So Longs and See you Laters

The last month has been a world wind13405540_1184170384957163_1980882133_o of traveling and excitement, which has limited the amount of time I have had to work.  For the last 6 months I have conquered navigating South African streets, Paris subways, different hiking trails, and many other exciting activities. Now I am back home.  This is a bittersweet statement due to the fact my heart is not home with me. I found a place that I love more than Kanye loves Kanye. I miss all of my kids from the orphanage.  The impact that these kids have had on my life is beyond anything I could have expected. The smiles, hugs, laughs and cries warmed my heart for so long that I am starting to feel empty.  Every conversation held, I start to wrap any subject back to an experience back in South Africa.
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Through the anger, disappointments, happy, sad, and exciting moments I would not have changed the last 6 months of my life. The first two weeks I cried for these kids.  I cried because I did not know how to help. The pain in my heart did not go away, the pain simply just got smaller. The more time I spent with the kids the more attached I became. The attachment began to mirror the relationship of an older sister looking after her siblings.  No one ever wants to say goodbye, not even a “see you later”. After a while, “the so longs” become “see you never” and the memories are all that are left of the amazing interaction.13410808_1184172254956976_339562634_o

The last day was extremely hard for me, as I hugged my last kid with tears running down my face I could not even muster up the courage to say, “You Later.” Although they saw me cry that day it was tears of sadness mixed with a dash of joy. One of the other volunteers on her last day wrote: “Today was a sad day. The day I had been dreading since I was accepted this assignment as a volunteer at this orphanage. The day we had to say goodbye again. I knew they would have a place in my heart, but my heart is now in 1000 pieces, I didn’t expect. I’m a mess right now and I feel like I have been dumped. I have a huge lump in my throat, a big hole in my stomach and my tears will never end. I love these kids. Each and every one. These kids, you changed me forever!” –Cecilie

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South Africa treated me well during these last six months.  I plan to return to the orphanage one day, but I pray that none of the kids I know is still at the home.  I pray each of the kids at the orphanage find wonderful homes to grow up in. My biggest prayer is that all the kids eventually receive all of the love and attention that they deserve. I know these kids will do great things in life and I cannot wait until our paths cross again. For many of my kids I left a photo on their locker with words of encouragement on the back. I hope that photo travels with each and every one of them wherever they go in life.

Until next time South Africa,

Stay Awesome

Jill

 

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Umhle Kakhulu, You are Beautiful.

Our ultimate goal on this road trip was to reach Coffee bay. The only thing we kept hearing is Coffee Bay is amazing, unsure of what we were to expect we drove open minded to one of the best surfing spot in the world.13187846_1164315830275952_1739072613_n
The further we drove to the east coast of South Africa the worse the roads became. Pot holes, sheep, cows and people were casually everywhere on the streets. There were times that a cow would just decide to walk across the street with no warning and each car would have to stop immediately. As we made our way closer to Coffee Bay we were leaving the normal way of life, just by watching how many people walked for hours to a small 3 store town. The houses along the road started to form villages painted with bright florescent colors.

I had an opportunity to hang out in one of the villages with a local drummer. The name of the town translated to “Look Out” because tourists visit because of the colorful houses.
I do not have any pictures of this portion of my trip because  these are just average people living their lives. Many companies take people on tours and watch the locals in their village like a human zoo. This is not fair to the people because they are merely living life. While walking to the village, I ask Zuko how he felt when people would take pictures of him or his family. His simple response was, “Why don’t people just ask to take my picture instead of being a paparazzi?”13235758_1164316190275916_1946271984_n

As we continued the journey one hill away which was a SHORT walk of thirty minutes. We came to the top of the hill where everyone in the community was, ranging from the oldest to the youngest running around dancing to music and enjoying each other’s presence. We came to a circle of about 10 guys who were sitting on a plastic cartons, surrounding about three large beers, just enjoying a chat about life. We walked around the village and saw where his whole family lived: aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters. His entire family stayed in the same area together. My misconception when I first saw the clay houses was a vision of uneven floors, simple furniture and humble surroundings. To my surprise his grandfather’s house had marble counter tops, beautiful floors, a gorgeous dining room set and a flat screen TV, with many rooms inside. There was electricity and running water inside each hut that was hand made by the owner.13235711_1164316246942577_379499897_n

