I Almost Gave Up

You read that correctly, after one week I was ready to pack my bags and head to Zimbabwe. This trip is physically and mentally straining to my body. Malawi is a beautiful country, the scenery, the school and the people are all amazing.18641948_1619034941470703_1323574918_o.jpg Riding my bike to school for forty minutes, past beautiful mountains and many Maze (corn) fields is absolutely breathe taking. Saying, “Mwawuka,” (Good morning) to every person and they respond, “Nauka Makola Kwalimwe” (Good morning, I am Fine) gives me a sense of being welcomed into the community. Having all the students run towards you as you ride into school. Or all the students staring while I speak English, gives me a sense of curiosity from the students. Coming home to a wonderfully cooked meal by my Host family and eating dinner together as family. Gives me a sense of a family away from home. Even though all of these things happen daily; a large part of me struggled this past week.

Many times a Malawian sees a foreigner, they think they have money. It has been embedded into their minds that foreigners will give them whatever they ask for. This is extremely difficult for me because many people want to take advantage and lie about their particular situation in order to get money out of you. I have offended people by saying I do not have whatever they are asking for, or told them no because they wanted something of mine(ex. a headlamp, water bottle, my back pack). Teaching at the school was wonderful. There are many loving teachers and students, but many things that hurt my heart as a raising teacher. Many of the students lacked writing utensils, notebooks, textbooks, desk or anything to sit on. 18618263_1619035604803970_1463776994_oThe way that the students must learn is through memorization because there is only a textbook enough for the teacher. Many times teacher will show up to school an hour late or not at all. This makes learning disruptive, or for that day there is no learning that happens. These are  systematic problems that needs to be address. 18676414_1619034668137397_1829814098_o.jpg

The moment that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, was this weekend at the campsite. The campsite was beautiful with Lake Malawi, the lake of a thousand stars, only a 100 yards away. At the campsite, because it is an hour or so away from the village (far away from a town), the food selection was very limited, no electricity, or a lot of running water. I find comfort in food, especially in a period of adjustment. At the campsite we had little fish with eyes in tomato sauce, pap (which is corn flour and water mixed together, very tasteless) and a larger fish(Almost for every meal) (picture below)18641289_1619034498137414_1257772618_o.jpg
. I physically could not make myself eat the food although I hadn’t eaten all day and we were doing physically labor in the sun. Mentally and physically, I was drained and did not think I would be able to last two and a half months in Malawi. I was 5 minutes away from packing my bags and calling a quits. Although I know I can’t leave because I have participants depending on me to be here while they come; I felt defeated. After eating a cookie, some plain bread, and getting a few encouraging messages I felt better. I know giving up is not a solution and pressing forward is all I can do. It is only week one and it can only get better from here.18618591_1619034634804067_1283581524_o.jpg

This journey is not easy, and I never thought it would be, but I could not have prepared myself for how Malawians live daily. I am a privileged American. I do not have to struggle to find food. I do not have to worry about whether I will eat in the morning.  I do not have to worry will we have electricity this month. I do not have to worry about walking to school for hours at a time. I do not have to walk a long distance just to get (sort of) clean drinking water. Many Malawians go through these daily/hourly struggles.

Continue to pray for me, and send your good thoughts my way. Encouraging messages do help me through difficult patches. Remember to subscribe to my website on the bottom right hand corner. Follow me on Facebook: Jillian Marie Bundy or Experience Something Amazing, as well in order to get daily/every other day updates.

Unitl Next time

Stay Awesome

Jill

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to the Warm Heart of Africa

First I want to remind my readers that the stories I tell are the experiences I personally will have here in Malawi. This does not mean that all of Africa is this way, nor does it mean that all of Malawi is this way. Take my experiences as the ones that I am having and a way to look into the cultural that I am experiencing. I cannot control how anyone else experiences this culture.

