The 2nd day at the township was very tough for the group and me. We had the opportunity to go through the local hospital in Delft. We walked through rooms and hallways that had endless lines of people waiting to be treated for HIV/Aids and many other diseases. I can tell you that I will never complain about a 2 hour wait in the ER at home ever again. Towards the end of the hospital tour, Ed, my roommate, fainted. He fainted because of a combination of what we witnessed and not being properly hydrated. For me, seeing Ed faint was like seeing a brother go down. Witnessing Ed faint sort of topped everything off for me. I couldn't handle any more on this day after that.
The 3rd day at the township we went to the children's daycare in Delft. We arrived around 9:00AM, and the kids were full of energy. We played with them all morning - blowing up balloons, face-painting, and rugby. I was amazed at how much energy and joy the kids had. I started playing catch with the rugby ball with one of the kids, and soon 6 others joined in. The kids taught me how to play rugby, and we played all morning. In a way, playing with the kids rejuvenated me after the last township visit. When we were saying our goodbyes to the kids, one of the kids approached me with a miniature figurine of a famous rugby player, and said, "I want you to have this". My eyes opened wide and I thought to myself, what the hell am I doing right now accepting this from a child who has close to nothing? I thought we were the ones in the townships who were trying to help and give to their community, yet on this day they gave to me. Throughout all of the visits to the townships, I have been struggling with what can I/we really do to help? After witnessing the great magnitude of poverty, and listening to stories of all the hardship, the question that comes to my mind is where do WE even begin? As the trip and class has progressed this question has been nagging at me more and more. But at the end of this day, I came up with one answer and that is to LISTEN.
More from the townships and a conclusion of the trips will be coming soon.