As the plane touched down in South Africa my nerves quickly grew and my mind began to wonder. I was eager to return to the city of the motherland, which had welcomed me with open arms, this time last year. Reflecting on what had brought me back I remembered a conversation I had with a dear friend of mine. It was during graduation, right before we walked the stage and received our degrees. As we spoke about my experiences which drove my decision to reapply for the program, I confided in her the guilt I felt about the financial burden this trip caused for my and I. My friend reminded of something I had forgotten since returning to the busy city of San Francisco. A piece of me that stayed behind in the township of Vrygrond…..My heart
This transformative experience which impacted my perspective on life and the way I view teaching. Here, I connected with individuals who no matter their circumstances, valued their well-being and always were hopeful for another day. This allowed for the opportunity to form true and sincere relationships, which blossomed into a sense of family as the first week of my trip came to an end.
During our meet and greet with all of the principles of the creches and staff members of True North, the principle of Rainbow Educare shared a few words. As the room fell silent, I felt a sudden change in energy. She began by welcoming everyone in the room, then said a special thank you to our group of brave, and generous San francisco students. She continued to share words of encouragement, and read a poem that was near and dear to her heart. As she spoke, I was reminded of why I chose to return to South Africa. It was the power that love holds on the world, and those around us. This same power transcends the township of Vrygrond and the SFSU students, every year.
I am grateful that although this is my second time back, it still feels like my first. This years group, of amazing educators brings forth a new and powerful force, of unstoppable change agents. We are eager to gain an understanding of the community we serve, as well as collaborating on our wealth of knowledge, to create sustainable resources for not only the children and teachers, but for the families.