One of the icebreakers at All-Vol was sharing a highlight of our service. I was still in the middle of my site mess and could not name an moment on the spot. I would like to redeem myself now.
During my elongated stay in Pretoria, there was a camp for recently bereaved children (lost a parent since 2013) and child headed households. Given my situation at site, it was really good that I was not at the actually camp because something even better happened. I helped a part of the initial last minute logistics, but our substitute data staff stepped up and took my place. I mentioned in a joking manner that she should do so right before I left. The fact that she did makes me so happy.
When I see photos of her playing netball with the kids, it gives me hope in this organization and South Africa. I see why I became a PCV, to create opportunities for host country nationals to step up and help their communities. If I was at the camp, those children would have taught me a lot about resilience (which is more than bouncing back…but that is another post). However it is not just about me but also the children. Bottom line is that I can learn all the isiZulu I want, but I leave in two years and I will never be amaZulu. Having children find someone from their own culture to support them is more sustainable.
The same woman is going to be my counterpart/community partner for our upcoming training. We just hired another girl my age (ALLELUIA) for data entry and the counterpart just got a job in the lower valley at a school. I am excited for the opportunity to collaborate. If nothing else comes out of this, I have a path forward on how to do projects in the community.