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I feel everybody in their life will have days that really change their perspective, days that ground them and help them to realign. For me, that day happened earlier this year while in South Africa when we visited the Isipho community centre as part of Vets Go Wild. Supported by the The Amakhala Foundation the Isipho community centre has been built as a safe haven for orphaned and abandoned children as well as those tragically affected by Aids/HIV. The centre provides a place for the children to receive a warm meal, learn basic education, such as how to read or turn on a computer and most importantly play and have fun with other children.
An afternoon visit was scheduled as part of our trip for all our group to meet the staff and learn how the centre runs. We had the privilege of meeting the wonderfully bright personalities that work tirelessly to keep the centre running, we saw the basic classrooms with brightly painted murals and positive quotes such as ‘after rain comes the sunshine’, we saw their vegetable patches which are carefully tended to in order to grow fresh produce and the chickens that provide their eggs.
We heard all about the struggles the centre is facing but also their triumphs and the incredible work they are doing in their local community. We also had the biggest privilege of meeting some of the children, and when I say meeting, we spent the whole afternoon running, laughing, jumping, swinging and climbing with the children. Despite a massive language barrier, they taught us many of the games that they play and with the use of our cameras they quickly perfected their selfie. I think it is safe to say we all came away completely knackered (and covered in bruises!) but with hearts so full of love.
Before we visited the centre, during a conversation, Will Fowlds said to us ‘ How can it be that people who have so little can be so happy, and we who have so much can be so unhappy?’ after our visit, I understood completely what he meant and it is something that has stayed with me every day since. I am more than guilty of moaning when something does not go my way, something so insignificant that I won’t remember the next week, but in that moment I am convinced it is the worst. However, I like to think now I have a better understanding of just how privileged I am and how massively grateful I am for that.
To me, the children at the Isipho community centre are little beacons of hope in a world with a lot of darkness, darkness created from people that have far too much. We could all do with learning from these children it is something I continue to work on each day and I am grateful for Worldwide Experience placing this as a vital part of their Vets Go Wild trip.
Over the next month or so I will be collecting up various educational items, toys and clothes to send over to the centre and if anyone would like to get involved or make a donation, please do get in touch. These beautiful children deserve so much more than the hand they have been given and I fully intend to do what I can to make their daily struggles just that tiny bit easier.