Simunye and the Smiles of South African Children

AshDav

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Joined
Sep 22, 2007
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427
Location
Melbourne, Australia
For the past 20 days or so I've been traveling around South Africa with a group on a trip known as Simunye (meaning 'We are One').
Simunye is a community service based experience designed to empower young Australians with the skills and mindset needed to make a global difference.
The basic idea was to help out, not by blindly giving money, but by going there and doing something real. For instance, we built a playground at a rural primary school, a creche at a care program known as Tshepang and many other great things.
Most important of all though, we went and we interacted with the children, playing with them, teaching them games, and letting them have a world of fun.

You'll certainly notice the smiles on their faces. This did actually come as a shock to me. I was expecting harsh sights all around with the peoples moods and emotions reflecting their situation. But they just weren't! All the people were all completely happy.

I've rounded it down to one simple thing which is one of the most valuable lessons i learnt there. And it's all to do with heart.
It's safe to say that in many cases a luxury for them is as simple as a hug or a laugh. They dont search for wealth in life, and even though they would want financial comfort, this is only to provide the necessities.

Because of this you notice that they never act for greed or financial gain. Instead, they do things because they love to do it. They take action with heart. It seems that whatever they do they love doing and, even though there might be better things they can think of, they accept it and love it for what it is, be it a chore, a sport, a person or a moment.
If we were to speak of our riches it would generally be a material luxury. Their luxuries though are the simple things in life, and these are the riches they seek.

It's all hard to explain, it's really best experienced rather than spoken of.

Throughout the trip i got a chance to take many great photos of the children we played with. I feel these images express genuine emotion and happiness.
You'll find the full collection on my website Photo Guides in the Simunye Collection. I'll be putting up more photos of the experience over the next few days.

Let me know what you think.







This image is probably my favorite. It just says so much about Simunye, what we believe in and what we did, especially with the paint on the hand symbolizing the work we did.













I'll be writing a few things on my website, Photo Guides, over the next few weeks, specifically relating to the photos and the stories behind them, so if you're interested then you might want to follow along.
 

AshDav

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Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
427
Location
Melbourne, Australia
which township did you okes visit?
We began around Johannesburg to visit Princess Alice Adoption Home and learn about the South African history and culture. After a few days we went up to Hoetspruit and were based there for about 10 days. From there we visitied Tshepang, New Life, and Manyeletti Primary School which were all an hour or so from Hoetspruit
 

MadCow809

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Feb 23, 2006
Messages
6,375
ah, you guys went to the northern Transvaal.

Kind of weird that they took you to the berg instead of townships in KZN.
 
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