Many people from the city depict people that live in the village as the most dangerous, and scary people you will ever meet. Every single person we walked said, “Molo, Unjani?” (Hello, how are you?) Then would follow with “Umhle Kakhulu,” (You are beautiful.) The respect level for the elders was high and their words were treated as valuable. I was greeted with cool drinks and a Xhosa lunch, Samp n beans, that everyone in the village eats, which was extremely good. The family bond is extremely strong.  Although the sense of community was powerful, there were the inherent issues. It was 2 o clock in the afternoon and almost every adult was not working, they sat around, drank, and talked all day. No one ever wanted to leave the village. This village was their home and no one could take that away from them. There were things that needed to be fixed and not being addressed.GOPR2259.JPG

The one thing I have taken out of being in Coffee Bay is happiness comes from within, money can solve problems, but in the end its internal happiness. This village in Coffee Bay has stolen my heart and I will return. I do not know when, but I will accomplish this task. Zuko and Akhona have promised me a spot of land to build my colorful hut.

I will be posting more blogs and stories shortly. I was limited on my wifi due to the areas we were in.

Until Next time Coffee Bay,

Stay Awesome

Jill

 

Ohana means family

Lately I haven’t had much to write about. I think I have hit the point in my trip where we are no longer going to all these adventure activities, things are no longer super exciting and I am just enjoying life in South Africa.
South Africa has become like a second home to me. Living here in South Africa has become a way of life.  Driving past the guys panhandling on the street has become normal. One thing that has caught my attention the last few days is Family.13046217_1147368318637370_1775496721_n13059721_1147369348637267_2039473949_n

Family is everywhere. I have family in America that has been cheering from the sidelines. The support I am receiving is sometimes overwhelming. I have family here in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have been blessed to have aunts and uncles that are distant family to open their doors up to me many times. This family is amazing be13059314_1147368075304061_411346154_ncause we were strangers before I came, but turned into close family. I flew to Johannesburg for the weekend and they throw a surprise belated 21st birthday Braia for me. I truly feel as though I am sitting back in America with my natural born family when I am around them.  My life here in Cape Town I am also surrounded by family.
The Three Germans I met while living in the house have become sisters. We argue, laugh, play, and go out together just like sisters would. I am so glad to be around wonderful people who encourage each other to be better. I never would have thought half way around t12992914_1142448529129349_415738570_nhe world I would have found such amazing friends. I cannot forget about my lovely host parents who open their doors to many different international students. The support they are giving each of us through the different transitions and issues we have had.

13023293_1147367708637431_1810552598_nMy last circle of family is my kids. Today we watched the movie Home together. In my heart I was so disturbed and saddened because there is a big theme of family and how much family means to the main characters. My kids do not have a proper family, but still within their hearts they know the importance of family. A lot of these kids have been growing up together since they can remember. The staff members have been their aunts and uncles, the other kids are their brothers and sisters, and occasionally when they make a special bond to a volunteer another piece of family is found. Family can never be defined, it can never have a specific structure or look.  Each of these kids have become a part of my family inside of my heart. A simple smile warms my entire heart. My days at the orphanage are slowly c13023640_1148873075153561_1549415742_noming to an end.  These kids have been my entire life these last three and a half months and I cannot de
scribe the feeling I receive everyday by being around them. Two weeks ago I walked pass this gem (picture to the right),
I had never seen her before and didn’t quite know where she came from, but I loved her. I had only met her for 3 seconds and I already hugged, kissed, and spread as much love as I could towards her. It doesn’t matter what your family consist of whether its mom, dad, dog, sister, or brother, as long as love resides in the middle everything else can be over looked.

