When I was 16 it was one of my biggest dreams to gain some experiences overseas.
As I was always fascinated by Africa, I decided to apply for an exchange year with the Rotary Club. Fortunately, they decided to support me and due to their support I was able to have the best time of my life. South Africa is a rainbow nation and that is one of the reasons why I fell in love with this beautiful country.
There are eleven different languages spoken in South Africa and all these different cultures such as Zulu and Xhosa make this country so vibrant. Unfortuntely, it was not always the case that all those nations live peacefully together. Due to the long apartheid regime, you can still feel the contempt between some South Africans. As I was interested in learning Zulu, to be able to communicate with the locals, I went to Zulu classes. I learnt some songs in Zulu and my host mum and I went to the townships to supply the little children with rice, sugar and other groceries.
Due to some bad experiences my host mum had before, we were only able to enter the townships with police. What happened to my host mum was that some guys hijacked her years ago, threatened her with a gun and said they are going to kill her, if she didn’t give them the car keys. As my host mum was so scared, she threw the keys on the grass and the guys took her car and drove off. This story is an example of what can happen. The sad point is that some bad people who hijack and carjack destroy so much for the other citiziens in the township who profit by the good charities do.
What I learned is that it makes sense to support others, and do good, even though you might get really disappointed at some stage. Forgiveness is another important point which, for example Mandela lived perfectly. Desmond Tutu, former Archbishop of South Africa said: “There is no future without forgiveness.” That is one of the reasons, why my host mum carried on the good work, to see that just a little help can change peoples live and that each happy smile of a little child gave her strength and hope to carry on.