Journey For Change south africa 2008

Journey For Change was a non-profit founded by Malaak Compton-Rock. She chose 30 kids from the summer camp and after school program that her husband at the time used to attend as a child in his hometown Brooklyn.

Kids that attended the programs were interviewed but only the few were selected by Malaak to attend the trip. Among those picked were myself, my good friend Imaan and my very best friend Sydney.

As close as Sydney and I were, Africa brought us even closer.

Although the trip had many fun moments, it was a learning experience that taught the importance of service.

A Diepsloot Shanty town

Back in the states, many of us lived in the inner city and knew what poverty was like in a developed, urban setting due to race and class discrimination. However, we were able to see first hand the difference in the disparities experienced in South Africa in relation to our struggles back in America.Our month long journey was captured by CNN journalist Soledad O'Brian for the sequel to her documentary Black in America.

Wendy Wilson of Essence magazine and Soledad O'Brien of CNN at the Heronbridge Retreat in Johannesburg

"Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time." -Marian Wright Edelman

The HIV/AIDS epidemic has directly affected many families in South Africa. We were faced with the reality that many children have lost their parents to the virus forcing older siblings and grandmothers to be the head of their household. Regardless of the struggles we faced in America, we were still privileged to live in a country where poverty did not necessarily mean the lack of water, electricity, food, shelter and health care. It is easy to forget those around you, however, with privilege comes a responsibility for stewardship and compassion; paying it forward is the best way to show gratitude.

By: Dasiarose Carr

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