pushed myself to overcome the challenge’s put in front of me. This trip so far has gone above and beyond for. It definitely is not what I thought it was going to be and I’m so excited to see what the rest of the program has for us. 

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