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A South African Adventure

My 3 month volunteer experience in Cape Town

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How South Africa Changed Me

I’ve been wanting to put down in words the changes that I feel have taken place in my life since returning home from South Africa. It’s taken me awhile to fully recognize and absorb them, but there are so many little shifts in the way I see the world and what I want from my life now. 

Before I left for my trip, quite a few people said to me, “this will change your life,” but I think I brushed off those remarks. They sounded a little cliche, like something people are obligated to say. I’ve been surprised by how true those words have proven to be. My time in South Africa has changed my life.

So many aspects of my life in America have lost value to me. I find I can no longer watch the reality television shows I used to love or read entertainment magazines without feeling a kind of sadness and emptiness. I can’t listen to a lot of the music I used to love because the lyrics jump out at me and affect me much more now. I also want to be outside much more often and sometimes get urges to leave the city and drive into the more peaceful countryside or mountains. I’m more fascinated by animals and nature and I love observing how everything works together so miraculously. It’s not that this didn’t amaze me before, it’s just that I didn’t take the time to observe the world as closely. In general, I just want a much simpler life now. I crave things in their purest, most genuine form, whether that be the food I eat or the relationships I have with others. 

In a way I feel like I was sleeping through my life and now I’m awake. And it’s weird because I have traveled relatively often throughout my life, but nothing has affected me like this.  I went there so nervous, and ended up making such amazing, lifelong friendships with my housemates and with Mary and her family. I observed the contrast of the harshest poverty I’ve ever seen right alongside the most gorgeous scenery I’ve ever seen. 

I’ve been home for six months now and I’m about to embark on another journey, this time moving to a new city and starting a new career. I’m nervous and scared again, but I know all of these changes are good for me. The past few years have been tough ones for me and I don’t think I would have had the courage to take action and make real changes in my life if it weren’t for Africa. It was a true turning point for me. I thank God for giving me such a positive and life-altering experience. It’s funny how you can think your life is going to go one way and then it turns out completely different yet better in so many ways. So thank you South Africa for being so beautiful and for altering the course of my life.

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I’m so grateful to all of my friends and family for helping me reach this goal! Now that we have the money, I’ve been actively working to get the project started, and it looks like True North will be our main partner in rebuilding Daylight Educare. True North is a nonprofit working to transform schools in disadvantaged communities through various educational resources. I wish I could return to Cape Town to assist with the rebuilding myself, but it looks like I’m going to have to put off that dream for a little while. I’m very grateful to True North though and to everyone who has helped in making this possible! I can’t wait until we start making some real progress on the building!

I’m so grateful to all of my friends and family for helping me reach this goal! Now that we have the money, I’ve been actively working to get the project started, and it looks like True North will be our main partner in rebuilding Daylight Educare. True North is a nonprofit working to transform schools in disadvantaged communities through various educational resources. I wish I could return to Cape Town to assist with the rebuilding myself, but it looks like I’m going to have to put off that dream for a little while. I’m very grateful to True North though and to everyone who has helped in making this possible! I can’t wait until we start making some real progress on the building!

Filed under Cape Town south africa

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A lot of times we want to help without getting our hands dirty. We want to feel good without seeing the bad. But we should serve, really serve, where there is need.

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An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Here are some photos from my last day at Daylight Educare. I miss these kids every day!

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Let's Rebuild Daylight Educare!

I’ve started a fundraising campaign to rebuild the daycare I worked at in South Africa, Daylight Educare. Most of the children attending Daylight Educare come from broken homes and live in extreme poverty in the Capricorn Township. We are trying to raise enough funds to take their current wood and tin stucture and rebuild it as a brick building. My goal is to raise $4,000 to do this for them. In South Africa, the government requires daycares to be brick structures in order to qualify for government funding. Government funding would contribute towards food for the kids as well as wages and training for the teachers there. This would help to give the children and teachers there a much better place to work, play and spend their days.

I’d really appreciate it if you’d take a look at my fundraising page and see if it’s something you’d be interested in supporting or passing along to some friends or family. Any amount will help!

Thank you so much!

Cristina

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Field Trip

On Thursday, we organized a field trip for the kids to go to a big park in Lakeside. We got our driver, Carl, to take all of the kids in his van. The kids rarely get to ride in cars or venture too far from their homes in the township, so it was exciting for them. They got to run around and tire themselves out and then we had a nice picnic under the trees before heading back to the crèche for their naps. It ended up being a beautiful day and I think everyone including the teachers had a really nice time.