South Africa Reflection: Coraya Danu-Asmara

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The trip to South Africa was not a vacation. It was not voluntourism.  It was journey and experience in which we listened and observed. We helped local charity projects, but we did not run them, we did not do anything out of our skill, like building a house. The most involved missions were deliving food, which was actually done by the church group, and we simply listened in on their home sermon, and helping at a Chinsta soup kitchen, in which we played with children and cut vegetables. We visited Calabash tours, our tour groups, work in the local school, and the private institution of Ubuntu, an impressive and sexy building, filled with skills classes, clinics, and dance groups. Sounds like we did not do much, huh? This trip was not about how many children we could feed, how many groceries we could deliver, or how many schools we could visit. This trip was not a pat on the back for good work to help those little poor brown children in Africa. This trip was a learning opportunity to hear the stories of those in South Africa affected by the Apartheid, affected by poverty in their townships, and those who wanted to see change in their own communities. We learned about how these people were helping their own communities, and how from what they are doing, we could learn how to serve and help our communities. Their actives would have continued on whether or not we had chopped those vegetables or delivered that rice, they would have been feeding those people, giving their own communities support if we had come or not, and so we were honored to have been able to see these people fight for each other first hand. It was an honor to hear the tragic and painful stories of those young and old in a country struggling to patch up intense racial tension and segregation, just like our own country. It was an honor to see history that happened as recently as 20 years ago, and only as long ago at 100. It is an honor to bring these teaching back to our community here.

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