A few days have passed since I left iKhaya le Themba. It is very difficult to become aware of the feelings and emotions which I was allowed to experience in the last few weeks, and even more difficult to express them in words. I want to get to the point: the first time I entered the project iKhaya le Themba, which means ‘home of hope’ it really felt like coming home. I felt an atmosphere I’ve never felt in an after-school- project before. Everyone is happy that you come here to this project, everyone welcomes you with so much love and you can really feel that they appreciate your courage to come to South Africa. So far away from your home country to help the children.

Before I started my journey I’ve read a lot about the culture and the people in this country. And I have to say, I was a little bit afraid because they were talking about crime, poverty, cruelty, physical abuse and illnesses. But from the time that I started to work with the children, I was getting to know them better and better. During this time, I never thought of these things again. The children gave me so much love and so many beautiful moments, I never thought of poverty or cruelty. It was very strange, even though I’ve known what is going on in their lives, I never noticed it meanwhile playing or learning with them.

Another experience I took home with me, was the fact about the attitude towards life. I always wanted to go to Africa one day. To teach children writing and reading, to give them hope for their future and so on. But the main thing that happened there was that I was taught by them much more than I taught them myself. They taught me the way to live your life. In Europe life is so stressful, everyone is thinking about going to work and earn money. In South Africa the children taught me that no matter what is going on in your life right now you can always be happy. You can always witness the beautiful things that are happening that can put a smile on your face. That’s the reason I think the European society can learn much more from the African, than they can learn from us.

At the end I simply want to say thank you, specially to iKhaya le themba. You gave me the opportunity to see a world, so much different from mine. I made memories that last a lifetime and above all, taught me for a lifetime. It’s really like Brian Jackman said once: ‘’Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same […]’’

 

~ Thank you so much, Vera