Until next time

Jill

Everything Teaches Lessons

Lately I have been watching cartoon movies on repeat. The countless lessons I am learning from these movies are amazing. Who would have thought at 21 years old I can learn from a cartoon movie. Many of these movies have underline themes and morals that they try to teach the kids. I am not getting paid to talk about these movies, I just love being a kid. It is amazing how in each movie the character develops and mature in the short 90 minute movie.12992181_1142444625796406_884762753_n.jpg

Here is what I am learning:

  1. Home

This cute movie is about an alien species that comes to earth and takes over. You watch how a little girl tries to find her way back to her mom. The main character Tip is challenged beyond her wits, while dealing with the Oh, an alien that doesn’t quite fit in. I learned that it is okay to stand out. It is okay that even though everyone believes that there is only one way to live they are wrong. While coming to South Africa midway through my studies is abnormal and unheard of I did it anyway. What I have noticed is everyone eventually ends up okay, in the end it doesn’t matter about the end point, but rather the journey.

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  1. Turbo

The racing snail that has a dream bigger than his whole existence. Turbo is a snail that wants to race in the Indy 500, after he receives magical powers. Through all his trials and tribulations he makes it to the Indy 500, at the last 50 meters he loses all of his super powers and has to rely on himself to finish the race. I completely understand Turbo’s mindset he has had nothing, but doubters his whole life telling him to just be a snail. Everyone just says go to school, get a job, have a family and just live. But is that really living? Do not get me wrong this works for most people, but there is so much more out there. The last few weeks everyone has wandered how I am sustaining living while in South Africa, I have confidently said each time “I OWN a NGO that is sponsoring my trip.” Each time without a doubt they said, “Wow it is so nice to WORK for a NGO.” Some people do not understand that just because of my age does not mean I can’t accomplish big dreams just like Turbo.

  1. Megamind

My favorite movie hands down is this cute animation. Megamind is about a super villain that is destined for evil due to the fact of growing up in a jail. Throughout the movie his heart begins to change and he realizes that he has control over his own destiny. The bad guy wins in this situation. I love this movie because my kids are growing up without direct parental figures; which causes a lot of damage to them physically and emotionally. My main goal is to let the kids know just because you are born into a bad situation does not mean they are destined for a bad outcome. Each individual person has control over anything that happens in their life time.

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I could write all day about the many movies I have watched over the last few weeks and the lessons I have learned. These characters all faced a problem, they did not run from the problem, but instead face it head on. Sometimes facing the problems were scary and hard, but they overcame these feelings. I am learning these same life lessons throughout my travels. Sometimes you will meet great people other times people turn out to be jerks. Many times people do not like to face trials or problems but what many fail to realize is problems make you stronger. I encourage trials because without a doubt I will be wiser and stronger after that problem is resolved. Life without a little excitement to stir your soul up is boring.

Until next time

Stay Awesome

Jill

Conquering Fears

I guess you can say I am conquering all fears while I am here in South Africa. I have the biggest fear of falling, not heights just falling. What’s the best way to conquer that fear?  To Jump out of a plane of course.

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We went up in a small aircraft that could hold 6 people, each person jumped with a professional guide. The butterflies started to creep into my stomach as we climbed into the aircraft, but to hear that I was the first one to jump I became nervous. As the airplane crept up into the sky the view became more and more beautiful.

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We could see the entire coastline of Cape Town, everything looked every small and not important. The entire time my friends kept asking if I was okay because my face completely showed the fear through my eyes.

I am scared of falling. I do not know where this fear has come from, but I do not believe in being crippled by a fear. As we sat on the side of the plane to jump out I just prayed I did not pass out from this fear.

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I keep talking to myself saying it wasn’t that bad. Next thing I know we were free falling for about 1 minute. It was that bad. The worker kept telling me to look and smile for the camera, but I couldn’t.

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Falling and being in the air for that period of time I did not like. He pulled the parachute and we were just floating in the air, at this time I was ready to be on the ground. The worker did his very best to make me comfortable and kept asking if I was okay. The view was impeccable and I wouldn’t have wanted to see Cape Town from any other view.

