A few notes of thanks from each of us, for the people who helped make this project possible. And of course thank you to anyone not mentioned, as there are so many people who helped make the Ubunye Project incredible. We are currently on our way home to California after a wonderful learning journey. Each student will write a reflection on the trip, which we will post on the blog this summer.
A special thanks also to:
The Willis Parents
Michelle Van Ooy
I am grateful for the Cloete family for creating Botshabelo and helping so many people. I am also grateful for the chaperones; SN, Shannon, Michelle, Shmuel, and Devin for making all this possible and making it a truly amazing trip.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to meet so many inspiring people like Peter Harris, the Cloete family, and Thulani Mbaso. I’m also thankful for the chance to have seen some of South Africa with my classmates.
I’m grateful to Desmond Tutu, Thulani Mbaso and Pregs Govender for agreeing to speak with us despite their respective health difficulties, as well as for sharing their wisdom and experience with us.
I’m grateful to Peter Harris for signing the wooden frog I bought at the craft market in Johannesburg and giving us insight into the current political situation in South Africa. Our discussion brought new context to our journey and the frog will live on my shelf as a reminder to “never stop croaking”.
I’m grateful for everyone at Tembisa who helped us fit into a new environment and learn songs that we definitely couldn’t have learned on our own. Tembisa is full of immense talent, and it was awesome to be part of a performance that didn’t just break down cultural barriers, but also sounded so damn good.
I am grateful to the residents of the Langa township who allowed us to enter their lives to truly experience the lives of those living there. These townships are a place of great perseverance and community, and I feel honored to have been allowed to be with these people. I am also grateful to my classmates for making this experience a great one. I love you guys.
I am inspired by all of the love and kindness we’ve encountered from everyone we met. Including our class. I know that I will never forget these relationships we’ve made throughout our trip. I hope to bring back a willingness to be kind and curious about new people I encounter.
I am grateful for the chance to meet Marion. To experience what she would call an ordinary person and to see what you can do with passion and when you put others in front of your own needs. I will never forget how big of an impact her words had on me and the way she made me feel.
During our trip to South Africa, I was swayed by the sense of community here. This intercommunal support makes me want to spread this to the other places in the world. I am grateful for the inspiration South Africa has given me to dream and achieve more.
To Michelle Van Ooy who collected the medical supplies: When we got to Botshabelo we were thrown right in with the kids. We quickly built connections with them, some we will never forget. We saw the graves of their dead family and friends. When we unpacked all the goods we brought, I saw the plethora of medicine and medical supplies and knew we were making a difference. Those supplies will most likely save multiple children’s lives. Thank you so much.
I would like to thank Oupa Malatjie. Without his years of perseverance I would not have had the chance to connect with all those amazing kids in Tembisa. They opened my eyes to a new culture, and way of living. I will carry their friendly attitude back to my old life.
I would like to thank the people at Desmond Tutu’s office and Desmond Tutu himself. We were able to meet with Desmond Tutu and I was able to tell him the impact that he’s had on me and everyone that he’s touched with his strong message of joy in times of trouble.
The work that people at the Philani Nutrition project is something I am so grateful for, and the selfless service they put in every single day is something that inspires me and will continue to inspire me.
I would like to thank my mom, Komala Correos, for donating her long time collection of 152 Beanie Babies that were donated to the kids of the Philani Child Nutrition Project. They all found a good home with a child who loved them.
I am grateful for the happiness this trip has brought me. Happiness from the experiences, the new friends I’ve made, the opportunities to help people, and much more. I hope to continue and bring this happiness back home.
I’m grateful for the little boy at Philani; he started the life-changing experience for me on this journey. His happiness and joy will forever stick with me.