The Ten Days That Changed My Life by: Rayonna Grey

Im in the 7th grade at Capital Prep in Harlem. My favorite subject is science and I want to become a psychologist when I grow up because I enjoy listening to people. I believe I will be very good at helping get people through tough times in their lives. I am really excited to be going to South Africa and I expect to come back more mature than I already am and I expect to have a wonderful experience there.


Rayonna Grey

July 14, 2017

Being a part of Journey for Change these past two days have been a wonderful time for me. Yesterday was out first full day and we did many wonderful things. When we first arrived, we ate lunch and went back to our dorms.  We then had a great ceremony where we learned about H.I.V/AIDS and how so many children have been orphaned because of the disease.  We then met the kids from Diepsloot who are going to be apart of the Journey for Change program and we got to know them better by asking questions and also answering questions that they had about us.

Then today we woke up and got ready and headed out to Diepsloot, an area that is very poor with people living in shacks.  We talked to them and found out their basic needs and the struggles in their lives living without food, electricity, and water. We went to about 3 different houses and met many family members, took pictures and really saw how they lived.  It was pretty sad to see grandmothers and small children struggling this badly and with very little people trying to help them.

In conclusion, the experience so far with Journey for Change has definitely been something to remember. ‘Ive only been here for two days and for me this has been tremendous. We learned a lot of life lessons here and there are many more to come.

Rayonna Grey

July 15, 2016

Today was an amazing day for  me because i got to go and visit the gogos again today and get more information. It was easier for me today than it was yesterday because we have been there before so we actually knew what to say and write down.The first family that we met was an elderly woman who helps raise her daughter’s 2 children.The kids parents passed away. She has been living in Diepsloot for 20 years and raising her daughter’s children for 8 years. She actually has 7 kids but they all died except for one.  Her biggest fear is that one day someone will break into her house and steal things and rape her and her granddaughter because violence against women is such an issue .Simple things that she needs are food, clothes, and school supplies. Water is sometimes an issue.

The next Gogo’s  home that we visited was Tsholofelo Maake and she has lived in Diepsloot since 2009. She moved there when her granddaughter’s mother passed away. She likes to sew  for fun and use to work as a domestic maid. Tw of her three children died. She does not have running water and really needs a lot of food. She has no money to support her family because her brother died of cancer and her sisters are not working. It is very sad because she does not feel safe in her home.

Rayonna Grey

July 16, 2017

Today was a very educational experience as we went to African Leadership Academy (ALA) for about two and a half hours. We worked in groups to learn how to be team members and leaders.  Then after that we went to the Hector Pieterson museum to learn about the time in Soweto where teenagers had to fight for their right to an equal education and the right to be taught in their home language. I gained a lot of knowledge about June 16, 1976, especially from Hector’s sister who was with him the day he died in the Soweto uprising and gave us the tour of the museum.

After that we traveled to the Mandela Mouse and got to take a look inside where he had lived when he was a young man married to Winnie Mandela. There were lots of pictures and we saw replicated furniture in the house and a nice statue. There were also many of his famous quotes.

After that we made our way to have dinner at a restaurant called Sakumzi. The food there was delicious and I like the fact that it was a buffet and I was able to try many new things. My favorite was their salad because it tasted really good. The dessert was especially delicious because I love ice-cream and I tried a new things called Malva pudding.  All in all the experience today was amazing had tons and tons of fun with these activities.

Rayonna Grey

July 17, 2017

Today was a very interesting day because we were able to go back to Diepsloot and talk to one last Gogo and then find out how we can help her make her life better. After that we sat down and had a meeting with all of the Gogo’s, which were about 30 grandmothers, to talk about their feelings about gender equality have and the fact that South Africa is very violent against girls and women.  We also wanted to know what their hopes and dreams were for their female grandchildren and their experiences with gender inequality.

Rayonna Grey

July 18, 2017

Ok…so when I think of the word service I think of helping others without them paying you back for the deed. Today is Nelson Mandela Day! To me Mandela Day is definitely a day to celebrate because in my opinion he is a hero.  He has impacted me in a good way because he is an amazing leader by standing up for what he believed in.  He is also amazing because he stood up against apartheid and advocated forthe rights of his people. Today for Mandela day we hosted a soccer game in Diepsloot for 500 hundred learners and it was very fun to play against different teams from South Africa and I enjoyed it. To see everyone having fun today really warmed my heart. Today was really fun and memorable.

Rayonna Grey

July 19, 2016

Today was definitely an experience to remember.We went  to an orphanage for abandoned children from birth to about 4 years.  Seeing these children abandoned made me just appreciate everything about my mother because my mother cares about me enough not to send me away to an orphanage. My experience today was great because we were really able to share a lot of love with the babies and toddlers.Next we went to a magazine company and got a tour of the building and some of the people who worked there spoke to us about the media industry and we  got to ask questions and it was very fun.

Author: journeyforchangesite

Journey for Change 4 is collaborating with Steve Perry's Capital Prep school in an exciting global service program. Students from 6th grade to 11th have traveled from New York to South Africa for the experience of a lifetime. While the kids get to take leadership courses and enjoy the country sites, they also are doing volunteer work within the impoverished area of Diepsloot.

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