2017 has truly been on year that set itself off on a very good and wonderful foot. Traveling the world always started as a dream from a very young age, to see great places and meet beautiful people. But one never knew that such a dream would ever come this early in life. My adventure started the day I made the decisions about what I want in life and to follow it to become someone very great. My first leap of faith was when I first stepped foot into an aeroplane. First time in my life. I knew then that what I had always dreamt of has now come to be a reality. From South Africa to Uganda one flew – an experience I will never forget.
Uganda involved personal change and growth and much more. The pleasure of meeting new amazing people, people who will forever leave a permanent mark in my life. So many beautiful valuable life lessons and insights adding to my growth.
I returned to the land of my own ancestors, South Africa. Even in returning to my home that I was familiar with, I had no idea it would be such a turning point in my life. My self-exploration intensified through a series of unanticipated experiences and self-introspections. I started discovering my truer self.
After 3 weeks of training, the real journey truly began. My comfort zone was being shaken. I was to go and apply my training in a foreign land. One I did not know. Madagascar, the land of King Julien. Since my arrival, Madagascar and its people have really made me look at life in a totally different way. It all started as if it were simply a dream because never had I been to place that sells meat in the open with many flies buzzing around. Beyond that, to experience a life of eating rice for breakfast, lunch and supper. That was truly a new experience for me.
As the days went on, the differences to South Africa also seemed to increase. Every day, I would ask myself “ When will the months end so one can go back home?” But all in all, one can be proud to say that It is a thought that seems to be growing less and less by the day. Welcomed with warm open hands, embraced as one true Malagasy, was what made me become open and more comfortable with the change that I was experiencing.
I have met and come across different types of people, young and not so young, young at heart and young in mind. Different types of people I have crossed paths with, and proudly I can say, they have each left a print in my life.
As the experience grows, what can Africa be without the people who seem to have what we call in Zulu “Ingalo ende” (long arm). Another explanation is that there are people who seem to “borrow” other people’s belongings without their permission.
The loss of my cell phone added to the list of life’s learning curves and experiences. Connection being so important a young person like myself. However, things happen and we have to deal with it and get over it.
In conclusion, a simple thank you to my YMCA for believing in my ability in contributing to improving our beautiful continent of Africa. A great deal of gratitude goes to my Lord above all. Without Him, life would seize to be meaningful.
God bless Africa.
Wandile Buthelezi is a South African YAC 2017 participant currently stationed in Madagascar.