Unfortunately the time has come where our stay in South Africa is coming to an end and we are beginning to wrap things up. We will have to say our goodbyes soon, but with this comes a time of self-reflection for all of us. I (Kelly) have so many thoughts and emotions going through my mind that it is extremely difficult to process and put into words. I know that it will be days after we get home to Minnesota until I truly realize what I have learned here and what I can do with it. Wednesday was our last day at MaT and instead of feeling sad to leave, I am grateful for being able to be there and help out. The workers there sang and danced for us which was one of the most beautiful and touching moments that I have experienced here in SA. The people at MaT are the definition of heroes. They carry out some of the most difficult work everyday because they truly love what they do, which is something that I hope to have in the future. So for our last day at MaT we were able to have really nice closing talk with Anthea where some of us were able to express what we have learned from our time at MaT. We also helped with the lunch packing and baking that the kitchen wanted us to do.
A love has been developed because the people here are so warm, welcoming, and loving. It is naturally innate for these people to do onto others as they would like others to do onto them. Upon meeting Anthea, the additional staff was remarkable. Although many tasks we were asked to complete felt like hard labor, it demonstrated the strength of the Delft townships because these people do task like this on a frequent basis. The children at the site were not there for our final day but we learned so many life lessons from them. I (Charissa) am sure as of this moment all they thought they taught us were a few dance moves.The children of the community are definitely going to be strong leaders in the near future. These children are strong, versus where we come from the children who are underprivileged are also blessed with materials items. Here, the children don't need a Nintendo DS or a Wii to have fun. These children are enjoying simple things in life like jumping rope, learning ballroom dance, creating new games in with their friends. There is no television being used to babysit these children. They are so self-efficient. The children of the Delft Township are very independent and strong. One thing that touched me was the children said a prayer in the beginning and the end of class. These children are facing daily obstacles, yet they keep the faith. Children all over the world are amazing but I have no doubt that the country of South Africa is harboring some future social change leaders with strong minds and strong wills.
Robben Island was monumental to see. It was a moment to reflect on the trials and triumphs of the people fighting for social change in South Africa. These people are all historians that were willing to share their stories with whoever was willing to come and listen. I appreciated the opportunity to explore the previous prison and read the stories of the prisoners/victims of the Apartheid. When they reflect on their entire struggle, I feel by visiting the site, their struggles were not done in vein. It has exposed how ignorance and inhumanity can go hand in hand. Without people fighting for social change history will repeat itself and inhuman people have the opportunity to oppress and inflict unnecessary pain on individuals in society.
Everyone that we have met in South Africa, the kids and the adults have been so kind and welcoming towards us. They were willing to share their music, dance, and even cooking techniques with us! We have all had such a blast, gaining memories that will never leave us. The willingness for the people of SA to open their arms to us and show us their lives takes is so shocking and amazing at the same time. We are all walking away from this experience with a new outlook and hopefully we will be able to share this outlook with everyone back at home.
By Kelly & Charissa