Now that we cleared that up Welcome to the warm heart of Africa. Warning this is a slightly longer blog, I have to set up a picture for where I now live.18425441_1609916895715841_6276927885018141116_n

Malawi is not similar to any other place that I have been to. It is very difficult for me to explain, but the best way to describe it is from my German friend, Tarik, “It is like you are watching a documentary on Africa and you are sucked into the television.” Everyone is walking on the roads. Many people are selling fruit and vegetables on the side of the road. There are many women walking with large baskets and water on their heads back to their homes. These are just a few sites that are very normal to see here in Malawi. While driving from the airport it was a five and a half hour drive on bumpy, uneven pathed roads, with no street lights once it got dark. Many of the villages that we passed had straw roofs, tin roofs with bricks holding the tin in place, dirt floors, and no windows. This is a very big culture shock to me.18493844_1610866588954205_1983722869_o

During the car ride, I was mentally preparing to endure whatever house we pulled up to for the next few months. Before arriving I was so scared to get on the plane to come to Malawi. As I explained last year I do not like operating in fear.18516478_1610866658954198_508866459_o Thankfully my house has running water, electricity, cold clean drinking water, regular showers (only cold water, unless you want to heat up water then using it like a bucket shower), a normal toilet and lots of food. The unknown before coming put a lot of fear into my mind and heart. “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Now that I am here and settled there was no reason to even be fearful. One thing I am trying to conquer is the spirit of fear, over the next few months that will be my personal project. Even If I was in a less than desirable situation, I can always adapt and make the best out of any situation.

Everyone is extremely friendly and want to talk to me because I am a foreigner. Many people call me a “Mzungu” which means “white person.” I usually reply, “Nakhana, Mzungu” which means “I am not white” and everyone than smiles and laughs. Simple tasks tend to become a long process due to the lack of conveniences. Today, we washed the dishes from last night and this morning. First, we took all the dishes outside and used the water spicket that was alongside the house. We then took one large tub and filled it with water and the dirty dishes, and then had a smaller tub filled with water. Since we could not find the rag we cut some net and used it to scrub the dishes.  Although the process from here was similar to washing dishes in the states; the convince level of having water in the sink was taken away. Another example is cooking, my beautiful house mom must cook everything outside on two heated coals. (shown in the picture below).18519050_1610866448954219_706205587_o

I have only been in Malawi for a few days now, and I am enjoying every bit of it. Tomorrow I will start teaching in the school. I spoke to the headmaster, Mr. Kwakwa and explained I am studying at a University to become a special education teacher. He was so happy because none of the teachers at the school is qualified to teach students with special needs. Mr. Kwakwa told me he will give me all the students that are special and have me teach them. This includes the blind, none of my classes has prepared me to teach brail, but we shall see how school goes tomorrow.

Until next time,

Stay awesome

Jill

Let’s Clear the Air

There are many misconceptions of mission/volunteer/humanitarian work whatever you want to call, the work that I do. I just want to clear the air before I head off on this amazing journey for the second time.18301120_1649851021696006_3439531867577645604_n

First, let’s conquer the things I am not. I do not think I can save the world. I do not think I can save Africa. I do not think I can save Malawi. I do not think I can save Rumphi (the village in Malawi I will be in). This is not a self-fulfillment trip.   I am not going over with the western mindset of “this is what these people need.” I am not going over to Malawi throwing money at the people saying, “This will help you.” Why are you going all the way over to Africa to help somebody? I am not going over there to die. I am not going over there to take jobs away from the local people. I am not going over to do more harm than good. This trip is not the first, nor the last trip of its kind.18342188_1597332310307633_5476053124544942058_n

Now, I know what you are thinking, “Jill, I never thought you were doing any of those things.” Well, these are questions/statements I am faced with almost every day since I decided to go to South Africa a year ago. For those that do not know, I am going to Malawi (a landlocked country in the southeastern part of Africa near, South Africa) with my non-profit, Something Amazing, for 3 months. This is my second trip, however, this is Something Amazing’s first group trip that will have two people accompanying me throughout this journey.

My big vision for Something Amazing is to make lasting programs that anyone can continue:

  1. Send more students to school/college on scholarship
  2. Create a breakfast program for the students to no longer be hungry for school.
  3. See what the access to health care entails- with the goal to educate and create a volunteer program.

