Day 12: First Day of Service Projects – A Moving Experience

Yesterday was our first day beginning our service projects in the village of Varkplaas. Although we were all very excited to begin, we were very hesitant to interact with the people in the community when we first arrived.

Cookie showing off her repaired roof.

Based on my first impression, I was shocked at how poor the community looked. Although we had seen other poor villages in South Africa, I felt that this one was completely different. It was rural and the roofs of houses were all different materials such as tin, wooden doors, with rocks used to hold the materials down to prevent the roofs from coming off in the wind.

It was difficult to understand the changes we are making in these peoples’ lives because of all the hardships they face.
While we were eating lunch, the people in the community were amazed by the bus we arrived in. It was nothing special for us, however, these people had never ridden on a bus.

Also, I brought a loaf of bread and peanut butter to make a sandwich for lunch. However, the bread was moldy so I decided not to eat it. From talking to Peter, we made the decision to not throw this bread out in front of the people. This is something I would have never thought of myself, but it really hit me at how lucky we are. Compared to these people who are less fortunate, it would be selfish for us to let bread go bad. These people are in survival mode and they wouldn’t take things like this for granted.

Interacting with these people made me want to get involved in community service even more. It is something I have always enjoyed doing, but I would like to take it to another level. I would love to get involved with the Tippy Toes Foundation in the future, and maybe even create my own non-profit organization. Overall, today was a very moving day. We accomplished so much and we are hopeful that our work will be sustainable.


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