Opening ceremony of Inkanyezi Creche
If I think back over the past 21 months I’ve been living outside the U.S., I can think of many curveballs life has thrown my way. These include (but are not limited to): being homeless, being jobless, working illegally in three countries, bribing border officials to get out of one of those countries and most recently, being transferred from Mozambique to St. Lucia, South Africa for work. With the following photos as evidence, the latter has been one of the most rewarding curveballs to be struck by.
See the large WILD elephant to the far left? Yup, I stuck my hand inside his mouth.
I must admit first and foremost that I miss my African Impact project in Mozambique. I miss the preschool, the orphanage, the adult English classes and the beach. Most of all though, I miss the people I worked with and the friends I made while living in Vilanculos. It’s a small town with a big heart.
But in its own special, very different way, so is St. Lucia.
Face painting at holiday club in Khula township.
Like starting any new job (again), it’s a process. It takes time to learn the ropes, the roads and the protocol. My first two weeks here were spent on the highways between St. Lucia, Richards Bay and Durban trying to sort out a South African visa. [T.I.A.]
African Impact-St. Lucia staff and volunteers playing Bingo with kids at holiday club in Eswenelisha township.
Week #3 was my first week on projects here and with the help of the St. Lucia African Impact team (Carla, Alanna, Sofie and honorary team member, Michelle), we’ve guided 25 volunteers around two townships and ten project activities. These activities include: holiday clubs, clinic visits, home-based medical care, adult English classes, creche-building, gardening, HIV/AIDS classes, support groups and teaching at both preschools and primary schools. Pretty amazing stuff, no?
Look at who came to visit me!
Last weekend, Morgan drove the three hours from Durban to come visit. We sampled the St. Lucia cuisine, drove through a game park (and in doing so, ran into friends from Thailand!) and helped paint the inside of Inkanyezi creche. My partner in globetrotting couldn’t resist seeing another part of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.
Mama Gumede unlocking the door to the newly-built Inkanyezi creche. Over 200 people were in attendance at the opening ceremony.
It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in St. Lucia for a month already, but like any other day working with African Impact, I am constantly amazed by the potential for positive change in Africa.