Student Highlight Emma Esposito - First Day of Service

Programs for this blog post

Leadership & Service Through Mandela's Example

Authored By:

Matt Bisek

Today was a lovely day of learning, working and a whole lot of sweating. Beginning with an early breakfast at the African Soul Surfer, we then met Mama D for another Isixhosa lesson! We learned and practiced our new vocabulary of numbers, days of the week, and how to ask and answer simple questions. If you ever need to know the time in Isixhosa, let us know:) After a thorough lesson, we grabbed our lunches and hopped in the vans, excited for our first community service day at a nearby township elementary school - Bonga Primary School. Arriving at our assigned location, we met the staff who helped give an overview of the school’s mission and the children who attend. After an intriguing ice breaker activity involving toilet paper and lots of interesting facts about ourselves, we separated into groups and got to work!

Assigned to sections of a large grassy area, we set off to work clearing the weeds (which was the entire field) and removing large pieces of debris. Matt (the millennial) was assigned the heavy lifting, carrying mass quantities of concrete while the rest of us stuck with picking grass strands. The staff soon came by with tools, and taught us tricks how to best uproot the maximum amount of weeds at once using shovels. My tool of choice became the hoe, whacking up the soil and uprooting chunks of grass at once before flinging it to Isaiah to sort between dirt and grass. At the end of the work period, we were callused, sweaty and tired, yet felt rewarded by looking at our progress. The field remained far from cleared, yet with the teams working together we felt success towards our garden goal. Coming back, we received stipends and had the freedom to choose any restaurant in the area near our accommodation (with a group). Myself and a few others decided to try a new chicken place, which was still scrumptious however not quite the Southern Bojangles I crave. Coming back together for a reflection on our service and progress, we all slinked off to bed, satisfied yet exhausted with the days work. Check back in for our garden progress!