Muizenberg is a beach side suburb of Cape Town and was my home for 3 months on September 2012. My plan was to go to South Africa to teach children basic computer skills but I ended up being taught a beautiful life lesson instead.
Leaving isn’t has hard as it sounds. It doesn’t take courage to do leave and volunteer around the world. I have my Canadian passport, some savings, friends and family to come back to if anything happens. I think it takes more courage to wake up, being 11 years old with 7 stab wounds, decide to stop drugs and go back to school for a better future for my grand mother and sister. What about being 15 year old boy with a bullet wound to my chest hiding in the corner of my house every few nights at the sound of gun shots and still be an optimistic teenager? Ok, maybe these are two examples and not every children in Africa live in extreme violence. Being curious, I ask students about their background and family. A lot of them live with their grandmothers. When I question about their parents, most become quiet or emotional. Being a rape victim or having parents that abandoned you would make me react the same way they did. As I share childhood stories to one of the students, he stared at me and with a very serious tone to his voice said: “I’m not brave, I’m just surviving. You are brave, you left all of that to be here with us”.
This child made me realize that it’s all about perspective. To me, they are brave and to them, I am brave. It’s not important to compare courage, the fact is, we are both brave. Without knowing it, I spent the next years with this in mind.