A Smile Tells a Story

Jan2014MeetTamarin.jpgTwo weeks ago I had the privilege of meeting with my ABT (Alternative Break Trip) South Africa group and Skype with Tamarin Simpson, the founder of the Tippy Toes Foundation.

To say the least Tamarin is an inspiration.

To start your own foundation to help those who are oppressed could not be an easy thing to accomplish at all, nevertheless, creating a foundation for those who are discriminated and thought of differently. Through doing this, Tamarin put herself on the line, but with her strength, courage, and bravery she accomplished a huge task and is changing lives. In my eyes Tamarin is a true hero and role model. I could not be more excited for January to arrive and to work with her at the Vaatjie Primary School.

One of the main points I took away from this Skype call was the fact that the children will view us differently because of the color of our skin.

To me, this idea is crazy!

The fact that the children have it instilled that those who are white are of higher standard and are “better” then them is something I may never comprehend. It got me thinking, “Would I comprehend that idea if I were of different race?”

This thought has been running through my mind for the past two weeks and I still cannot answer the question. I hope through this trip and experience I will learn from the children. Hopefully, through their stories I can begin to understand their way of thinking in order to help them better adapt to Americans. It would be great, for at least that one week, if the children could view us as equal. That they can come to us with open arms and big smiles excited for the activities that we have planned for them for the day.

The children’s excitement and smiles are what I am most looking forward to. To me, a child’s smile can change your day entirely. Although I see children’s smiles daily at my summer camp counselor position, each smile is unique, different and tells a story. I am beyond excited to see a child’s face after they learn a new skill that they can take home with them; the first smile I see will definitely be stitched onto my heart!

 This is one of my best friends, Tristan. Although Tristan may look like your typical 13 -year-old-boy with this smile, he has Autism. Through working with Tristan and as I previously stated in my “About Me” post, other children at the special needs camp I work at, I have learned the concept that each smile tells a new story. Every time Tristan smiles I learn something new about him (by the way-Tristan loves colors and mixing them together!) and I hope these children have just as big smiles.

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