This has been the most bittersweet experience I have ever had the chance to take part in. For years I have watched and seen B2B videos/photos so I thought that I was prepared and ready for whatever was threw at me, I was very wrong. Nobody could ever be ready to see the lives these people live. The people of blanco are so welcoming, they have so much pride for the little that they have. The highlight of my journey has been the unexpected times in the golden valley. These are so special because the range of personalities that you find up there are extraordinary and they all come together as one. The hardest moment of my trip was visiting the old people’s home, the older generations never crossed my mind when I thought of my B2B journey, however when visiting Rosemoor, my heart was touched.
From being selected to be part of the B2B 2020 team I was hoping that I would gain that special relationship with one young person, from being here I have realised that I am lucky enough to have made relationships with a few special people. The first relationship I had made was with a young girl Nu-nisha. This young girl is from the scheme, she is sweet and loving but doesn’t speak much. From the first day I met her in Blanco, she has been by my side as I have with her. I think this makes Nu-nisha happy because this attention is all she needs.
Another relationship I have gained is with 2 year old Tyler, I met Tyler in the golden valley crèche when we visited the red-berry farm. Tyler is a boss baby, he has a chilled vibe about him and doesn’t show much emotion in his face. From first meeting Tyler, although he still has the same persona I have seen him smile, laugh and cry. Mikayla is another relationship I have gained from B2B, she is a crazy, life loving, joker who makes me laugh and reminds me of myself. Meeting these three young people have made me realise that time has no limits as they have impacted me hugely in the short amount of time that I have spent with them.
My team are a close knit group, we know the ins and out of each other. Before heading to Africa it was announced that someone else would be added to the group. This was one of the year ones, Jordan. Jordan has fitted into the team so well and I’m glad that she has been given the opportunity to start her own journey with us and has joined in with the teams journey. Another newbie has been Triona who has also fitted in with the team so well even though she is 10! The team is complete and has been making memory’s that will be cherished forever.
These relationships I have gained are all bittersweet, they are my new friends and I want to be there for them and protect them. I know that when playing with them there’s a time we have to go back to the chalet and they go home. It’s hard not to think about what they go home to, but that’s why I push to have as much fun with them while I have the time to do it.
I was fortunate enough to meet Nu-Nishas family, she has 2 parents and 3 siblings, when finding this out I was buzzing. This complete family gave me the impression that her life was not as hard as some of the other kids who we have met in the township. In the soup kitchen to receive food you must have a cup and a spoon. Nu-nisha has neither but still appears everyday to the soup kitchen hoping for someone to be kind and give her leftovers of a cup. It’s heartbreaking to watch because each time she comes we have sorted her with the cups or spoons but what happens when we leave? My relationship with Tyler makes me feel proud, from seeing this grumpy baby who when I first met him stayed with me, to then seeing him become more comfortable with the B2B team that he has went of and played and laughed with the other children in the crèche. As Tyler is in the crèche I know that his parent/parents have a job and are paying for him to go there, this makes me feel so happy as I know he is supported and well looked after. Mikayla is the one I worry for most when I’m not in the townships, even though she is probably more joyful than most people I know, everytime I see her she has crazy unbrushed hair, holes in her clothes, never a pair of shoes on and always walks to the valley park on her own. Mikayla reminds me of my 4 year old nephew Brooks, the only difference is that brooks is fortunate enough to have a caring family, food all day and fresh clothes. I spend most of my day wondering why these gorgeous, happy young children have been unfortunate enough to be so unlucky to be born into the unthinkable.
On Thursday I had to say goodbye to Tyler. It was a very emotional goodbye from both sides. Both crying as we hugged and waved each other off. I think the hardest part of leaving is knowing that their lives go back to normal. B2B bring a buzz throughout the townships, if you were to drive into the township unexpectedly you wouldn’t see much however when the kids are waiting on B2B the streets are filled, kids running and playing and adults out to see what’s going on. I wish they all knew how amazing Blanco was and is through our eyes, rather than waiting on B2B to make it amazing, because it truly is a special place with brilliant personalities throughout.
Through my relationships I have learnt the hardships that goes on behind closed doors. Back in Belfast I was so blinded to what people really go through, I would have thrown tantrums over having no new clothes, a driving license with no car and a mum who works to much, even thought it’s to provide for her family. When these kids make it through a week with only a few meals to fill them. It has taught me to cherish each and every moment with the people I love, as that is what I have did everyday with these young people and have felt on top of the world for it. Most importantly they have taught me to love, love myself and be myself because there will always be people who support you and love what your doing even if some disagree. I will take home the support of my friends/ team and cherish that they will be with me through anything, happy or sad times and I cannot thank them enough for helping make my journey as brilliant as it has been.
“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like”