Today, I climbed Lion’s Head with my fellow Germans after work. The view from Lion’s Head was impeccable. Many people told us that Lion’s Head was difficult walk, but the view was worth the climb. For those of you that don’t know, I am afraid of falling from high heights; therefore I do not rock climb. On portions of Lion’s Head I was put out of my comfort zone and forced to rock climb. While looking at the route I became discouraged; and I thought to myself I cannot make it. In life when you are looking at the obstacles ahead, you become discouraged. Sometimes you don’t know how or why things happen, but you feel defeated before the race even starts. My thoughts were crippling my actions and making it hard to move forward on my hike. After a few deep breathes and focusing on one step at a time the route became clear and less terrifying.
Since coming to Cape Town, I have been challenged in many different ways. I no longer rely myself; instead I must have faith. I have been forced to look past all the trials and tribulations that have presented itself and keep a smile on my face. The first week at the orphanage I cried almost every day because I didn’t know how I was going to impact the kids’ lives. I didn’t know how God want to use me and in what way Something Amazing could help. Sometimes you may not know how it will happen, but that’s when faith comes in. Faith is that little piece of hope that you aren’t sure, how, or when something will happen but God will provide it. Instead of giving up, I am staying true to the course and will continue with my head up high. Just like my hike, sometimes when the route isn’t clear you just have to take it step by step.
Until Next time,
There is a South African philosophy, Ubuntu, which was widely taught by Nelson Mandela and many other inspirational figures. Ubuntu roughly means, “I am, because of you.” In order to impact the world you must impact a person; when you impact one person you then impact a community. Many people have donated to my trip and have sent many encouraging words. I want to publically say thank you, nothing anyone has done for me has gone in vein. The donations I received have put me in an amazing position to impact many children’s lives.
I love all of my kiddies from the top of my heart to the bottom of my feet. I give these kids all of my love each day. From the moment I walk into the room at 9 am, to the moment I leave the place at 4:30pm. Any one working with children will tell you that it is not a job for the weak at heart. Volunteering at Christine Revell is an extremely emotionally draining roller coaster that I must endure. For example, today the little boy, Immunati, he is a 2 years old and has been at the orphanage since the beginning of January and hasn’t made any noise other than crying. A 2 year old boy that does not make any joyful noises or say any words is a bit odd. Today his Aunt came to visit, in the beginning they discouraged the family to come visit because it was making the adjustment period worse for Immunati. In the last week, I have seen him smile, and today he actually started to make happy sounds while he was playing. The joy that filled my heart is something I cannot put into words. He has made such an amazing progress in the short three weeks I have been here. While his Aunt was leaving his cries were piercing to the ears and the heart; I can only imagine what his Aunt was feeling. Although Immunati may not truly understand what is going on now; she made an incredible selfless decision to give him a better home.
Nelson Mandela once told a reporter, “Ubuntu does not mean that people should not address themselves. The question therefore is, are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you, and enable it to improve? These are important things in life. And if you can do that, you have done something very important.” There are many days where at the end of the work day I am drained beyond belief, but because I was able to comfort one child it made it worth the while. These kids need me at my best; therefore I use my weekends to recharge and come back stronger than ever. The giant smiles I receive when I walk in on a Monday morning confirms my decision to volunteer here.
When there are good days, or slightly less emotional days I must write. I have been getting more comfortable with the children in my class, we play puzzle games, have story time and sing songs. Despite some learning delays in several children these kids are very bright, and they love to learn. I am also learning some Afrikaans, one of the 11 official languages of South Africa, from my class. I still struggle to understand what many of the children; including the older ones are saying to me. These children are absolutely little bundles of joy and brighten up many parts of my day. Today I learned that I cannot adopt several of the kids in my class because they will be returning to their family. *Does happy dance!!!* Many parents who place their children in Christine Revell’s Children home is because hardships have fallen on the family and they want to provide a better means for the child. It is a relief to know that the families are being reunited and whole once again. I cannot contain the joy that fills my heart knowing that there are many happy endings to a sad beginning.
I have been feeling slightly food sick, it’s kind of like home sick but with food. I miss all the artificial ingredients, MSG, processed foods and many other unhealthy things that are home to many Americans. It is very difficult going into a store and not recognizing any brands that are on the shelfs. I tried to pick up Ritz Crackers or something very similar and I ended up with this healthy, wheat, cracker. To my dismay I was very disappointed. The inability to knowing exactly what I am buying, leaves an uneasy feeling in my stomach. The food is very healthy in South Africa, it’s not processed as much and there are a lot more options for healthy eating. Besides missing the unhealthy food I am doing very well in South Africa. The volunteers at my host house rented a car so we are officially driving on the other side of the road.
Something Amazing is working very hard to figuring out ways for individual persons, businesses and churches to donate in order to help the orphanage. Due to the high cost of mailing packages we may be forced to take monetary donations. 100% of the donations will be going to the orphanage. We are still in the process of figuring out the best solution and avenue of helping. More information is to come, I just want to keep everyone update.
Until Next time
If you have ever wondered what genuine happiness is, follow your dreams. Since the beginning of high school I’ve wanted to travel. Since 11th grade year, I’ve wanted to teach abroad and since 12th grade I’ve wanted to start a non profit which would allow me to help others abroad. Each year the dream became a little more concrete. I won’t lie to you and say the journey has been easy. I won’t lie and say I haven’t called off the dream and chased the party life or money. But now living and breathing my dream, I know it’s something that I want more than anything.
This weekend I went to Muzinburg, with two Germans and an a fellow American. I had a amazing time falling even more in love with Cape Town. We went surfing for two days and it was such an amazing experience. Surfing truly teaches you perseverance as the waves and wind will knock you down many times, but all you have to do is keep trying. This weekend I found out my long lost hidden talent isn’t surfing. My goal is to still learn to surf while I am here, and I’ll keep trying until I accomplish that.
Also in Muzinburg I have an uncle who lives there. (Distant family, long story). Visiting him was really fun. I met a lot of people and everyone was very welcoming. We had a big braia (barbecue) for his birthday. There was a lot of singing and everyone is very talented in his family. It was a little difficult for both of us to understand each other but we persevered and figured it out. I enjoyed being welcomed with open arms into his family and definitively will be back again. Life is what you make it. If you don’t like where you are in life, then change it. There is not a single person stuck in a predicament that they can not change. I am glad to say this was the best decision I have made so far in my almost 21 years.
Until next time Jill