#B2B2022: Abbi Carmichael Blog

Well now my South Africa journey has sadly came to an end, I am truly devastated but so thankful that I got to have the most amazing once in a life time experience. To say the expectations that I had for Blanco were …… , blanco really took me by surprise. Especially the fact that every single person who lived there always had a huge smile on their face from ear to ear and seeing this just made me feel as if I had already achieved making someone’s day that little bit better. Also I never ever heard anyone from blanco complain about a thing, this made me realise that I should be so much more appreciative back home and be thankful for what I’ve got because there’s people that have as little as no shoes on their feet and have the biggest smiles.

I faced a lot of challenges whilst on this journey but there was a few that stood out to me, such as being away from my family for 18 days that was the longest I’ve ever been away from them and even though it was tough it made me become that wee bit more mature and grown up. On the first day when Aunt Rose took us on a tour around the scheme and took us to some peoples houses. When aunt Rose took us to the first house she told us that there was 50 people living in this house and the woman who owned the house was very ill, when we looked in from the front door you could see all her medication lined up on the table next to the sofa with her duvet and pillows. It was so hard seeing this is the way this woman had to live because if we were as ill as her back home we would be in a room of our own with a nice comfy bed to rest so that we could get better soon. Another challenge was when we were in the valley and sharleo came up to me and said that Amira’s mummy Elewinskia asked me to get her some nappies in the shop because she had none left for her this just completely broke my heart. Also when I gave Elewinskia the nappies for Amira she was so thankful and Amira put her arms straight out to me. This just made my heart so full.

A few Highlights would be every morning when we were driving into the Scheme or Valley the kids came out of nowhere shouting “B2B” or “Alan” when I seen this it made me so excited to see the children as they were so excited to see us. Another highlight would be every time B2B arrived to the scheme there was always my three girls Bella, Clarencha and Keisha were always waiting on me bouncing out of my combi with the biggest smile on my face and the best vibe about me. When I seen these girls they wrapped their arms round me tighter every time and then took my hands and just loved the attention, love and affection I was providing to them. It was the littlest of things such as letting them play with my hair and giving them a bottle of water which went round the three of them they appreciated. Also getting to know them that little bit more by asking a few questions such as do they have siblings or did they have a good day at school made them feel so loved. Also when they found out that I was a dancer and loved doing cartwheels, handstands and a few other tricks they were joining in with me and were so involved in every activity that they wanted to join in with. Another highlight would be in the valley when everyone was up playing or dancing with the children. It then turned into a dance off and a few of the older African children definitely showed us up. Daniella was the sassiest as she had the facial expressions and she kept giving me these looks whilst dancing to say that she was way better and that they were definitely going to win this battle. This was again one of the first days and I didn’t even know Daniella and she wasn’t a bit shy from this she just got closer to me as the days went on.

Whilst I was in Africa I made a few wee connections with some of the children. These connections just continued to grow everyday and I loved seeing them and their big smiles when I was in the valley and scheme. I made a connection with two girls Clarencha and Bella. These two girls had a huge smile every time they seen me and they absolutely loved when they seen the combis pull up. They were also so appreciative of everything, down to the last bit of water in my water bottle or a small bar of chocolate they always said thank you and shared it between them even if it was only something small. When you hear the saying ‘ sharing is caring’ it really is true you never see one of them eating or drinking something without the other, they were always so thoughtful of each other. Bella and clarencha also loved playing with my hair every time I seen them and we were just chilling they were constantly touching my hair, plaiting it and brushing it with my hairbrush and they were so gentle whilst playing with it. In the valley I made a connection with Marciano and Seygan, these two boys were so shy and bearly spoke but then they came out of their wee shells and when I got to know them more and found out they both speak English they never stopped talking and always wanted to play. Also in the valley I made a connection with Amira, Amira is 3 years old. She made me become more proud everyday, even though she bearly spoke one word she was always laughing and smiling. When I went to get her from her house she put her arms straight out to me and jumped into my arms. On my last day when I had to give Amira back to her mummy she broke her heart, this made me realise that she really did understand that I was going home and won’t see her for a long period of time. This showed me the love she had for me and the love and affection I give to her really made her the happiest wee girl ever. Leaving all these children was the most heartbreaking thing ever, every single one of them cried their heart out and told me they loved me. I’ll never get to experience that feeling again.

Being surrounded by children that just wanted a hug, smile or even a small conversation made me become so much more confident within myself. They were the ones that made my South Africa journey the best journey anyone could ever ask for and impacted it hugely. Being in SA made me be the better version of myself and let all my guards down, not caring what anyone thinks of me and not worrying what others are doing. I feel Africa made me become much more independent in life in general.

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart and on your body. Hopefully you leave something good behind.”

“The most beautiful things in life aren’t just things. They’re peoples, places, memories and moments, smiles and laughter”

I feel these quotes explain how much of a big impact South Africa has had on me as a person. Blanco will forever hold a special place in my heart and I’ve made memories and friends to last a lifetime and I couldn’t be more thankful for it.

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