Miss us? We are back on the blogging game! Every Wednesday we will be posting a #WhyIWentWednesday to promote our upcoming Winter 2019 Team Service Trip. This week’s is from one of our latest visitors, Alexandra Tendler. Enjoy!
“When I think back to my first initial thoughts before booking my trip to Eswatini and Mozambique, I remember feelings of wonder and curiosity. I felt this buzzing, infectious excitement to see, feel and learn more about the world. From the moment I booked my flights to actually boarding the plane to South Africa, I knew I was about to experience a trip of a lifetime.
Despite having very few expectations or much knowledge of where I was going, I was well aware that this trip would be different from all the others I have taken. I’ve seen much of Europe and have been as far as the Middle East, but Africa was entirely uncharted territory for me. And having grown up in a rural American farm town, I knew my upbringing was sheltered. There was so much of the world I have wanted to see and when the opportunity arose to immerse myself in an entirely different culture and way of life I jumped at the chance. I was so thrilled but nervous and uncertain of what it would actually be like. I had some notion of what Africa looked like from books or movies, but my mind still struggled to fully wrap my head around where I was going and how I would react to it all. Yet it was this unknown that propelled me forward and made me even more excited to get there and get my hands dirty with experience.
Also when I thought about this trip, I had this deep longing to do something meaningful for a change and help make a difference, however small, for a child, parent, or anyone in need. Visiting the Sharing Hope preschool in Mozambique was one of the things I was most looking forward to. I didn’t necessarily know what kind of impact I could make or how I could help people and children dealing with poverty or situations I could never possibly imagine, but I felt encouraged to go on this trip to meet the students, staff and do everything I could to brighten their day.
Having now been to Eswatini and Mozambique, it is funny to consider the optimistic, slightly naïve and open-minded version of myself from before this trip. The version of myself who took that spontaneous leap to see Africa and who had so many hopes and some fears too for what lied ahead. The version of myself who had no idea what she would be doing or seeing but knowing that this trip was right. And if only I could tell her or have reassured her that she made the best decision and found her visit to Eswatini and Mozambique to be so fulfilling, humbling and replete with humility and kindness.
It was the kind of trip that still crosses my mind and courses through my veins everyday. I day dream of the dark skies at night that glow with bright, white stars as far as the eye could see or the laughter of the school children whose faces burst with happiness, the calm wisdom of the school teachers, and the friendly politeness of so many people that started as strangers and became quick friends.
I would choose to see Africa a million times over and now the next question is how soon can I go back?”- Alex Tendler
Well Alex, to answer your question we just so happen to have a trip planned for this upcoming December / January! For more information about the upcoming trip please visit oneheartafrica.org/go or email firstname.lastname@example.org.