That summer, the summer of 2003 I was suppose to go to China, but the trip was cancelled because of the bird flu outbreak that year. So I ended up signing up for South Africa. I think my parents never thought I'd raise the $3,000 plus needed for the trip, and that was part of their reasoning for say yes, but I knew God would provided, and He did!
Shortly after my 17th birthday I got on my first plane ride with another friend, going on a different trip, and off I went. I had no idea what to expect. I was raised in an extremely small town, and would consider myself semi sheltered. What I saw, changed my life!
While I didn't have a digital camera, and the pictures I have are shared from a friend and minimal, I would like to share some.
The first week we were there, they were on winter break. (Yes winter, as their seasons are opposite.) And since most of our ministry was planned in the schools, it would seem we wouldn't have much to do. That week we sent many hours inside the rooms of the school we would later revisit, cleaning! While there were semi luxurious schools, as they did have cement floor, they were very deteriorated in most aspects.
We had the joy of sweeping, the extreme thickness of dust from the classroom floors. We swept the dust outside with African brooms, that looked something like this:
I pitty the poor women who have top use these day in and day out, as they are extremely hard on your back as they are so short and you have to bend over to use them. One classroom I remember distinctly at this school the dust we swept became so thick in the air you couldn't even seen the blackboard in the front of the room. The cement floor had crumbled so bad, I think we were working almost at a lost cause.
That week I think we really learned the meaning of a service project! We spent many hours cleaning up their schools, both the inside, and picking up trash around the grounds. The school above I remember finding many rand one cent pennies in the school yard! Worth next to nothing as the dollar ratio was $1 US to $7 SA rand.
Our cleaning really paid off, especially in this school pictured above. We thought we might have been getting into trouble and asked to leave. We came into the schools under the pretense of teaching lessons, Math, English, Science, ect, and while we did teach we always brought the lesson around at the end to Jesus. And it seemed to almost upset the principle at this school, and we were all called into a classroom, for some sort of a meeting. Turns out they were extremely impressed with all the work we did previously for them at their school, and the kids preformed a dance for us in gratitude!!
I have many more stories to share, and hope to be sharing Flashback Stories weekly, so stay tuned for more!