“Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.”
–John F. Kennedy 1963
Change. Not many people are okay with the word or the action. Personally, I think change is good. It’s fine to be scared of change, to feel unsure, but at the end of the day you have to realize that everything in our life changes. On the flight back to New York, I watched a documentary called “I Am Because We Are.” It was written and produced by Madonna, and brings to life the situation in Malawi Africa, the third most impoverished country in the world. In the film, she highlights the amount of children who have lost their parents from HIV Aids. Out of the 12 million people living in Malawi, one million are orphan children. As I watched, I began to think about my experience working in the township. In the beginning, I was worried that I should be back in America helping out on my own soil. Selfishly, I want to travel the world and would have probably gone to teach anywhere but in the United States. This documentary depicts how no matter where we are, or what we do, we are all humans. We all need food and water to live, we all need shelter to keep us warm and we all “bleed the same color”. By helping the children of South Africa, I am helping our world. We all live in this world together and we should all want to make it a better place. As cliché as it sounds, I honestly just want to be a part in changing the world and making it better. The thought of going back home to “reality”, to work and find a new apartment in the big city is exciting…but I’m not sure it’s what I “need” anymore. Every person in this world needs a chance and in the situations that I’ve seen and experienced over the past month, not everyone gets a chance. At the Wes-Eind school there were several boys who would walk around all day long. No one told them to go to class, they misbehaved whenever they were in class, and could not even add and subtract. When Nick and I asked a group of them why they’re never in class they would shrug, laugh and not seem to care. We asked them what they want to do when they grow up and they just laughed. One of the boys responded by saying he’s just going to work on a farm…. most likely following in his parent’s footsteps. The other two boys didn’t really even have a response. There is no one around to tell them to dream big…. to even dream for that matter. No one shows them that there is more to this life and that they can be confident, intelligent and successful. These kids, and every child need to be told to dream. The problems in this township and the majority of the impoverished parts of Africa are obviously far beyond my measure and control, but if everyone took some time out of their day to pay attention to the world around them, we will all help each other. All it takes is change. I’d like to be that change. Think about it, I am because we are.
So I leave Africa knowing that I’ve helped in some small way, but that it’s just not enough. I plan on working for The Kusasa Project again in the near future and trust me… I will be back.