On Tuesday we visited the township of Philippi where we worked on a pre-school under construction.  SASDI’s action plan of educating the youth in these townships is a huge undertaking, and they are making great progress.  It was a great opportunity to donate a little bit of our time to help in any way we can on the site.

When we first arrived the conditions were pretty bleak.  But the principal and staff used the little resources they have to provide a safe, clean place for these little kids to play, learn, and go while their parents are at work.  After our safety introduction, we all felt a slight hesitance towards our presence there.  I now understand why the construction crew were partially against us working.  They see us as Americans coming in with no construction experience, working for free, and taking other’s jobs.  I would feel the same way if I had to work everyday in the hot sun for very little money.  Even after the slight cautious attitude towards us, I believe we all stepped up to the plate and helped out as much as we could.  Some of us painted walls, unloaded/mixed cement, and designed a playground for the kids.  We were able to play with all of the kids as well.  After a hard days work, it was satisfying to see the finished project.  We may not have helped out much, but I learned a lot while being there and really enjoyed it.

This was an eye-opening experience.  I was able to put myself into someone else’s shoes and realize how difficult life can be.  I thought about Toxic Charity after we left, and believe in order for Philippi to experience long-term development actions like these must continue.  We simply cannot donate money then turn the other way.

-James Rew


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