Are you fortunate enough? Are you grateful enough?
Last year before the school year ended, me and a few friends signed up for a service trip to South Africa expecting good, fun times to experience together. Oh little did we know....
Preparing for 8 days we spent in South Africa, I have to admit, I became lazy. We had to print lots of worksheets, not to mention, search the internet for questions, trying to create games, songs, whatever works to make the lesson we're going to teach.. interesting to the South African kids. I gradually became less and less interested on South Africa and started doubting the rightness of my choice to choose and spend my October Break doing a service trip, while I could spend the whole week sitting back, relax and hang out.
But it was too late anyways to cancel the trip, my visa was being processed and everything had been planned out. Nicola, Seorin, Gaby, Jacqui, Na Yeon and I worked together in a group to teach Math to the kids there and everything was on task, so I decided ...."Fine, I'll go."
On Friday right after school, I went straight to the airport with 21 other students and 2 teachers. It was a long journey to where we're going stay. First it was a flight to Singapore. Then, a night flight to Johannesburg. Then a three hour flight to a small city called Kimberly. Then right as we land in Kimberly, we went on a three hour drive to a village called Kuruman, where we spent 5 nights sleeping and relaxing. Although exhausted, everyone showed a slight of interest to our new surroundings. Everything's new and we were so interested on trying to fit in to the local society.
The next day, which was Sunday. We went to the gospel church and prayed with local people. And right after that we went to the school where we were going to teach for 3 days. It was a two hour drive from the Kuruman village. The village where we taught was so much worse! There were only sand, and the houses looked like it needed to be taken care of. But we got to see a glimpse of people and surprisingly they looked extremely happy and healthy.
The next three days we woke up at 4.45 am, hopped on the bus at 5.45 am. Taught from 7.30 am until 2.00 pm. It was exhausting yet fun. The kids were extremely nice and active in class. Some were quite smart for their level, but some were lacking. We sang songs that were relevant to math and did little games to excite them. We gave out stickers which they went crazy for! And I couldn't help but smile a little whenever I see these kids trying their best to learn. I sometimes sit in the classroom thinking. Oh my God, I'm in high school and my school has one of the best facilities and why aren't I like them? Why aren't I grateful enough? At the end of the day we got to do activities with them. We taught the how to dance "Waka Waka" and wow.. They love to dance! We also took them to play volleyball and soccer.
Without us realizing, three days had passed by and I had blended in with the school and felt really comfortable there and with everyone there. But sadly, it was time to wrap up and go. The last ceremony made me cry. These kids meant so much to me in such a little time. When our school gave them crayons, posters, color pencils, the kids cheer in joy and were fighting to see the things we gave them. They all clapped and smiled and jumped up and down. It's the scene I miss the most.
Leaving Kuruman, we went back to Kimberly and took a flight back to Johanessburg. But this time we took a 3 hour drive to a place where the tourists were. It was nice for a change for us to get to relax after a hectic 5 days in Kuruman. We all went to two game drives, one at 3.30pm til 6pm and the other one from 4.30 am til 6 am, which were basically a safari. We drove through the hills and grasses and we saw amazing animals. We saw elephants, giraffes, black rhinos, an eagle, lions, zebras. They were all free. They weren't being "taken care of" by the people that built the safari and it's amazing to think that the chain of life is really going on there.
After spending one and a half day there, we went to a town near Johanessburg, where we got the chance to explore the Hector Peterson Museum and Nelson Mandela's house. We even got to pass by the 2010 World Cup Chairman's house!
Time flied by so fast in Africa and the next minute I realize, we were already on a flight back to Jakarta. What's so amazing is although almost everyone I know can take a trip to South Africa, their experience will never be the same as mine. I get to meet with HIV/AIDS positive people who were completely happy with their lives and kids in Kuruman that had no idea about the world outside their own village, Bryson a student who's incredibly smart and the fat kid sitting on the second row on the right in the 6th grade classroom, who was really lazy and likes to put stickers on his forehead. Now, 3 weeks have passed by since I came back from Africa, but I still think about all these amazing people I've met. Now, my point of view has changed. Hopefully, I get to appreciate my life throughout my whole life, like I do now.
During game drive, safari time. A baby elephant!
Waiting for a zebra to cross the street. ......
The view of the game drive, Safari.
Best people to go on a trip with!
Cutest kid in the world
Last ceremony on our last day of teaching at the school
During one of our free times; SAFARI TIME! GAME DRIVE :D
Morgan; our favorite cook!
One of the worksheets we made for 4th grade
Teaching the kids math!
Taking pictures with the younger students during our break time
Lesson planning with the math group
When our old bus "decided" to break down on the way back from teaching
While the bus broke down.... We decided to take pictures.
Kalahari Desert. So hot!!!
(the village where we taught.)
Nicola, Seorin and Gaby. You made this trip exceptionally fun!