Oh, The People You’ll Meet

It seems strange that we have less than five days before we depart from South Africa. To me, it feels like a dream. How is it that it seems like yesterday wer were just arriving in Cape Town. The United States seems like a foreign, faraway place. It was recently that I fully acclimated to South Africa, and now I have to leave this beautiful country.

Being in South Africa has been full of fun and memorable moments. Some of the most memorable moments have been based on the relationships made during this trip. Some of the best relationships have been made with those who reside in South Africa. Belinda, the SHAWCO house keeper is amazing. Morning chats with Belinda brighten my day. Conversations can vary from weather to personal lives. Belinda is so kind and I appreciate and respect her. There is also Cecil, who has been driving the SHAWCO van since day one. Cecil has a great sense of humor and enjoys a good smoke. I trust Cecil with my life whe he is driving this van. He also has excellent advice. When we were at the marketplace, Cecil slyly whispers, “cut the price in half.” I appreciate and respect Cecil and will miss him.

Then there are my fellow GVSU students. How strange it seems that six weeks ago we were all strangers and now we are friends. We all have great memories together, like when we fit all ten of us in a cab and I have memories with each of them. Me and Kam when we intentionally slept in the middle of our beds in Johannesburg. Kayla and me getting exited in our robes at Aquila, everyday with Kassie at Manenberg, Zanda pushing me to go skydiving with her, me and Spencer being seat mates on the plane, POatt and me trying to make peace among everyone the night we were searching for food. Tee calming me down during lesson plans, Courtney dancing, and the night Bri and I switched dinners. All these great moments I wouldn’t trade for the world. It’s odd to think that all of us will go from seeing each other everyday for six weeks to barely seeing on another.

And then there are the learners of Manenberg. Oh, how I will miss them so much. I have been dreading the day we leave them. I have nothing to compare this to, but I do feel very fortunate with this group of learners! All of them are so sweet and are so unique. They all have a yearning to learn, even if they admit it or not. Although I love all of them, I will always have a special place in my heart for three in particular: Ebbie, Kesey, and Waven. Ebbie and Waven are my two learners, but I have gotten to know Keestyn very well because we all shared a table. All are lovely and I will miss them dearly.

Ebbie is such a treasure. The first day I met him, I knew I wanted to work with him. We had been doing math and Ebbie had been struggling. However, his perseverance and hard work were admirable. Ebbie values truth and honesty and is so genuine. He also has a smile that can lighten up a whole room. I wish him the best.

The there’s Keesty, who always seems to be in trouble. However, I just think he’s misunderstood and just wants attention because he may lack it in another setting. Keestyn is talented at drawing pictures and cracks me up. Keestyn is such a sweetheart. He is always the first to offer his chair and gives me advice on anything related to the other students.

Waven is an absolute joy! Waven is one of the smartest people I have met. He catches onto concepts quickly, especially in math. I love watching Waven do math problems and seeing him help others. Waven also has such a big heart. He is kind to everyone, even when they are not always kind to him. Waven also gives great hugs. I absolutely adore Waven!

The relationships I have made in South Africa will stay with me forever. I am so fortunate and privileged to have had this experience and have had the opportunity to form these relationships.



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