I was pushed out of my comfort zone and I didn’t like that feeling, and that’s okay.SLR Pic 0054.JPG It is okay to step out of your comfort zone and not like it. I feel there is a lot of pressure to like everything that is amazing and loved by most people. I prefer being on the ground, and that’s okay. My friends enjoyed jumping out of the plan, and that’s okay. Right now at this point in my life I am willing to try everything. I do not know what I truly like and do not like; therefore trying new things is a must. I cannot form an opinion on things if I never give it a chance. My opinion on skydiving is I will stay on the ground. My life’s work is does not include me jumping out of anymore planes. I did not get over my fear of falling and that is okay. All I ask of everyone reading is to try new things. Do not let your fear cripple your actions; instead conquer your fears.SLR Pic 0119.JPGSLR Pic 0148.JPG

I’ll be staying on the ground for now

Until Next Time

Stay awesome,

Jill

Twenty and Completely Lost

I am 2 days away from being 21. I have grown so much in this last year, it is unbelievable. In my 21 years of life I have never experienced a year like this.  This time last year I had the worst birthday of my life, I found myself in a place I will never want to be again, but by the grace of God I am no longer there. It took jill10.jpgmany months of planning, and planning again, to finally realize that only God can steer this ship. If my plans had come true I would be at Valdosta State in my third year of schooling, and not traveling the world meeting amazing people. You cannot plan your life out, no matter how concrete you think your plans are.jill9.jpg

This journey has not been easy, it has taught me a lot. Here are a few of my favorite things.

  1. I can dance a little harder. I am gaining more Self confidence in everything. I love to dance, when I hear music I always move my body and have fun. I can make a fool of myself and honestly not care. If people do not like it they can leave.
  2. My dreams are bigger. Occasionally I will meet someone who is extremely happy and excited for what Something Amazing can/has become. Other times people who are very negative and very discouraging. I intimidate a lot of people because I am so focused and steadfast to my dreams. Through it all I can now proudly tell people that by the grace of God and a lot of help I am able to successfully run Something Amazing and impact many people’s lives.jill7
  3. Some people don’t have shoes. I have taken for granted the many things that is a necessity in life. My eyes are open to the fact that some kids cannot attend school because they can’t afford to pay the school fees. Some people do not have any food to eat or clothes to wear. I have taken advantage of the simple pleasure of an American life style that I will no longer do. I do not need a new fancy phone, or the latest Adidas stuff. Now of course there is always a balance to things in life, but I no longer see these things as a necessity.jill6
  4. Family is where the heart is. I love my family with my heart. They have supported, helped and loved me every step of the way. From my lowest moment to my highest moment they have stood by my side. We may not always agree, but I know it comes from a place of love.jill5

This year has giving me many trials, tribulations, happy and sad moments. In one year I have gone from being at college, to living at home helping my family out and getting myself together. I have taken the hardest college semester of my life in 6 weeks thinking I was going to fail to passing with great grades. I’ve been fired, because I was around small minded people that didn’t understand the art of traveling.  To having a job with people who understand, encourage, and pray for me while I travel.jill4 I’ve gone from not traveling outside of the country by myself before to being halfway around the world from my family. I’ve gone from being a girl with big dreams to actually impacting people’s lives and making a difference. I’ve gone from not having any kids to having eleven that I can love on. Many days I have cried myself to sleep not knowing where to go. Many days I’ve been so happy I couldn’t contain the excitement. Many days I felt like giving up, but through it all I never gave up.jill3

Through all of this, I am talking to the person who is in a roughest patch of their life and needs some encouragement. It gets better. If it doesn’t then get up do something different and make a change. You are NEVER stuck in a situation; In one year things can be completely different. I wouldn’t change anything I’ve gone through this year, because I wouldn’t be the person I am standing in front of you.

