If my first few weeks here in SA are anything to go by, there’s an abundance of love, culture and friendly faces, something that seldom makes it to the mainstream media in the West; a shame really. From my own previous experiences, discussions on Africa focused on poverty and wide spread disease, occasionally you’ll meet someone who thinks that civilization in Africa consists of a full blown safari in your back garden…I can now confirm that the latter is most definitely wrong!
WhizzKids United’s volunteer house is in Durban, along with our office, however our Health Academy is in Edendale, a township 70km north of Durban. The Health Academy isn’t your everyday clinic, though providing HIV tests, consultation and ARV treatment, we also offer a programme to orphans and vulnerable children that consists of a meal a day, sadly for some of the kids it’s the only meal. On the lighter side of things, the kids come together to take part in a Zulu dance and choir group, arts and crafts sessions, IT learning, sometimes a kick about outside on the concrete “pitch”.
My first week was spent here in Edendale aiding Brian from “Coaches Across Continents” to facilitate his sessions, we spent the week playing a range of football games that in one way or the next related to STD prevention, i’d played each and every one of these drills growing up countless times but never with these particular messages attached them. We all partook in the games (Zulu, English, American, Turkish, Bajan, boys, girls, young & old) and it may sound cheesy but our mutual language was football. The variety of people in our group of 30 wasn’t anything particularly extraordinary but in an instance it made me realize, if these kids could be brought together and educated in something that they would otherwise have no means of reaching, then we would have done half the job and would have given them something that we from the west take for granted; a basic sexual health education.
It’s been an eye opening couple of weeks to say the least, when I look back on the "problems" I thought I had back home and compare them to the eveyday problems the vast majority of people have here in SA, they're minuscule, a mere blip on the radar. I hope I can make a difference to as many lives as possible here, as they've already made a difference in mine. I’ve got a lifetime to make more money however i’ll never have the power to make more time.