All of the touristy stuff that we have done thus far has been amazing, but the past couple of days I feel has truly changed me. When looking at all of the service projects while in South Africa, nothing really seemed feasible but I was so surprised how everyone cooperated and really put in the effort to make even the smallest positive change for these communities.
All semester long we fundraised and set up plans for how we could help in the townships. I don’t think anyone could honestly feel as accomplished as we already feel and there is still one more day to go. When we are laying in bed at night at our hotel complaining about how out feet or back hurt, these families are living in conditions we couldn’t imagine living in. It’s inspiring to see the children of the communities help out so they can see what was put into the projects that they will be living with.
Today we went to the school to make a soccer field. We needed compost, sand, water, and tools. We started off by picking out garbage from the dirt field that they normally play soccer on, which was filled with broken glass, plastic scraps, and rusty cans. It was mind boggling to see children running around without shoes, let alone playing soccer in a field like that with no shoes on.
We needed to water the ground before putting down the patches of grass but encountered a plethora of obstacles. First we couldn’t find running water, then we couldn’t attach a hose to the school’s water supply, and then we couldn’t get enough pressure for enough water to come out of the hose. Finally we came up with a solution to fill up a big bucket of water and splashed it on to the field which was actually pretty successful.
On the way out, I was thinking on the bus how even the smallest tasks can end up being such a struggle there because of the lack of resources and help. On the other hand, we have to think of it as even the smallest amount of extra resources and help that we can provide can mean the world to one child to a whole community.
Once we start seeing results, everything that we have learned and worked on throughout the semester completely pays off. The service projects make me not only grateful for what I have but extremely grateful for this experience. I hope more groups like us can come down here and put in the time and effort to make a substantial difference, even if it is just for four days.