I Have Changed For the Better by: Joshua Payne

I am a freshman at Capital Prep Harbor. I’ve always loved traveling since I was younger. My favorite place is Antigua because my adda is from there and I have the change to meet many family members for the first time. I also loved going to the beach and spending time with family and friends. My favorite memory is from middle school where I was a part of leadership program where we raised $25,000 to build water wells in South Sudan.

Joshua Payne

July 15, 2017

My name is Joshua Payne. Today was an amazing day. Today was a day full of joy, happiness, and also sadness. The people I met today were just amazing people not only because of the fact that they were so nice and easy going, but also because of the fact that they were living in poverty and were still able to be full of life and so happy and very much appreciative of what they have now. When I first arrived to Diepsloot I was so sad to see that people were living like this but happy because in the back of my mind I knew that I was going to be able to change people’s lives.


When I arrived to the first household, I met a lovely GoGo (Grandmother) named Dorothy.  This was by far one of the most energetic ladies who is pushing 70 years old I have ever seen.  The way that she greeted us as we first walked into her home just made me so happy inside. When she invited us into her little shack, she kept apologizing for the small amount of space and I just told her don’t worry about it as its fine.  When we were asked questions a lot that were based around what she needed, the only answer she really said was food. She said she thought about what she is was going to eat in the morning and then realized that there is no food for her to cook. That really made me want to get her so much food right away. When we were in the house she sang us a song that translated to Jesus is my saviour, Jesus is my protector. Listening to her say really warmed my heart. So when we were done talking we went outside to take a picture and after that we were lead us to the next house.

The next house we went to which was right down the street where we met another GoGo named Thandiwen Cube. When we first got into the house she started to show us pictures of her grandchildren and she just made us feel at home. This lady has two grandchildren living with her and she said the one was sick and she couldn’t even afford to get medication for her to feel better. When we asked her what she needed she said food, paraffin which is used for heating and cooking, a stove, a lamp, soap to bathe with, washing powder, and a way for transportation for her grandchildren to get to school. For her grandchildren she said that they needed a school bag and shoes and I really want to get all of the things that Thandiwen listed.


The last house we went to, we met another GoGo named Georgina. When you first go through the gates of her property there was just dirt, 2 chairs and a mop bucket that her daughter was using. When we got into the house and started asking questions, we realized that this lady had a very negative view on Diepsloot she said that there is nothing better in Diepsloot then where she lived before.  The only reason she stays here is because she has nowhere else to go. This was the first lady that really talked like that about Diepsloot and vocalized the hardships and poverty that everyone feels.  She said that her biggest need is food and it made me feel bad because no one should have to go hungry.

This trip to Diepsloot was very effective in terms of it being a very life-changing experience for me and can change the way that I act as a person all around for the better.

Joshua Payne

July 16, 2017

My name is Joshua Payne. Today was a very interesting day. First we went to the African Leadership Academy. When we got there we played an ultimate Frisbee game. Then we played a team building game. After that we went to a nclassroom and learned about the danger of a single story. This is as it pertains to Africa. The media may make it seem that this continent of many countries has one single story, but we know that this is not true.  After we said our goodbyes, we were off to the next location of the Hector Pieterson museum. Which brings me to our Sustinable Development Goal for today which is education. Our tour guide was Hector Pieteron’s sister who witnessed him getting shot because he protested along with many other students against being taught in the white man’s language of Afrikaans at school. It is important that they did this because they should be able to speak their own language and native tongue. They sacrificed to make it better for future generations.

Joshua Payne

July 17, 2017

My name is Joshua Payne. Today was a great day. Our Sustainable Development goal for today was Gender Equality. When we went to visit the GoGo today we made sure to ask her how she viewed gender equality in South Africa. We only went to one GoGo today. When we asked her about the difference of treatment between males and females, she said that there was no difference. We also asked her about the ability to find work in South Africa and she said she is not working because it is hard to find work around where she lives. When we asked all of the grandmothers about gender equality though they mentioned violence against girls, staying in school and access to good jobs as barriers to gender equality. I enjoyed my experience at Diepsloot today because I feel like gender equality is an important thing and that it should be enforced to today’s society everywhere.

Joshua Payne

July 18, 2017  

My name is Joshua Payne. Today was another great day. Today was Mandela Day in South Africa and to start the day we went back to the daycare that we went to two days ago. We went to play with the kids and we started to paint a mural there. I enjoyed doing this because it is Mandela Day and I think we should make it very special for them and for us in terms of living a life of service. Today we celebrate Mandela because this is the day he was born and his huge role in abolishing apartheid. We also went to a soccer event in Diepsloot. Seeing all of the kids having fun and being able to see the excitement on their faces made me so happy because I feel like it such a great thing to bring joy to people on a holiday.. Service to me is being willing to help others and doing it in your best way possible.

Joshua Payne

July 20, 2017

My name is Joshua Payne. Today was more of a relaxed day. When we were done with our daily morning routine we went off to the Apartheid Museum. We learned about what went on during the time of apartheid that made life for the Black majority horrible.  It was awful to see all of the things that happened to the black race in South Africa during that time, but it is important to have a museum that helps us to remember this history. In the end, it was a great experience because we learned a lot of new things about apartheid that you cannot know from the media. After we left the museum we went to a African craft market and we got to show off our bargaining skills. I purchased many things for my family. That was a great experience and I would love to do it again. The last thing we did today was take part in a discussion with HBCU alumnus who now work and live in South Africa.  Not only did we learn about the importance of HBCU’s, but we also were able to understand how much they can add to your life. One quote from that talk that I thought was great was “You succeeding means in a sense that your community is succeeding.” This quote is important to me because it shows that where you are and where you come from play a big role in who you turn out to be and how you can bring along others.

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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