South Africa – Returning Home

Posted on January 22nd, 2013 by

Thankful.  Thankful is just one word that sums up my experience in Cape Town, South Africa.  Upon returning home from South Africa a few days ago I have become aware and very appreciative of these benefits that I have received in South Africa and these that I have come to realize upon returning home.  Before going to Cape Town, South Africa I had just finished a very tough fall semester of junior year; I was counting down the days to get away from this stressful first semester! However, I knew that I was going to miss my boyfriend, friends, and family.  In fact, some days I would even wonder if I was going to miss something while being away or question how hard it would be being away from these people that I am used to seeing everyday.  I knew that this trip was going to be a trip of a lifetime and knew that it was only two and a half weeks—it seemed so silly that I was so sad to leave these people for only 18 days.   So, when the day came my fears were set aside and my eagerness fresh, we began our journey to South Africa.


While in South Africa I experienced so many amazing things; saw so many eye-opening sites, experienced so many new things, and made so many lasting relationships.  While experiencing, seeing, hearing, feeling all of these things I came to realize many things…   When we first arrived into Cape Town I remember driving past the townships and seeing these small shacks and within ten minutes of driving, being in the heart of Cape Town, seeing big houses, bigger buildings and the nicest cars: BMWs, Mercedes, and Audi’s.  I could not believe the very distinct lines between these communities and the different races that lived amongst these communities.  Then the next day we visited our first townships Lotus River and Khaylitsha.   I could not believe the conditions and the houses they were living in.  I was shocked.  However, despite these living conditions, I remember seeing this sense of community and happiness among the people because you could tell that they loved the people around them. Everyone was so free spirited and welcoming.  We then arrived at camp the next night.   And again I felt this same sense of community and happiness from these people; I felt this energy radiating off these kids and these camp leaders that was so contagious.  At camp I felt so alive, happy and free.  I met so many amazing people—people that will always have a place in my heart. Many times I had to step back and remember where these kids were coming from and remember that these kids that are so happy and fun are living in these horrible conditions that we had just witnessed a few days back.  Nonetheless, these kids were so thankful for what they had.  After seeing these townships I knew it wasn’t much but I could see that the little things that they did have they were so thankful to have and with that happy.   They make the things that they do have worthwhile.


After this trip, I can sincerely say that I am so very thankful I have been blessed with such an amazing opportunity.  I am thankful for the new people that I have met on this trip and am thankful for what this trip and the people during this trip has taught me.  I think about the things that I have compared to the things that the people that I met in South Africa and then I think about how much more thankful they were.  This really has opened my eyes and my mind.  I am thankful for those stressful moments of school because it means that I am blessed with an opportunity to go to college and get an education.  I am thankful for that fear of traveling because it means that I am blessed with an opportunity to be able to travel and experience new things.  I am thankful for the fear of missing people because it means that I am blessed with family and friends and people who are so very important in my life.  Like I said before, I knew that this trip was going to be a trip of a lifetime but I think that this statement even falls short of what this trip actually was to my classmates and me.  It was a trip full of lessons learned, lasting memories, lasting relationships; a trip not only of a lifetime but trip that we will never forget.



-Lizzy Kroker


































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