Let’s get some information and some history straight.
My first trip to Africa was no walk in the park. Even though, as you see, I do live in a very nice house in quite a nice area, an oasis if you will, in rural KwaZulu Natal, the emotional and physical strain myself and other volunteers are put under is often extremely intense.
What turned out to be the best experience of my life was also the hardest.
I am not a very emotional person, for the most part. But Africa brought out the zombie in me and I found it difficult after my experience to feel emotion in our so-called “first world.”
It’s harder than you think, going abroad to do volunteer work. But the experience you receive in return is well worth the personal sacrifices made.
When people ask me the most valuable part of my experience I always say the perspective I gained.
Last year, after working at Senzangethemba Day Care/Orphanage for children 5 and under, teaching HIV education and working on numerous community-based projects, I decided to make some big changes in my life. I made some tough decisions and went through a very weird transition period after returning from South Africa. But when I look at my life now, I’m glad I changed the pattern that I had become used to, stepped out of my shell and took chances. I grew so much this year because I learned that instead of waiting for life to happen to me, I had to go out and make it happen because there are many people around the world that do not have the opportunities I do.
Oh but it’s not all grandiose personal discovery and hardship. There are so many awesome things about volunteering abroad. Not only was I able to become a local in the eyes of those in the village, but I learned Zulu, attended traditional Zulu ceremonies and parties and learned that I could walk around barefoot anywhere and no one would care – ahh, paradise.
So I hope to have many more awesome adventures as you follow these video blogs. This second one is simply a quick compilation of some video taken during my stay last year in KwaZulu Natal.
My hope is that through these videos I can help you understand why my life changed so much after my first visit. Maybe you will even gain a little perspective by seeing a side of the world that is a paradox of horror and magnificence.
Until Next Time,
“Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin.” Grace Hansen