From the April 2-16 I embarked on the most influential and life-transforming trip of my life.
I witnessed the extreme poverty in our world first hand and I was able to participate in serving our global society and letting my heart be broken for the poorest and most vulnerable people.
This experience has cemented that I will fight for those living in poverty and will strive to bring justice and freedom for those who are in need; I hope the rest of my life will reflect this.
fter 28 hours of travelling, I arrived in Durban, South Africa. I went with a Christian organisation called Soul Survivor and there were about 100 people from across the UK on the trip. I travelled with eight other people from York, who I knew quite well.
The trip was put on for us to have the opportunity to serve a culture that produces extreme poverty and vulnerability, especially for children. South Africa has, on average four million orphaned children, many of whom are trafficked and raped.
There is so much violence, poverty and injustice in this nation and especially in the region of Durban. I found it deeply moving to work with these children (some of them had been rescued into an orphanage village, and some were still in desperate need).
We were split into seven different project groups to serve the communities we were in. Mine was called City Celebration and was a small charity which focused on the art of dance and how this, along with practical support, could help transform lives for people living in extreme poverty.
We were based in Bhambayii, which was a huge slum that surpassed acres of land. It was heartbreaking – the slum was full of metal shacks serving as family homes, with open sewers running through the middle. There were almost 400 children on our project.
On the second day we were told that we were leading the project, so we had to plan activities and workshops that would bring the children fun and teach them the most important lessons. I was leading the dancing project. It was amazing to look out and see so many children dancing the routine I had taught them; the girls waving the ribbons we had brought, with such enthusiasm and pure joy.
I realised that I had never experienced joy before this moment, with these beautiful children who had nothing, but were starting to believe that they could accomplish anything. I was deeply moved and challenged because a community such as Bhambayii had so much potential for growth out of poverty and into hope for the children we had come to love.
We also visited an orphanage village called LIV Village which was built by a couple not long ago. It is now a flourishing family environment where broken children are put into a family with a mother who will love them and a community that is fighting for their wellbeing.
We visited LIV and had a huge worship concert hosted there on one of the nights. It was great to also witness the hope rising for the children we had been with on the project.
Durban brought many other adventures such as swimming in the strong current sea, exploring a dangerous city, making many new friends, going on a Safari. But the most extraordinary adventure was me caring more and more about those in need and how challenging and inspiring it can be to work for them.
I want to encourage others, through this short insight into my trip, that although having a passion in life is great and an awesome driving force to reach a goal, what if our passion was to serve other people and our goal was to bring justice and freedom to those in desperate need? That would really bring about change; that would really be worth living for.