July 16, 2017
Today’s focus was “Quality education” and coming from a household that strictly believes in education, with parents who are constantly encouraging me and pushing me to do my best in school; it surprises me that many kids all over the continent of Africa do not have a fair and equal education system. When visiting the Hector Pieterson Museum I learned a lot about the South African Education before the end of apartheid and how the resistance of the past still affects the education system now. Even in the 1970’s there were funds that were given out to schools based on the race of their students. In 1974, schools that educated black students were deprived of funds; R644 was spent on white students while R45 was spent on the average black student. This helped ignite the fire that would later become the resistance, leading to the death of Hector Pieterson along with many other innocent people. The reason why these students resisted against the rules of the oppressor was because they knew that they had to preserve their culture and language and because without knowledge you are nothing. Poor children should be able to get the education that they need and deserve as this a basic human right. Without because knowledge and access to information they can do nothing. Without knowledge you cannot escape the hands of poverty. It was important for Hector Pieterson and his peers to fight and stand up for their right to be educated and taught in their native languages instead of being taught in only Afrikaans. It was their way of showing that they had a voice And to resist the language of the oppressor. Even though in the process people who didn’t deserve to die, were killed during the struggle, they achieved their goals when the laws were changed. Students in Soweto knew that their education was their key to success their way out of poverty, and the only way they could change their world for the better. I know that my education is the only way that I can change my community and have a say in society and this world. Yes I am a BLACK female, being raised in a middle class household, I am not poor and I am not rich, but I know that if I want anything in this life I have to get an equal and fair education. I do not deserve a lower education than those of my white counterparts. Nelson Mandela said it best: “ Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.
July 20, 2017
Today we went to an orphanage for abandoned babies. It was very overwhelming as we saw children who bore the battle scars that told a tale they could never say in words themselves. It is sad to think that there are children in this world who will never know their parents because of illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS and other diseases that take a toll on the very poor. As an American, it is now embarrassing when I consider how much I take having parents for granted, knowing that they will always be there for me. Today really made me think, “what would happen if they suddenly were not in my life?” “What if that was my life and I was like an orphan without the guidance of parents?” Coming across so many AIDS orphans, small babies and toddlers, who were living in such poverty and all alone really left me heartbroken by the end of the visit. My eyes filled with tears because I knew that although it would be beautiful to see every last one of those babies being adopted and living in a household with loving, kind, and caring parents, the reality is that not all of them will be that fortunate. Some of these children’s birthdays couldn’t even be identified as they were found in the street and the workers in the orphanage couldn’t tell us where some of the children were from. Seeing my teachers and peers get so attached to children they’ve never met, calling them their own, made me realize that I have a lot to be grateful for such as m parents and family. While at the orphanage I held this baby and got so attached to him that I almost cried when it was time to leave. He was so small and frail that I felt if I held him the wrong way he would break. He was 4 months old but looked as if he was 2 weeks old. Looking into his eyes I thought of the future he could have in America and the opportunities that he could take advantage of an ocean away. I started to relate this to my own life and how I should take advantage of all of the things that uplift my life and are basically handed to me. This made me take into account every time I didn’t thank my parents for doing their best or didn’t say “I love you” as often as I should. I began to feel guilty and knew that change starts with me. Yes, these babies and toddlers cannot change the situation they have been born into but I can make a change that starts with myself. While at the end of the day, I can’t change everything and everyone’s life I can start with my own. So my lesson of the day was change really does start at home with yourself so that you are one day able to help and change the lives of those who need it most.
July 18, 2017
Today is Mandela Day, a holiday that is celebrated by South Africans and other nationalities around the world. This day emcompasses service work and what you do for those living in your community and beyond. In those 67 minutes (representing the 67 years dedicated to service by Nelson Mandela) of service you should be thinking about the sacrifices that Mandela made and his heart for reconciliation and forgiveness. That’s what makes this day so vital, especially in the lives of South Africans no matter what their age. The fact of the matter is that without the guidance and help of Nelson Mandela, millions of Black South Africans would still be experiencing racial segregation. When celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela and appreciating his influence in South Africa and on the rest of the world, I felt a sense of love and community that I have never felt before anywhere else. Mandela was South Africa’s messiah as he rescued them from years and generations of oppression. I am appreciative of this day because it is my opportunity to help as many people as I can and I am thankful for the gift of service that has been given to me and people all over the world because of the legacy left behind by Nelson Mandela. He said it best when he said “ It always seems impossible until it’s done.”