Are you interested in taking a team out to Hands at Work? Read the blog below to find out how one of the team leaders found his experience in South Africa with his team of young people:
So it’s left to me (Sam) to try to round off one of the most full on few weeks I think I can ever remember.
I sit here with bags under my eyes, blisters on both hands and feet and apparently aged by at least 7 years (even without the beard!) Whilst my body and mind is definitely feeling the strain I have to say I have had some of the best times and am feeling immensely proud of every one of the 8 young people who signed up for this adventure.
I hope you have enjoyed reading their blogs and it has given you a little taster of their experiences over here at least until they are home. It is my pleasure to assure you that every single young person is coming back in tact, alive and (mostly) well. Result!
Today we have rounded off the trip in true style, finishing off in the same care point as we began. The day included more home visits, shared lunch (more chicken feet), followed by what I thought would be a nice gentle game of netball with some of the care workers and children. How wrong was I! To my surprise these women can be fiercely competitive and also don’t like losing!
It’s actually really hard for me to sum up the last few weeks as a lot of it is raw and still needs processing. It’s also almost 12 and my bed is calling. However, I’d like you to come away hearing one key thing…
These young people have been an inspiration and an absolute credit to their families and community. They have been stretched and challenged in ways I can’t imagine how a 16 year old me would ever have coped. Aside from watching these guys be an absolute blessing to the children, families and care workers in these communities, one of my greatest highlights has simply been getting to help these guys in sharing and reflecting at the end of each day. Coming from a culture where so often emotions are bottled up and locked away (speaking from personal experience!) these young people have been so refreshingly open and honest and also so supportive of each other. Getting to sit in on and walk alongside each of these young people as they have shared their struggles, heartaches, joys, learning and even overcoming fears has been such a privilege?
Tomorrow we will be up for a final debrief, the base South Africa awards, followed by the long journey home. I have given these young people the final challenge of one thing, no matter how big or small, that they will do differently as a result of this trip. We have all had an absolute blast, been challenged and learnt more lessons than a school curriculum. But what is knowledge without action? For me, I have been blown away by the care workers here at Hands at Work. Volunteers – often juggling other jobs, families and their own grief, who see it as an absolute privilege to visit and care for some of the most vulnerable and desperate children and families. Every time I’m tempted to resent a day at work or a particular conversation or visit I’m going to think of these guys.
See you on the other side. Over and out!