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Bambisanani 2015- Chris Chavez Cronin

I chose to undertake the Bambisanani partnership because I wanted to develop coaching skills for teaching sports to children and young people. I also believed this trip would help give me a different perspective on the world by working with people from different backgrounds. I wanted it to give me a better understanding of poverty, coping with difficulties, cultural awareness, human rights, inequalities and how to tackle complex social problems. I also wanted it to help me understand about my future career choices and involvement and contribution to society.

This experience gave me a chance to help other people in many ways. Below is a summary of what we did during the partnership.

We met at 2.30pm in school on Wednesday the 17th of July, to start the journey that was over 24 hours and 7000 miles to the town we were staying - Eshowe, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. On Friday we met the primary school students and then we met the Mnyakanya high school students, who we would be mentoring.  At the weekend we went to Shakaland and learned about the history and culture of the area and on Sunday we went to hhluhluwe Game reserve to find out more about South Africa. On the 5th and 6th day we spent mentoring and coaching the Mnyakanya students with the help of the 4 Eshowe High School students. We could not have done as well as we did without the help of the Eshowe students. On the 7th day the sports and reading festivals were put on. On the 8th we were shown around Eshowe High School and were taught about the education system in South Africa. We then went to the Zulufadder Orphanage and it was amazing to see how happy they seemed although they had so little. On the 9th day we visited Durban and we were shown around the city, it was striking to see the difference between the rich and the poor.



The partnership gave me an opportunity to help other people mainly through the sports leadership course. It was great to see the students we mentored growing in confidence over the time we were with them and at the end leading a large group of primary school children very successfully.  Also when we visited the orphanage the children were extremely happy and excited for us to be there, and we played games and helped them read in English with them. However it was not a one-way relationship, they helped me too be think more about other people and to be positive in difficult circumstances. 
It also gave me first hand experience of extreme inequalities both locally and internationally. The cultural and historical part of the partnership was a fascinating inside into the history and current situation of the Zulu culture in particular the history of apartheid and human right in South Africa.

The partnership is not a one off experience it is an on going long term project between the two schools. As well as using the experience through the rest of my life, I will help the next group of students going next year.

I would enjoy helping others less fortunate than myself, I also thought that doing this project would increase my confidence and that it would broaden my perspective in life.
I gained many things from the trip, one of which was too try to put problems here in perspective and makes the problems we experience here more minor, and too not feel as bad because we could have it much harder and worse.

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