I’m taking an interesting course this semester called Global Citizens. It’s a non-credit bearing course directly from the VC and deals with ideas of service, leadership, what it means to be a citizen etc…
A major part of the course is reflection and learning from experience. As a result, I’ve been reflecting on a few things myself…I was remembering the first day I ever visited an informal settlement and the first day I ever stepped into a classroom of underprivileged learners. These were both such pivotal moments in my life and have changed me so entirely. I think about my time in Nyanga, which is still continuing, and the recent violence that was experienced there. The Women’s day protest, where women from the community marched against ongoing rape and violence against women, trying to emancipate themselves from the slavery which is their lives. I think about the young Somalian man who was recently shot and killed outside his shop, yet another victim of xenophobia. I wonder about how this has affected my life, my thoughts and understanding and the way I treat people. What have I learnt about my country, my people, my actions and words and their impact?
I think about the difference between charity and service. What is the value of giving money to the needy, and how does this differ from becoming deeply involved in a project, a community, an individual’s life? Which is more valuable, which causes the greater impact. And very importantly, which will have the greatest impact on me? I urge my friends and family to help me in my project, to become involved. But why is it that I hate giving money to the beggars on my street corner which I pass every day? Where is the line and how did I draw it?
I like the idea of reflection, the point isn’t to make an argument, or even have a point. It’s just to take a checkpoint on your life, your day, assessing it, reliving it in your mind, appreciating it and most importantly, learning!