Day 9 – The Little Things

2013_Day8_ServiceProject_41It’s hard to put the events of the day, as well as the past three days, into words. The amount of work accomplished by a small group of students is truly astonishing and immensely satisfying. Everyday I walk into the communities to begin working on the project of the day and immediately feel defeated and pessimistic about the amount of work that needs to be done and everyday I leave feeling shocked by the success we have had. Overall participation in these projects has been a unique learning experience that has pushed me to my limits both mentally and physically. image
Since the past two days have already been covered, I’ll try to recap day 3 of the service projects. When the day started, we visited the Varkplaas garden and then headed to the school to clear the field and start building the soccer field.

The past few days having been undeniably exhausting and we all slowly trudged off the bus,sore, sleepy, and somewhat unenthused to start the day. We had a slow start as we walked around the
field picking up trash with the sun beating down on us. However, as the bags began to build up, a realization came upon me. There were at least 4-5 garbage bags filled with trash removed from the field, and even after there were still areas of debris. This made me
think of my childhood playground, making me realize that I honestly cannot imagine
playing on such a dirty, unkempt, and rather dangerous area as a child. Because of
this, whenever I found myself tired and complaining from the heat and bugs, I reminded myself of this as a source of motivation to push through.

imageAs the day picked up, we worked in shifts and alternated taking lunch breaks to ensure we optimized our time and by the end of the day we had completely cleared the field
of trash, covered it with sand and manure, and laid down the grass. Although we didn’t have enough grass to completely cover the field, we had accomplished a lot together.
To us, having a small area coveted in grass to play soccer in seems like a pretty
fundamental thing. But as I’ve learned, this is not necessarily the case. Based off
Tamarin’s excitement, I can only imagine how happy the children will be when they
arrive at school tomorrow and see that the field they have been anxiously awaiting for so long, is almost finished. As an American student, it’s hard for me to comprehend
the level of excitement these children feel towards an area to play in, when for me, similar areas
were such a commodity.

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We ended the day with a trip to the beach overlooking Table Mountain. I couldn’t help but notice the irony of the day. We started in the “ugliest” parts of the community — filled
with poverty, disease, and debris and ended in the one of the most beautiful
place I’ve ever seen. While the view from the beach was amazing, one thing I’ve
noticed is that despite our location, Table Mountain is never far from our view
— a constant reminder that beauty can be found in even the ugliest of places.
Though it might take a little longer to see and the view might not be as great,
if you take your time and maybe squint an eye or two…It is always there.

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