Say Yes, to go on a community service exchange programme
Home in a foreign land
By: Tshepo Maleka
Southern African regional identity is a concept introduced newly to me. Never knew it, never heard about it, never valued it, never imagined it, but landing in Mozambique on 8 August 2014 at 11:15 made me realize that yes truly I am in a foreign country. The atmosphere, the environment, the people and the language was all new and different, but the feeling was the same. The feeling that I am still home was with me. A home away from home it is.
Calling a place home doesn't have to be where you grew up and being close to your biological family. But it is understanding that home is where you can find peace and be with people who love and care regardless of origin or language. That's what I call integration on another level.
We drove and I saw a place different from where I originated from. Yet still a home full of love and peace. Then we got to the host family the people I now call my family, they were ready all dressed up and with great joy and smiles on their faces ready to greet with a hug and kisses and I realized that yes, truly, I am home. A shelter and a bed to lay my head were ready for me and a home cooked meal prepared with love in a place I now call home.
We make a difference in people's lives by just being with them, living with them and eating what they are eating. That to me is the concept of southern African regional identity in practice; it is not like reading or talking about it but actually experiencing it.
First phase key learning points:
- Appreciate what you have and the people around you.
- Understand and value people.
- Adaptation is key.
- Love and respect is fundamental.
- Have a willingness to learn.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT : Indeed people are not poverty, poverty is a circumstance/situation they find themselves in. Some are born in it, they didn't choose it. Some drove themselves into it. Let us then therefore not define people by the situations they are born into, but rather raise a hand, take a step and close the tap.
AFRICA IS MY HOME