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.

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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

 

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

 

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

 

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

We are Lost.

 

Day 1.

Three Germans and an American have set off onto our crazy road trip along the coast of South Africa. It is scary to think we rely on my English to help get us through our trip. The different mix of personalities should make this trip very interesting.  I have never been on a road trip with friends before so this is all very new to me. We plan and plan, but it is very obvious our calling in life is not to be travel advisors. In the first 15 minutes we missed our exit and got turned around. The next 45minutes we were going in the wrong direction.  Eventually we found our way . The way consisted of driving for an hour on dirt roads and missing the exit, but we were finally on our way.

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I tend to meet more people who have no idea where they are going in life then those who have everything planned. Obviously ,there is no right or wrong way to go about life. Along our travels we stopped in Betty Bay, Hermanus, the Southernmost point in Africa and Mussel Bay. Each of these small towns held foreigners and locals all just seeking a life filled with in seeing something different. I find family where ever I go whether in the big city or small villages.

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The extreme difference between the less fortunate and the wealthy is the hardest thing for me to understand while being here. The most interesting thing I have seen is the beautiful multi-million rand (South Africa dollar) houses sitting on the coast, only 500 meters away from people living in tin shack houses. The small tin houses have limited water and electricity. While travelling into the rural parts of South Africa we have passed many people walking on a road that is many kilometers away from any towns. Nobody knows how far or how long these people have been walking, it could be hours or even a few days. I guess the important part is they always find their way. Regardless of how the journey begins or ends things tend to fall into place.

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At the end of my trip I will post a rough itinerary that we followed/Got lost on. I’ll include the many different hostels and activities that we have completed on this crazy trip.

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

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