Kristy Blog-The People of South Africa

During our time thus far in South Africa, we have had the pleasure of meeting wonderful and diverse South African people. Some of the particular events that stand out to me personally include working with the elderly people at the retirement community, the breakfast conversations we had with the men and women at Victory Outreach, the congregation of people at the Methodist Church and Baptist Church, and the people of the Township of Langa. One noteworthy event was our interaction with a group of South African people and how many of us did not know how to break the initial barrier. However, once one person introduced themselves and sat down with the elderly people at the retirement community, a ripple effect occurred and everyone began to immerse themselves and pull up a chair with the elderly people. Again this happened the next day while at Victory Outreach; when we first walked in, most of us looked uncomfortable and divided. However, we quickly began to immerse ourselves with the men and women in the room and learn about their stories. I spoke with a man who was very open to share his story with me. He told me he was addicted to drugs for nine years and was a “gangster“ who rapped about drugs, women, and murder. Many of the other people at Victory Outreach had similar stories. It was a very raw and humbling experience siting with each other sharing fellowship and communication together. This experience shows everyone how important it is to not judge a book by its cover and to never make assumptions about anybody. Had these men and women not shared their stories with us, we would have never known or thought anything of them. But I think because they were so open to share their stories with us, we felt very comfortable and together due to the open lines of communication we were able to break through to achieve. This also shows us how one bad decision can completely alter one’s life completely and how this can happen to anybody at any time in their life. The open and honest nature of the South African people at Victory Outreach was very touching and comforting and really said a lot about their character.

An additional experience that I found to be very impactful was the day we spent in the Township of Langa. The people in Langa were living in tiny houses and structures with many families combined together in one room. However, they were some of the nicest and most welcoming people we have encountered thus far. Many of us went in with pre-conceived notions slightly fearful there might be crime, harassment, or danger in the townships. We were wrong. People welcomed us with open arms into their homes knowing we look different than them and come from different backgrounds than them. This encounter and the day spent in Langa shows the wonderful personality and hearts of many of the South African people.

Overall, we have had great experiences meeting and interacting with the South African people. Our conversations with the people of this country have been so meaningful and these connections are what I will remember the most and bring back to America with me.
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