Until next time,

Stay Awesome

Jill

 

New Tackies

When I was younger and I needed new shoes we went to the store. I got to pick out the shoes with my favorite colors, or the ones that lit up when you walked. At the orphanage things are different, the majority of the clothes and shoes are donated. If someone out grows a piece of clothing or shoes then it may be handed to another child if it is still in good condition. We are now entering into the fall season, the South Africans are freaking out because it’s a little cold. With the season changing, the beds have thick blankets neatly folded across them. The kids are wearing long sleeves, sweaters, and long pants. Some of the clothes may not fit perfectly, some are a little too short or a little too big, but the kids stay warm.12939322_1134153516625517_1561254263_n

Yesterday “new” shoes were given out to each child, instead of measuring their foot to see what size they were, we had the children try on each pair of shoes until we found one that almost fit just right. The kids on the other hand loved their new pair of tackies (shoes). The kids were so excited to get a new pair of shoes and they only wanted to show off their pair. The reality that many of their toes were touching the top, many of the shoes probably were too small, but because that is what’s available no one can complain. One of my kids put on a shoe that was entirely too small, but because they were his favorite color and he liked the design he made his foot fit. Not until the next day could we give him different shoes that fit a little better.12939345_1134153733292162_978880902_n.jpg

Sometimes I reflect and truly realize how blessed I was
growing up. The last few months I have been walking around barefoot for majority of the day unless we go to the mall. One day, a staff member came up to me and pointed to her feet, they were slightly wider than usually, but nothing too bad. She then proceeded to tell me that when she was younger she never had shoes, because they couldn’t afford them. I never realized what I took for granted. Being in South Africa has made me appreciative of the little things in life. Everyone needs shoes that fit properly; that’s a necessity. Yes, some people take it for granted and have 50 pairs of shoes, but in reality some kids do not have any. Through this journey I am growing and changing. I cannot save everyone, but I can inform others. Maybe, someone with 50 pairs of shoes sees these blogs and donates a pair of shoes to a
kid with no shoes.

Until next time

Stay awesome12919163_1134154139958788_300617164_n

Saw a llama in the car being pretty awesome.

Jill Bundy

Easter Joy

This will just be a picture blog.

Something Amazing was invited to provide Easter eggs for a kindergarten class in a township. It was a great experience and I enjoyed playing with all the kids. Along with providing chocolate eggs we gave slime to the kids. Many of the kids had never toughed or seen slime before, their facial expressions were priceless. In South Africa they do not teach the kids English until about the 3rd grade, there was a large language barrier, but regardless of language barrier kids know when they are loved.

Regardless of the image perceived from a township, I felt the community and love through out the streets. The kids were adorable and completely lovable. The teacher was extremely thankful and welcomed us to come back any time.

The rest of the pictures I will post to Facebook follow the Something Amazing page, or add me as a friend Jillian Marie Bundy.

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Stay Awesome,

Until Next time

Jill

Don’t lose a kid

Today was a good day. After arriving, I heard the screams and cries of my kid’s in the background. I thought to myself today will be a great day.  Christine Revell relies heavily on volunteers in order to help the staff members with the daily activities of the kids.  In the winter months, the numbers of volunteer begin to decrease and ultimately zero out, which requires staff to make adjustments.  This is starting to happen now.  Last Friday three volunteers left to go back to their home country. This leaves me and eleven kids (3 and under) alone for lots of fun. Here is how a relatively good day usually goes.

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“AHHH!!!” screamed by six happy toddlers running towards me with open arms for hugs. I make a point to hug and kiss every child so that they fill just a hint of love and affection in the morning.   On a wonderful day, there is no fighting, biting or crying, but because we do not live in a magical world after five minutes of being in the room, I have broken up five fights and comforted three kids.  Now its time to play, whether it is blocks, puzzles, cars, or buttons there is always something for the kids.  Four kids truly enjoy the activity, three are crying for only God knows what, two that are fighting and two are just staring into space.  Already two kids have pooped in their diaper and three are running back and forth to the bathroom trying to play with the water. The trick is always trying to figure out which kid is the culprit.12516119_1119484481425754_484888323_n

The typical toy time though each kid; Sinclair (the Girl with Autism) sometimes is crying constantly.  There are days that nothing can calm her down. She will try to escape or climb all over the room and I always have to keep a close eye on her for her safety.  I must make sure she does not hurt any of the other kids because she is older and does not communicate so she is unable to articulate her feelings.  I must also watch out for Tyrese.  If there is a crying kid near him, he bites their arm to get the toy they are playing with.  Aiden and Asher are my troublesome two. The twins are constantly fighting and rough housing with each other causing one to cry.  Caleb and Bradley are screaming from excitement while playing.  Tatum and Pearle are usually having temper tantrums because they did not get their way. Kyle and Immunati are my quiet ones, but if they are crying, it is because one of the older ones was picking on them.  Lastly Karen (the youngest one), although she is the smallest she causes the biggest problems with swearing and hitting.

