Here I am in Africa...
I’ve been in Muizenberg South Africa for 3 weeks now. I have met a lot of people, fallen in love with every child I meet, heard some crazy stories, done things outside of my comfort zone and said some goodbyes. I am sitting in Africa writing to you. Wherever you may be and whoever you are, l write a story about all I have seen.
I will start off with everything I have been up to outside of my time with the kids. Although that is most important to me I figured most people want to know what everything is like. So here that goes. I live in a house with 9 other volunteers. There are 5 houses for volunteers, 4 all girls and one coed, all the houses are walking distance from one another, and there are about 50 volunteers in total. So right from the start I have met a lot of people, all kinds of people. Some in the same boat as me, traveling before school, while some in their late 20’s who took time off work to bring some change into their life as well as others.
Some people are here to make a difference while some call this a vacation, so I’m trying to navigate my way through that. To find the people who share the same passion as I do.
Everyone I have met has been wonderful and welcoming and I thank everyone so much. I had to say some goodbyes too soon into the beginning of a new relationship and I was sad to see them go. I knew with just a few more days we could have grown even closer.
I now have found myself very close with the 4 girls I arrived with 3 weeks ago. We live together and stick together. I can’t even imagine how close we will be at the end of this long journey together.
Everyone loves the beach of course... still not my favorite thing to do but I’ll sit out there for an hour max maybe. If there are hot surfers out in the water maybe an extra 15 minutes:) Being here I could be anyone I want to be. No one knows the Greta who grew up in Fairfield Ct, they know the girl who came to South Africa to be with kids. I could have made up an whole new personality for myself! I honestly should have faked an British accent for 10 weeks... then I’d really be a whole new person.
I like being able to be anyone I want to be, to find my true self. That what people think never crosses my mind here. At home I was classified into several boxes, here no one knows what boxes I was forced into. I can break down those walls and venture into the girl that likes to dance¿ or the girl who isn’t afraid to jump of the tallest bridge in the world!!! Yea that’s right! I did, and I am still alive to show you the pictures and the official certificate they gave me.
It’s funny because I’m still exactly the same. I love to read and write, I put others before myself, I do ALL the dishes, I sweep the floor... like honestly who the f#ck does that, I don’t want to go out, I don’t drink even though here I legally can, I still don’t know how to really cook, etc. etc. on and on and on I could go.
I know there’s someone out there that’s scared to see how much this trip makes me change. But I have yet to understand why, because I will always be the Greta they know and love but now I am learning to give more and love harder. To walk towards change and adventure and step out of my comfort zone. I mean I’m supposed to be in college right now yet I am getting so much more than a college degree could ever give me.
A degree could never show me what it’s like to live in South Africa, to work in a township with kids who have nothing, to be surrounded by children who just want love. I’m sure a degree could show you how to blow a runny nose the correct way... but I’m doing alright at that. There is honestly so much more that I have experienced that a college dorm in the states wouldn’t have given me.
So on that note, I thank my parents and everyone in my life that pushed me to do this. The ones that didn’t look at my like I was an idiot when I said I didn’t want to go to school right away. I also thank the people that disagreed with the idea, the ones that shot it down. I especially thank those who once they heard “I got into Harvard” that’s when they gave me the time of day... The people that only care about an image. Those are the people that make me work 10x harder to be the best person I can be. So thank you.
I will leave this on that note. I will begin to write a story about all the children I have fallen love with at the school I work in!
Greta Ann Vanderblue.