Making a difference: 8,000 miles away

Miranda Bolinger, Copy Editor

My adventure to Africa started in the summer of 2017. On July 27, I was on a plane heading across the world on a missions trip with 11 other people. A mission trip is where a church gathers people up and we spread our love and the word of god. The overall cost of the trip was $3,600. It took a lot of fundraising but I made it. Over the course of 12 days, we did various things, including volunteering at a soup kitchen, children’s and women’s ministries, and a youth soccer club.

After almost 20 hours of traveling, my team and I arrived in Cape Town, South Africa. We had a couple of days to tour the city and get used to our surroundings. As you would imagine, things are very different over there including the food, the weather, and of course, the language. The weather is opposite of our seasons, so when it is our summer it is their winter. However, their winter season stayed in the 50 to 60 degrees that year. Most people there can speak English, but their native language is Afrikaans. Every day our team would get homemade meals cooked by YEBO life ministries [the ministry we partnered with],  including the chicken curry and malva pudding which were my personal favorites.

The first part of ministries we helped out with was a daycare in Lavender Hill, a little town outside where we stayed. Unfortunately, it is not the best town for kids to be in. Families are living out of shacks, gang violence was common, and people were begging and starving for food. We spent time with the kids as they did their normal daily activities because they do not necessarily get love and attention on an everyday basis. One of my favorite moments is when random kids came up to us on the streets and would give us hugs. I was shocked because all these kids wanted was just to feel loved for once.

On the third and final day, we took all the kids in the daycare on a field trip to an aquarium. Most of them have not ever even been out of the city before and the smiles on their faces lit up my heart.

Other ministries we participated in were a soccer program and a Disney princess party. We passed out food for local kids, performed skits, and shared testimonies. Our team split up that day; half went to play soccer with kids in a local field, and then the other half of us had a princess party for the younger girls in Lavender Hill. I dressed up as Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and a couple of other members on my team dressed up as Belle from Beauty and the Beast as well as Jasmine from Aladdin. The little girls were so excited, and it brought so much joy to them.

We also volunteered at a soup kitchen. We passed out bread and bowls of soup. They had it so where the children got their food first following the women and men. The same day we held a women’s day where we gave local women makeovers. We washed and styled their hair, gave them clothes to wear, manicures and pedicures, and we also did their makeup. We did this to make the women feel beautiful and have more self confidence.

All in all, my adventure in Africa was very eventful and has forever changed me. I learned that just a little bit of love can go a long way. I will never take things for granted and always stay grateful. Little things really can make a big difference.