Lunchtime can be a struggle with only two people assisting. We always begin with folded hands and a prayer, “God is great and God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. AMEN”.  In about 5 minutes, food has been thrown all over the room.  Food is covering some of the kids from head to toe and some are crying because they do not want to eat.  I never realized how big of a difference fifteen minutes could be until I came here. 12834867_1119486858092183_604151860_n.jpg In fifteen minutes about eleven kids are fed, I have chased three around in order to get them to sit down and two have thrown food on the ground.  I also have placed five kids in their cots to sleep and chased the other five around in order to use the toilet.  Most days my prayer is just to not lose a kid, because the transition from eating to sleeping is extremely hard.  Luckily, I have not lost any kids, so my prayers are working.

After everyone is in their cot sleeping it is finally my break time.  It is only 12 pm and I had one eventful morning.  Even after all the running, screaming, crying, bathroom accidents, and different personalities I love all my kids.  My kids bring joy into my heart each day. I wouldn’t change my morning even if I could. I will say that after being at the orphanage for a few months I do not want to have my own kids for a very long long time.

Until next time.

Stay awesome

Jill

This is How Faith Works

Two months ago I came to Cape Town with big dreams and aspirations. I had no idea on how to accomplish them, but I was ready for anything. I wanted to impact a group of people through my words and actions. During these 2 months, I have had many opportunities to give the children all the love and emotional support that I was able to give.  I comforted them when they were sad, gave them big hugs and kissed them on their foreheads to feel better.  No matter what, I realize that no love is greater than the love of God. I pray every day for strength to give these children exactly what they need.12842545_1110284799012389_1256227138_o

Although love can help to patch many years of emotional damage, hugs alone are not enough.  The orphanage cannot survive off of just love; it needs donations to help with the expense of caring for 49 children.  After being at the orphanage for a few weeks, I observed that it needed many many things; even more than I could count. I spoke with the Director of the center about the greatest needs.  She gave me a list of items that was so great it blew my mind.  The list never seemed to end.  I knew Something Amazing or I could afford to provide all of the items on the list.

Here is the list:

·                     52 water proofs

·                     (Goes over diapers for baby to stay dry)

·                     6 laundry baskets
·                     50 packet nappy liners

·                     (liner for cloth diapers)

·                     52 plastic dinner plates
·                     10 serving spoons ·                     6 dust pans,
·                     Spatula ·                     2 feather dusters
·                     2 pots ·                     6 brooms
·                     Copy paper ·                     Material to make aprons for the kids
·                     2 Large Juice jugs ·                     3 Mini Juice Jugs
·                     4 bowls with utensils ·                     2 bowls with lids

 

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My faith was lacking. I had no idea that half way around the world a pastor, whom I’ve never met, was being inspired by what I am doing and was collecting donations to give to Something Amazing.  As I was counting my pennies to see what I could pull together, the donation was presented to me in order address the need. Excited beyond measure, I proudly told the Director that we could go shopping for everything on her list. It was shopping time! Four stores and two and half hours later, everything on the list was purchased along with a couple extra things.  The smiles on the faces of the staff made everything worthwhile.

I am human. I do not know how things will play out. I cannot read the future, but through faith great things get accomplished.  I am in awe realizing this cause; this company is bigger than just me.  The fact that I am inspiring people in different parts of the world to go explore, travel, and help others is astonishing.  Although my faith is becoming stronger as the days go on; I am forever thankful for everyone that prays for me daily.  Please continue to pray as there is so much to be done and so many to help.

Until Next time Stay Awesome Jill