Everyone Deserves to be a Kid

At our last meeting, our group was able to Skype with Tamarin Simpson, the woman who is behind the Tippy Toes Foundation. It was exciting to finally put a face to the name and “meet” Tamarin because it put the trip into perspective and made it real for me. I was amazed to learn that she founded this organization just three years ago. It takes a lot of courage and ambition and I admire that she went out there and continues to help the surrounding communities so the children are less likely to fall into drug abuse, gang violence, or prostitution. She doesn’t make promises she can’t keep and that is why the people trust her and welcome her help. I admire how she has kept the Tippy Toes Foundation running through the support of others and has been able to make such an impact in the lives of these children. I am excited to travel in January to host our week long summer camp for the children. I want to show the kids they can have fun with us and that we really aren’t all that different. I want them to put aside the weight of their problems for the week and simply be kids, like they deserve.

Tamarin told us a lot about the children and how some of them may or may not have ever been touched by an American before. She also told us about how a lot of them may be hesitant to open up to us because of what they have gone through in their past or their family issues.

Children in the Bateyes running to welcome us off the bus!

Children in the Bateyes running to welcome us off the bus!

This was different than what I was expecting but it does make sense at the same time. As I’ve mentioned before, I traveled to the Dominican Republic on a different service trip and when we arrived at the community we helped at, the children ran to our bus and started shouting people’s names because they are so excited to see us. I hope that as more and more trips go to South Africa that these children will begin to feel comfortable and can open up to us.

I hope when they see girls playing soccer, they will play with us and not think we are disrespecting them. I want them to know it’s okay for them to also join in and enjoy the activities. I’m looking forward to all the different camp activities and crafts our group will coordinate, spending time with the children and learning more about the culture by actually being immersed in it.

Tamarin also spoke to us about Apartheid and the segregation in South Africa. I knew about Apartheid and how people were segregated based on if they were white, colored, Indian or black before I signed up for this trip. I actually have family that lived in Africa during this time. My mom was born in Africa and my grandparents lived there for quite some time. I have heard many stories from them and this is just one more reason I wanted to travel to Africa myself. In the Dominican, the children pointed out my skin color and they would ask me questions about where I came from and what race I was. Being Indian, I have to wonder how I will be treated based on my skin color when we travel to South Africa.

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One Comment on “Everyone Deserves to be a Kid

  1. Thank you for your insightful post here, I love that you have been on another similar trip and I hope you can share your learnings from that trip with us 🙂

    A lot of our volunteers are of different races, so the children are used to interacting with black, Indian and white people. I love it because it shows them that different races can live with respect and love for each other which will hopefully affect their own behaviour towards each other (they repeat seen violent behaviour on their school mates!)

    I would love to get across to your class and to everyone else that it is the time, the effort and the relationships that mean so much to these kidz. Most of their parents are unemployed and suffer from awful social issues. They are not used to someone asking how their day was, or how they feel or what their favourite colour is or what they want to be one day. Looking into their eyes and wanting to know THEM. No pitty, no guilt (as a white South African this is hard for me) just a person and a person. These interactions have an amazing ripple effect and I can almost see the self-esteem grow in these kidz. Its the things we take for granted and the things we don’t often see that these little ones need the most. These small changes will assist them in the future like I don’t think I even understand!

    Can not wait to meet you all, don’t be nervous they are all looking forward to seeing you, as am I 🙂 Take care chat soon xxx

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