(When) We Were Half Way There by Abbey Bentley

         Woah! We’re Half Way There*

We are officially a little over half way through our South African experience. We’ve visited museums, had free nights to explore Cape Town and are starting to realize and appreciate the relationships we’ve been forming. It’s hard to imagine what life will be like after returning state side.
In Manenberg, where we spend our afternoons Monday trough Friday, is beginning to feel more and more like home. Our relationships with the the staff and learners are transforming from strangers from two different worlds into friends with a lot more in common than we could have ever imagined. Seeing these young learners grow has been an enriching experience for all of us. The learners are becoming more confident in their academic and social lives and we can already see how much the this visit has impacted them. The unfortunate reality is, in a few short weeks we’ll have to leave. The learners are aware that our time here is limited and we are quickly approaching the end, but that doesn’t make it any easier. We cherish each minute we get with our learners because too soon we will have 8,000 miles and an ocean separating us. 
Having spent roughly three weeks with the learners, we have been able to see the positive impact that’s have been made through the one on one time. Sinati Peter, a grade 6 learner in our class, expressed his appreciation to his GVSU student last week, “You know what I like about you guys? You don’t tell us we’re wrong, you tell us we have have to work on something.” At this moment, we were all reminded that the homesickness, late night lesson planning and stressful days are all with it. Hearing how much the students appreciate the time we’re spending with them gives us the ability to push on through the next few weeks. As the departure date gets closer and closer, we’ve began to accept that there will be tears on the day we leave, from the students and learners. 

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2 thoughts on “(When) We Were Half Way There by Abbey Bentley

  1. It is wonderful to read about the relationships you are building, I’m certain these are memories you will remember for the rest of your life.

  2. Abbey, your post really captures the “sweet” and the not-so sweet about the work in Manenburg: The sweetness of building and nurturing relationships with the not-so sweet knowledge that you will be leaving.

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