How do you summarise the time we’ve spent in South Africa? How can you yet know the impact that the visit has had on not only the wonderful people we have had the pleasure of working with over the last 10 days, but also on ourselves? I think the team have done an exceptional job at highlighting the emotion and demands on a day to day basis through their daily blogs. However, it’s now my job to attempt to summarise the immense work that 14 students from Leeds, UK along with 4 students from Eshowe, South Africa have just undertaken, with the support of some good friends.
I feel that this final blog is an opportunity to offer thanks to some remarkable people who have helped make the visit as spectacular as it was.
Firstly, our hosts at Sugar Hill Manor, Graham, his wife Nat and the rest of the staff have been superb. A passionate friend of The Bambisanani Partnership since day one, Graham and his team couldn’t have made us feel more at home. They answered every need we had and also provided us with some once in a life time experiences, discussed on previous blogs. Graham and Nat also made the trip to join us on our festival day at Mnyakanya High School. They captured the remarkable work on camera, showing great pleasure in witnessing over a hundred students from different continents all working together.
Rennie, our driver, made his final drive with the team, delivering us safely to King Shaka International. A key member of the team, Rennie imparted knowledge upon us at every opportunity, not to mention ensuring our safety and efficiency. From day 1, Rennie truly understood the value of what the partnership is continuously striving to achieve. I’d like to thank Rennie for his patience, his enthusiasm and his support.
As Miss Wood has already highlighted, our final day was spent hosted by the Govender family. Logan, Rajes and Mahesh continue to be a kind, loving and invaluable part of the team. I know that the love their family shows, to every member of St Mary’s that passes through their door, is a true representation of what the partnership has become – family.
I am pleased to be writing this blog entry in the knowledge that all staff and students are back in the comfort of their own home. I hope that the blog has been a fascinating insight to you of the day-to-day demands of being a part of such inspirational work. Photos and videos will ensure that this incredible visit is documented in some lasting form, but the memories that each of the individuals involved will have, are surely something that can never truly be recreated.
My second visit to South Africa, as part of The Bambisanani visit, added 18 more names to the long list of inspirational people who have made a real difference to the lives of others. Louis, Tom, Harmonia, Charlotte, Rachel, Lydia, Stevie, Ciaran, Ellie, Adam, Lucy, Ben, Will, Izzy, Sinabo, Kwanele, Aphiwe & Nkazi – you were all brilliant, and have been an absolute pleasure to work with in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. I hope you continue to be incredible role models and look back on the work you have done with pride.
Finally, Mrs Chattoe and Miss Wood. What a wonderful team. You are both truly inspirational people. The students look to you with utmost respect and I know that the passion and love you show towards the learners and the partnership has certainly been passed down to all of the leaders that have come in to contact with you. Thank you for making my second visit to South Africa another success and being a part of memories that will stay with me forever.
Long may this wonderful work in South Africa continue, and may it sustain the passion it has shown for improving the lives of other over the last 13 years.