Brittany Anderson, '12
Circle Pines, MN
14 November 2011
886 days have passed since I stepped onto the plane at the Port Elizabeth International Airport, leaving what I considered to be my newfound home. Since June 27, 2009, I have been searching for opportunities to return to South Africa. There are so many reasons for me to want to go back, and this opportunity fits almost every aspect of my wants. While in the Rainbow Nation, I had the opportunity to take a Community Service Learning course at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Through this course, I was required to volunteer 4 hours a week at Isithembiso Abandoned Babies' Home. Most weeks, however, I would end up spending time beyond what was required with the children, helping the housemother clean, bathe and feed them. These babies became my second family. I knew that when, not if, I returned to South Africa, I would need to volunteer my time and talents. Through my volunteer experiences in the US and South Africa, I have learned that working with people, rather than imposing upon them, provides people with power. With that being said, I am very excited to participate in the community service portion of this seminar. I also have designed my own major in Postcolonial Indigenous Human Rights in the US and Global Contexts, which emphasizes both the US and South Africa. The coursework specifically relates to this major. I also feel as though much of my yearning to return to South Africa comes from a need to return to a place where I felt most like myself. On my first trip, I was barely 19 and my experiences in South Africa have hugely shaped who I am today. So, even though I know I'm not going with the same people or even to the same place, I feel like going back to South Africa will be reconfirm this feeling that I have that I need to move there permanently.
So, I'm going to make a list of my expectations and hopes for myself. because a paragraph would just feel utterly redundant.
1. Feel comfortable in the culture
2. Share my knowledge and experiences from my previous time in South Africa with those who haven't been there.
3. Buy lots of cool art that I didn' buy last time at the market.
4. Drink delicious wine.
5. Experience the nightlife.
6. Gain invaluable connections to both the people who live in the volunteer with and the people I travel with.
(Just kidding. I've been watching waaaayy too much gossip girl.)