“Sometimes you just have to jump in both feet first” is a quote I would use to describe my Africa journey over the past year and now. During my journey, I have been challenged every week in group sessions and each day in Africa. We did a session about how everyone wears a mask in day to day life and how we should remove our masks before and throughout Africa to get the most out of our journey. I have struggled with this as I would wear a mask on a daily basis however once I arrived in the townships, I took my mask off, been my true self and challenged myself.
Today was day 12 and we travelled to Cape Town to spend our final days. It was an early start as we had to be up and ready for 5:30am, once we arrived we went to the waterfront to get lunch and explore for a few hours. After exploring we went on a boat tour to see the sun setting on the Atlantic Ocean . The sunset was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It was a perfect ending to our first day in Cape Town as we got to relax as a team and create memories together.
Over the past 12 days I have been given the opportunity to build so many relationships with different children from the scheme or the valley. Seeing the excitement on the children’s faces when they see the team driving into the townships on the combis would make your day 100 times better. It’s the simple things that matter most to them like a hug would go such a long way. We have spent the days playing games, learning new handshakes and giving lots of affection to all the children who are in need of it.
When you hear past participants talk about B2B, you hear them talk about the special connection they make with one or two children. However, I wanted to give my love and attention to all the kids every day when we were in the townships as that’s what they wanted most from us. It was the second to last day, I was standing in the valley playing with some of the children until a young girl and her younger brother joined in to play. Her name was Rachel and her little brother was called Zaywin. These two kids have been the highlight of my journey as I never thought they could have such a huge impact on me like I have on them. When playing in the valley together, Zaywin was so shy and wouldn’t let go of his sister after awhile he became more comfortable and came out of his shell. The three of us laughed and smiled as we played in the valley. It was our last day in the valley, I was patiently waiting for Rachel and Zaywin to arrive so I could see them one last time. Rachel and Zaywin didn’t speak much English but it shows that language isn’t always a barrier to connect with someone. After playing for hours with them it was time to say my final goodbye, this was the most hardest goodbyes I have ever done. When I explained to Rachel what was happening, she hugged me ever so tight and started to cry. This made me cry as even thought I have known her for only two days, we had gained such a strong connection. After our final debrief the leaders had surprised us with all the kids waiting in the community hall. As I was walking over to the hall, Rachel ran out of no where into my arms and wouldn’t let go. She gave me letter saying how much she loves and will miss me and how she is thankful to have met me. This is something I will hold onto forever.
One of my highlights would be the second debrief down at Victoria Bay beach. In the debrief we spoke about a letter we wrote to ourselves about regrets back in October to our groups. After reading the letter to the group, we got asked if the things we wrote down were still a regret. The second part of the debrief was writing to a letter to anyone in the world. I feel like this debrief helped me a lot with my personal life as I was able to write everything I was thinking or feeling down and start a fresh chapter in South Africa.
Overall my africa experience has been breathtaking, It has given me a new perspective on how to approach life. I have been taught so many things about myself, my team and the people who live in Blanco. It has been an overwhelming experience but so worth it!
“Happiness is the secret to all beauty. There is no beauty without happiness.” This quote would describe Blanco and all the people who live in the townships. They are genuinely the kindest and most grateful people for having next to nothing.