Tanzania Tour 2009 Reflection by Raylyn

Going to Africa was something that I never thought I would ever do in my life. There is no way that I could ever explain in words how this trip has changed me. It has opened my eyes up to a whole new perspective on life. Before we left Fr Sámi told us that it would be a life changing experience and that is exactly what I got out of it, a trip that I will never forget.

During the time that we were in Africa, we saw things that made the smiles on our faces last for days. The people we met during our stay were amazing; I experienced a type of hospitality that I had never experienced before, a type of hospitality I never thought existed.

Africa was beautiful; and I can guarantee that if any one saw the smiles on the children’s faces in the village of Tarakea; you would feel like you had just been embraced by a gust of love and life. Looking into a child’s eyes and hearing about how hard their lives are compared to our own, really makes you question the person you are. It makes you wonder why a little child has to go through so much pain and suffering while we sit before a television eating Doritos and at that very point in time a child on the other side of the world could be sitting before their sick mother crying and asking why?

At times it was difficult to continue travelling around to the orphan’s homes, hearing about their lives and seeing the houses they lived in. For me personally, it was at times heart breaking to hear about what some of the orphans we met had to endure. It made me question the person I was, and questioning the person I was and asking myself what I really wanted to do with my life was something that I had never looked into very deeply. But with what was happening during our stay in Africa questioning the person I was, was something that my mind forced me to do.

The trip was full on, both emotionally and physically, but I don’t believe that we are here to tell your how saddening the trip was, because it was an amazing experience where I got to witness first hand that we need to do something more in our parish to help our friends in Africa. I realized when I got back home that we live in luxury and we have been affected by affluenza, where we see yesterday’s luxury items now as our needs not as wants. Our lifestyles are so very different to theirs and we take so much for granted. I know that now.

I met many new people, ones that I still keep in contact with today. When I would hear about people who live on the other side of the world and hear about the hardships that they go through, it never really seemed to sink in. I found that when I heard about the orphans and how people in Africa are not as fortunate as us here in Australia it seemed like it was just another story.

You really have to experience it to be touched spiritually and emotionally and to be motivated to do something about it. But I hope that every one will be touched by what we have to bring back to you all. To show you a small minority of some things that we experienced in Africa.

They are happy people and there is nothing else to it, Content with what they have and never asking for more. Here we are living our lives with all these luxurious items, while many others are going days without food or water. It doesn’t matter how much we own, the people we are does not depend on the items we possess but on what we do with our lives and how we use it to help others.

Helping these beautiful people that we met on the other side of the world would not only be rewarding to them, but also to us. To know that we are trying to help them and giving them a better chance at life would be the most amazing gift you could give some one.