Hi there! My name is Angelique, and thank you for joining my group and me as we start on the journey of a lifetime.
No joke — it is the journey of a lifetime.
In just a few short months, we will be in South Africa, and even though we knew what we were getting ourselves into before summer even started, it is just now starting to feel real.
I’m from Ludlow, Mass., a suburb of Springfield, and until this year, I never had a reason to get a passport. The furthest I have ever traveled is to Colorado to visit my sister this past March, and that trip, combined with my first time reading “Into the Wild,” was more than enough to give me the travel bug. So when I received the initial email about the alternative winter break trip to South Africa, instead of letting it get buried in my never ending flow of mail, I read it and realized I needed to go.
I do my best to surround myself with people who live with intention, who give back to others and who keep open minds, so most of my friends have gone on some kind of alternative break trip. None of them, however, have gone to Africa, and at first, that’s really what caught me. I couldn’t wait to see the mountains, the towns and even just an ocean from an airplane window. I guess it was the traveler in me taking over.
After we had our first group meeting, though, the traveler gave way to the volunteer. It was just two hours in a classroom going over what the trip would entail, and I already feel so grateful, not only for being chosen to go on this trip, but because I had a classroom in which I could sit. We had access to computers and the Internet. The children we will be working with, running a camp for and spending so much time with, do not have these luxuries that we often confuse for rights.
The children we will meet need a glimmer of hope in their lives, and for just two weeks, we will be able to provide one. That is why this trip matters. I know that when we all come back, we will have a bit of what we saw with us for the rest of our lives, and we will live better because of it. That’s what I’m hoping for, at least.
Although I do not know as much about the South African history and culture as I will in the coming weeks, I am so eager to learn, and I’m eager to use this as a platform to share what I have learned and seen.
As a print journalism major who, for a majority of my life, wanted to go into sports writing, I have been struggling with what my own future holds. I want to write things that matter and will change the way people see the world. This is the first step. While I hope that I make a difference over the course of the next few months, I know that this experience will help me become the person that I always hoped I would be, and for that, I am already grateful.