Moloweni! My name is Abby Murin and I participated on a service-learning study tour in Cape Town, South Africa! The experience was amazing, full of lots of touristy sight-seeing, but also a vast amount of immersing ourselves into a brand new culture. I grew close to my 12 new friends that I traveled here with, and they have taught me so much. Because we are all so different (different majors, different hobbies, different personalities, etc.), I was able to have intellectual discussions about issues in our world today, all while discussing new experiences that we have here, and integrating it into our knowledge that we have about children and families. I was really been challenged to think critically on this trip, and have learned a lot about how I want to live my life and the values that I truly want to bring back with me when I return home. I have learned so much from this experience already and cannot wait to see what the rest of the trip brings.
On May 26th, we had the honor of beginning our internship responsibilities at our volunteer sites! I was able to volunteer with hospitalized children at Red Cross Children’s Hospital with the Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association. Upon arrival that morning, we picked toys that were appropriate for children of any age from 6 months to 12 years, and then we were off to the wards to see in-patient children. Just a few simple games, coloring pages or puzzles (they LOVE puzzles) were able to brighten the children and parents’ day, and show them a little light and love. We were able to teach the children how to play a game, and in return were able to learn so much from the children we came in contact with. We learned to communicate without words, make them smile despite any condition, and truly enjoy ourselves doing it. I am so excited to continue these experiences and broaden my own knowledge on working and loving children, no matter their situation.
To finish up an amazing day, we were joined for dinner by a close friend of Volunteer Adventure Corps, Ivy, for a Xhosa lesson. Xhosa is one of the many native languages of South Africa, which involves clicks. We were able to learn simple conversation starters and greetings, which we will be able to carry to our work sites and around Cape Town for the next couple weeks. Molweni, for example, is a greeting for a large group of people. We are excited to learn more in the next couple weeks here, both through working with children and families of Cape Town, and through cultural and language lessons!
The family of the little girl pictured above has consented for the release of this photo.