These past three weeks in South Africa have been both filled with ups and downs and experiences that will forever alter my perceptions and perspectives about our all too big world. It was both a humbling and eye-opening experience that I will forever be grateful for. One of the most humbling things was teaching the kids how to play volleyball in our sports program– for some, who have never seen or heard of the sport – and seeing their improvement in skills and games over the two weeks. I found such joy when a girl or boy would tap me on the shoulder and I would look down to see them holding the new volleyballs we brought them, wanting to pepper or rally with me. I was also really happy to hear that the sports coach at the primary school wanted to start a volleyball team there since he played a little in high school. It felt good to help start something new and to bring something to the kids that made them happy. It also taught me patience since I had to break down basic skills and drills in very simple ways using limited and basic English when trying to explain something to them; however, it was a fun learning experience and challenge for me since I had to think of new and creative ways to explain volleyball to kids – something I’ve known my whole life.
“I hope to take all the lessons and experiences I learned and witnessed in Gordon’s Bay and Nomzamo and use this knowledge to help my own community.”
I hope to take all the lessons and experiences I learned and witnessed in Gordon’s Bay and Nomzamo and use this knowledge to help my own community. I found so many parallels and similarities in the township and their communities with American Indian reservations and community culture here in the US. One of my life-long passions is to improve reservation status and conditions as well as help children on the reservation to gain more access to education and athletic opportunities. Working in Nomzamo allowed me to see another culture and community face similar problems of my own people. Having this new worldly perspective, I aim to have a better sense of where to start in terms of figuring out how I can help Native American reservation statuses using the resources I have. I thank the kids and the people of Nomzamo for the knowledge and insight they gave me.