The Wonderful People of South Africa

During our deployment, we were commonly referred to as ‘brother’ or ‘sister’. World Vision employees would greet us in the morning with a warm smile and a ‘Hello Sister’. Headmasters of the schools that we visited would say ‘Goodbye my good people’ and wave in appreciation. Members of the community organizations would express their gratitude for our presence and a true desire to get to know us. Although a lot of cultures want to make visitors feel at home, the kind people in South Africa do this with ease. The hospitality, friendliness, and warmth that we were treated with in each and every village is truly unmatched.


Something that we really enjoyed was the willingness of the locals to share their culture with us. We were given South African names in the local language of IsiXhosa that we used throughout the trip. We also learned some basic phrases in IsiXhosa, like ‘Thank you’ and ‘Good morning’. We tried to perfect the pronunciation, but our World Vision friends shared quite a few laughs when we attempted the clicking sound.


Aside from trying our hand at the local language, we loved to connect with the communities through song and dance. Every morning World Vision began with what they call Devotions, which is a time dedicated to prayer through word and song. We really enjoyed the song ‘Never Give Up‘ at the Mbhashe ADP. We learned the words pretty quickly and we always sang along – it was such a great way to start the day! Many of the schools that we visited put on small performances for us with upbeat songs, lots of clapping, and lots of smiles.


We enjoyed each and every performance, but one that was extra special was with the Mbhashe ADP. A local community organization, LGDI, that attended our computer training session hosted a talent show to celebrate Youth Day. Youth Day is a holiday that celebrates the sacrifice of Hector Pieterson and other youth and recognizes the role that the youth played in bringing the country out of apartheid. We drove a short distance to a large tent set up outside of a local church and we were given seats right up front. We were formally introduced and thanked by LGDI, and then we got to sit back and enjoy the show. We saw children of all ages perform dances and songs in IsiXhosa and it was pretty incredible. After the show, the LGDI staff cooked a wonderful meal for us and insisted that we sit down inside a nearby house to enjoy the food.


I doubt that we will receive such warm hospitality anywhere else in the world. The people of South Africa have a unique ability to make you feel like family. The excitement of children and adults alike when we visited was electric… you didn’t just see it, you felt it. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. We thank the grade schools, the clinics, and the countless community members that we interacted with. Special thanks to the grade school in Umzimvubu where the children were waiting for us and danced next to the cars as we approached the school. It was those little moments that made our trip unforgettable. We thank you!
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  1. Alexis Johanson June 23, 2016 — 6:11 pm

    Quite comforting to know the Mutual Respect is profound and memorable! I would have to say “Human Factor 3D” at its best!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful experience, one you will never forget!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Asaf and team….thanks for sharing your experiences, those memories will last for many years to come. Lovely to see you all involved singing ‘Never Give Up’ …..

    Liked by 1 person

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