By Conor McAuley
Last year’s participant on The South Africa Connections Programme Conor will travel out again in November 2018 as a volunteer to assist staff with the planning and delivery of the programme for its second year.
‘’Words cannot describe the experience I had and certainly will not give it the justice it deserves. Hands down the greatest journey of my life so far and to think this is only the beginning. Some great memories and friendships have been made from this trip of a life time . From day one you could tell there was going to be a strong bond between both cultures because of how similar they are. The kids in the Isitumba village and community centre were truly amazing. Every child that we spoke to was so kind and thankful for anything we did for them and also we felt privileged for everything they did for us, every small gesture I am still thankful for.
The laughs I heard from these kids I will never forget, how playful and interactive they are despite the language barrier, contagious laughs 100%. From painting the walls inside to fixing the BMX track and building benches for the centre it was an incredible opportunity to give something back to them. I cannot thank the Isitumba people enough for welcoming us with open arms and with such generosity, their caring ability was second to none as they made us feel at home during our stay. Credit to each family that housed us and fed us daily, breakfast, lunch and dinner especially our host family who went above and beyond for us.
Overall this experience has definitely shaped and changed my character as a person for the better, it has opened my eyes to the reality that we can help others while helping ourselves and also get to see what life is like in places such as South Africa. This experience was life changing to say the least and already I cannot wait for 2018 and the years to come for this partnership to develop and flourish for both our communities.
Roll on the years to come, the future definitely looks good!
NLYC & ICDM 2018