Now, let’s focus on the things I personally will be doing while over in Malawi. I want to get to know the people, by name. I want to learn what it is like to live below the poverty line. I want to shine a light to the joys and happiness that even at the lowest times people have. I want to learn the needs of the people from the people and officials. I want to learn to play soccer from the school kids. I want to love on each child like he/she is my own. I want to teach the kids how to play UNO. I want to shine a light on a little unknown corner of the world. If I come back and I have impacted one person, one child then I completed everything I went over there to complete.18301195_1595435813830616_2976358664684485220_n

Also I want to thank everyone who has sent encouraging messages and have personally called me a superhero. It means a lot and helps me dearly when I am struggling to get ready for this trip. Last year my cheering section was a handful of people. This year I have a full stadium, and I am ready to take you on this journey with me.

 

 

T-minus 1 day until I leave.

Until next time,

Stay Awesome,

Jill

Dani Conquers the World

For those who are unaware, Something Amazing is featuring people who are volunteering in many different places around the world and their experiences and feelings. Here is post #2 from Dani on her recent volunteering/mission trip in Ghana. She explains exactly how many feels after coming home from a volunteer trip. She is a 21 year old Medical Student at Valdosta State:

  1. Volunteering is something that I have been doing for a hot minute now, and there are so many emotions that I go through every time. If that’s a trip abroad or a trip within the States… it still the same. Just this summer, I went to Ghana with a company called Cross-Cultural Solutions for two weeks. And yet again — same feeling.13466002_10209485850048824_1022366100914028091_ndani 4

1) The feeling of it being just a long dream.

Coming back home is as much of a culture shock then getting there. To be honest I feel more of a culture shock coming home then when going over there. It’s a strange feeling because it makes you realize how much we have. The amount that we take for granted is insane, and the luxurious that we have are incomparable.
It seems like another world, when it’s just in fact — ours. It’s not another world, it’s our world as a whole.
Everything is so different and it’s insane to say the absolute least. You can picture your memories in your head, you have photo evidence, and it really happened.

Coming back seems like you just woke up from a really long dream — It’s back to reality.

Which doesn’t make sense right?  — This is reality as much as that was reality. It wasn’t a dream…. but it damn sure feels like one though.dani 3

2) The feeling of disappointment

It will always change your life in a “positive” way — they say
I have done many volunteer works in many places, abroad and around the country. The feeling of awestruck and wanderlust kinda just stick with you. You keep these memories close to your heart. These are the ones that you tell the rest of the world about.
For the most part, volunteer trips make a positive impact in your life regardless if that’s due to the cultural immersion, the projects you work on, or the people you interact with.
But this time, it was a little different.

I feel disappointed.
No, not cause of the trip, or my time abroad. It’s cause it opened up my eyes to how much we suck.
I’m disappointed in us.
Us — as in “Americans” — and I put quotes around it because I don’t just mean the people in this area. I’m talking about people in general, no matter what country they are from…
The one’s who decide to turn their head when they see poverty. The one’s that choose to be in their own little world, and refuse to open up to the rest of this amazing place we call Earth. The one’s that are so consumed with their life, that they can’t open it to others. The one’s that close their mind, and don’t see what’s really out there.

The sad reality is, coming back home made me realize HOW MANY people are like that.

and it’s disappointing.dani 2

3) The feeling of confusion

The fact is, we are better off in one area of the world and we have so many resources and means to things. I was one of 16 others out of this side of the world to go to Ghana through this company. Compared to the pure population in the United States alone, the amount that volunteer in a place abroad is so minuscule it genuinely breaks my heart.

Why does it have to be like that? — I’m just so confused.

Our land is as much theirs, as theirs is ours. Well, in the grand scheme of things. We’re all human. Human. 
It’s the need. The need just to get everyone on the same page.
No — not on and socialistic standard, or any politically affiliated idealism. I’m talking about the human standard… The achievement of happiness, of unity, and the respect of all life no matter where or who you come from.
It really opened up my eyes to how much we need to change, how much we need to grow, and how much we need to learn.
We’re all the same species you know? — we have the same biological systems, the same make up, the same basic human needs and wants.

So why doesn’t everyone just help out their fellow human? — I’m just so confused.dani 8

4) The feeling of being useless

It felt as if you didn’t even change anything.  Yeah, I might have dug some trenches in my day, I might have helped a student read, I might have helped someone walk again, but it feels like I haven’t done anything. The needs are so great, and I can only do so much. One person can only do so many things.

