#B2B2019: Courtney Walsh Blog

“Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable” The B2B experience has been inspiring overall in every way possible. Over the last 15 days I have built relationships with people in townships both the kids and also the R-city Blanco team. The team that I travelled to South Africa with I have grown a lot closer with and formed real friendships When I first started the B2B group I always thought that I was alone but that most definitely changed as we all transformed into a family which made my B2B experience a whole lot better. This helped me become my real self and show love and emotion around them. On my first day travelling into George I was feeling lots of different emotions but mainly fear because I didn’t know what to expect from the journey that was in front of me. When we first arrived we went to the townships where we got a tour and seen how the people lived and what conditions they had to face. This was an eye opening experience because you wouldn’t expect to ever see someone actually living in the way that they do. The days that followed this were amazing and we were always doing things that were having an impact on other people which made me feel rewarding, but those people were also having an impact on me. The things that we were doing that was impacting people were the fun day, red berry farm, soup kitchen, packing up packets of food to give to them and just spending time in general with them in the townships. On the Saturday we got there, I went into the scheme and a group of 3 girls came up to me. When they came up I started a relationship with one who was called Mea, her smile was amazing and it was never off her face no matter what. I grew to learn what she had been through over the last few weeks which was horrible although it made me think of back home and how I would feel if it was one of my family members that went through it. The relationship developed in the township as the days went on by just spending time with her and showing her the love that she maybe wouldn’t get at home. When we left on the Sunday it was hard for me to be able to walk away known what she may be going back to at the house. I felt so emotional when I left and got on to the combi. I couldn’t stop crying while thinking about not just her but other kids which were in the township in the same conditions One of my main stand out moments for me would be the elderly home which we visited. When we arrived I didn’t really know what to do or interact with anyone. I then spoke to a women called Diana which was an inspiration to me and filled my heart up, when I spoke to her my heart felt broke, I teared up multiple times as I only spoke to her for a short period of time and she appreciated it so much. Speaking to her it made me think of back home and how I don’t appreciate my granny and granda enough and that I should be making more time to spend with them. The experience couldn’t of been done without my team as they were a huge part of the journey and the support which was showed throughout the whole 11 days in the township and even after this was amazing. We laughed together and also showed love and affection together. The memories which I have made with the team will never be forgot, from the combis which play a huge part in the B2B experience , to the debriefs were you share your feelings and thoughts from the day all together. The debriefs are a huge part of the experience. These are a huge part of the journey because everything that you are feeling on that day is bottled up and it all can be spoke about in the debrief. They are also a huge part because during them the team mates are saying positive things about you and you are saying positive things about them, which lifts up the mood of the whole group and shows the team how well we are actually doing together. The biggest challenge which I faced over the last 11 days in Blanco was at the crèche. I felt this was the hardest part as I didn’t know how to handle kids at such a young age who didn’t speak English. To overcome this challenge I had to push myself to interact in different ways such as facial expressions, body language and even interaction with the teachers. The outcome of overcoming challenge was rewarding as I felt like I had to push myself out of my comfort zone in a way I’m not use to back home and from this I took a lot of learning from. I will take home that I should be more grateful for my family and mainly my grandparents. I think that I need to spend more time with them as I wouldn’t see them as much as I should. The time I spent with the kids in Blanco really made me think how important showing someone the time and affection can mean to them. For me I think the biggest difference from Belfast to South Africa is the living conditions which people like in and the amount of poverty which there is. I also think that the people in general are much more happier for what they have in George that what they are in Belfast as they wouldn’t be as grateful as the people back in Belfast. “Sometimes you will never know the true value of the moment until it becomes a memory” 

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