As I continue to grow into the best version of myself everyday, I am recognizing the importance of truly accepting who you are and where you come from. Having this be my first trip abroad I am coming across unexpected challenges, unknown feelings, new people, beautiful languages, like minds, and great hearts. Overall just an entirely different life experience than what I am used to. Before arriving in Cape Town I was constantly told that this is going to be a life changing experience and as the days go by I am realizing how much this experience is doing just that.
For the past month and a half I’ve been living a life very different than the one I live back at home. So different that I’ve questioned my identity many times since I’ve been here. Hearing questions like, Where are you from? What are you? Why are you here? and the rest of the questions we tend to ask tourists. After being asked many questions about myself I can’t help but to question my own identity as a Mexican-American woman. I’m sure most of my group can agree that it’s a bit weird traveling as an American today, lots of mixed feelings. However, I have managed to subtract the negative and really look at the positives that come along with being an American. Coming to South Africa has opened my eyes to privileges I had no idea I had most importantly the privilege of having access to education, which many students don’t have here.
I then thought about how I even got this far into the world and the answer is, education. If it wasn’t for education I wouldn’t be on the other side of the world volunteering my time in crèches. That itself goes to show how important education is since it has changed my life and continues to do so. I like to look at education as an enlightening experience and when you are enlightened, it’s a wonderful feeling. You feel as though you can do anything and I believe every child deserves to have that feeling of determination throughout their lifetime. Before I leave I hope to have enlightened the students and teachers that I work with in the township of Vrygrond and I hope they continue to enlighten each other because they definitely enlightened me. Its been difficult to accept that change takes time, a lot of time and its teaching me the importance of being patient with anything in life. If we want to see change in anything we must start with ourselves.