I feel so useless. — like what I’m doing isn’t changing anything, and there is too much suffering and pain in this world for us to overcome. There is so much to do and I feel so overwhelmed with emotions. I feel so small and I feel so…useless.

But the thing is… those relationships that you build with people, the laughs that you share, the stories that you tell, the tears you shed and the comfort you find in others… that’s what matters. That’s what is useful. We might not be able to end world hunger in a snap of our finger. But we can feed those around us. It doesn’t have to be with food either, we can enrich those around us spiritually, emotionally, and much more. We have to be there for each other and we have to make the ones around us the best that they can be, so that they can in turn do the same to those around them. So really in fact, we are all useful.dani 7

5) The feeling of not having a home

The home is where the heart is.

My heart reaches out to the Nicaraguans in La Chuscada getting their school built. My heart reaches out the the Afghan students learning how to read and write. My heart reaches out to the Ghanan physiotherapy patients learning how to walk again. My heart reaches out to every American that is on the street begging for their only dollar. My heart reaches out to the kids at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta battling whatever they got as hard as they can. My heart reaches out to all the other hearts that feel pain, and feel empty.
So if the home is where the heart is….

I don’t have a specific home. — None of us should have a home, and by that I don’t mean a place to lay your head down. Everyone needs that, but not all actually have it. None of us should have a set place for our heart, our hearts should flow into others and show that only love can save this world. The world that we can all call home.

Jill here again: share, comment, and like Dani’s love and passion as she travels. Make sure you are following our

Facebook page  Something Amazing and my personal Instagram: Maybeits_Jill

Stay Awesome!

Jill

Samekh Takes over Peru!

Something Amazing will be featuring people while they slowly take over the world while volunteering. Here is our first entree.
Hola from Lima, Peru!smaehk 4
My name is Samekh Ward, and I am 20 years old! Currently, I am participating in a month long mission trip in Peru, and it has been a life changing experience. I am here through a organization called Buckner International. They have a section of their organization called Project Go and that is the group of college students I am apart of. I was here for a month last year and I loved it so much I had to come back. We are able to help the community in different ways while we are here. We mainly worked at the two family hope centers, Buckner has established in Peru, Villa Hermosa and Pamplona. This year we have painted rooms, did VBS with kids 2-6 years of age, and did a new project called Healthy Homes!samehk 6
The Healthy Homes project consists of us going into the homes of the people of live in Villa Hermosa and helping to clean up their homes and do whatever we can to help them improve their lifestyle! Also short term groups will come for a week, and we are able to help them out with whatever minister that are doing! Usually they are the groups to go into orphanages and have VBS with the kids so it is cool to be able to participate in those moments. I have been so blessed to work with the Buckner staff another year! This experience has been so humbling for me, and there is no other place I rather be right now. I have grown to love the amazing people of Peru!samekh 5
Here is one entree from my travel journey:Friday
This day was pretty much the same as most of the other days this week except for the fact that this was the last day for our Healthy Homes project! It was definitely bittersweet leaving the home for the last time but knowing the family appreciated our hard work was rewarding. Also knowing that they were going to keep up with improving their home is a blessing!samehk 5

Saturday – Zoo Day!
We took the kids from both Pamplona and Villa Hermosa to the zoo! The kids were sooo excited because it was the first time they had been out of the places where they live! I rode the bus with this little girl named MariaFe who I remembered from last year. When we got there we were asked to take the hand of two kids and keep them with us all day. So in a sense they were our children for the day. I had MariaFe and this other girl Tamara. MariaFe was pretty chill, but Tamara is a different story. She kind of reminded me of the little girl Brisa that I told you guys about last year. I thank God for my experience with her all the time and He has given me the peace and patience I need everytime I ask Him. When we got off the bus and were lining up, she came to me and took my hand. I was a little nervous about having Tamara because she is one of our little runners and can be mean to the other kids at times. At the zoo, I saw another side of her! She was scared at times and wanted me to hold her as we walked from animal to animal. I definitely prefer to hold her versus her running around everywhere. Since she wanted to be held most of the time I was able to let MariaFe walk with another member of Buckner and focus mainly on Tamara. It was cool tho because during lunch she came and found me to help her open her drink. Then during the time the went to play, she came and found me if she needed anything. On the bus ride back, I had MariaFe with me again. She played games on my phone then feel asleep on my lap!

