In our last meeting we were separated into two teams – blondes and brunettes. Both teams had to build a free standing structure that reached the ceiling made from raw pasta and mini marshmallows. The whole time Peter kept helping the blondes, giving us ideas, more supplies and endless compliments. He kept telling us how smart we were, and how well we were doing. He constantly shut the brunettes down, not letting them speak, and giving them 1/5 of the supplies we had.
At first I couldn’t help but laugh because when was the last time you heard how smart blondes are? I was so confused as to why we were “better”. It took a little while for us to figure it out…if Peter told us long enough, helped us out enough, we would believe it and we would succeed while the brunettes struggled. If you tell people something long enough, it begins to be something that they believe. Even though apartheid has ended, the effects are still looming and Peter wants us to understand this and prepare for some of the things we might be seeing or might have to be saying.
We have to take this into consideration when working with the kids at the Holiday Camp. They’ve been raised in a conditioned world that they might have been told that they are not good enough. Events in their lives, their family’s lives may have made them believe all this to be true. Unfortunately we are only there for a short period of time, but every day and everything we do counts. For us and them.
This trip is going to show us how much we really have, everything that we take for granted. Although in the limited time we have, I believe that some of what we tell them, do with them, and teach them will make an impact. You can’t change one person’s life, let alone a group of 100 kids, in only 5 days, but it’s a start. You can definitely plant a couple of seeds in their heads, just like Peter tried to do with us. In thirty minutes, Peter got us to believe that the blondes were better, smarter, gave us more and in the end we believed it and succeeded. So take those thirty minutes, what can we do in five days? How much are we going to be able to help?
Until next time…Taylor
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” -Nelson Mendela