This week has been awesome and it’s kinda crazy to think week 2 is coming to a close.

samekh 1

Volunteering abroad has definitely widen my perspective of the world. It helps me understand that not every culture is the same and we all do things differently. The language barrier was definitely difficult at first but after continuing to remind myself what I’m doing this for, God gets through by my actions.
Jill here now: I am beyond excited to hear about people’s travels and journeys as they discover themselves in different ways.
Until Next Time,
Stay Awesome,
Jill

 

Father’s Day Let’s Celebrate!

Fathers do not get the warm welcome of being thanked on this holiday.
Many families have been broken by absent dad5fathers. Children have grown up without a father figure making these people bitter on this holiday. I sympathize with these people, but today is for the fathers. I will be celebrating my father along with all the other fathers who are trying their best in their child’s life.dad6

Let me tell you about the wonderful person I call dad. He came into a family that was already made. The first day we met my older brother, Corey, shot him with a water gun and I threw a plastic knife at him. If on the first day he could handle anything thrown at him we knew he needed to be a part of this family.My dad is a man of few words. He loves differently than any other person I know. He is a person who shows his love. Through the many years of happy and crazy times he has always been there for me. .From the time I came home crying because some boy in the neighborhood said he was going to punch me in the face. To the time I left for my first trip abroad. I love my dad for always standing by me in difficult situations. For always be the person I turn to when a giant bug is torturing me. Or when I have a difficult life decision and he just stares at me while I am rambling.dad3

Step Fathers do not get enough credit. These are men who have many different roles. Apart from being the man of the house, taking care of the family, and all other responsibilities, He steps in when a space is vacant. He did not have to step into our lives when he did, but I couldn’t imagine our lives any different. I thank you for everything you have done. As I said in my Mother’s day blog, I am not the easiest person to be a parent to. Therefore for someone to have stuck around this long and continued to love me even when I say weird things.dad2

I love you dad,

I hope you enjoy your day.

Stay Awesome

Jill

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

 

Momma, I love you

Traveli10649592_1021759551171826_7770516869546408654_nng is something no one can express, you see the happy pictures, the many destinations that are reached, the smiling faces, but there are things that aren’t shown. When travelling I miss out on a lot of things. While preparing to embark on this journey I never took into consideration what I will be missing while away. I miss food, gr
aduations, holidays, birthdays, weddings, and many other things. This year I have missed graduations from many of my close friends and now I am missing a second holiday. I miss the food that we have during these celebrations and the faces of those I love while they are accomplishing a remarkable transition in their life. I wouldn’t trade anything in this world but to be where I am now, but when holidays or special occasions roll around I do start to miss home.

Today is mother’s day and I am half way across the world and I know that saddens her. Having a child that travels and lives life day by day to the fullest can make ones heart cringe. I give my mom a heart attack at least 50 times a day.GOPR1839[1].JPG I remember sometime last June I woke up one morning and declared I wasn’t going back to school in January. This was not an easy conversation for either of us and she completely disagreed and let me know her opinion. I do not need a mom that allows me to run in the street like a wild child; instead someone that challenges my thoughts and pushes me to be better. One of the things I will never forget in the mist of one our heated conversations when she told me, “Go take a slow boat to China for all she cared.” I know she cared whether or not I took a boat, but it’s what I needed to hear. The tough love and affection my mom has shown me through every stage of this journey and life has helped me become something incredible.jill.jpg

Today on this day, hold your mom a little tighter because she has dealt with all the crazy things you have thrown her way. Make her dinner, buy her flowers, and show her that you care about her. I am not the easiest child to be a parent to and I am so thankful that she is my parent. She continuously prays and encourages me through any situation. I have seen her do selfless acts like take the smaller portion of food. Although we do not really enjoy the same things; I loved the times we spent together. As I grow older our mother daughter relationship improves and continues to get stronger. There isn’t much I can do for my mom on this day, but I hope this makes me you smile.

By the way the road trip Is going great Ill update you shortly on my adventures.

Until Next Time,

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