This guest blog post is written by Earthchild Project volunteer and world traveler, Sondy Mzamo. Sondy is an inspiration to our Earthchildren – her story of leaving South Africa to travel the world, and then returning to study and give back to her country of birth, allows our Earthchildren to imagine similar horizons opening up ahead of them!
Thank you for being you, Sondy, and for all the time and love you share with us all.
First of all I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my story and for being a part of Earth Child Project! It always gives me so much joy to share my journey with people, and I hope it plants a seed for young girls and boys to dream big and believe in themselves.
My journey started in 2010(when I was 19) in our locker room at school, while cleaning out my locker at the end of the term, I was deeply concerned about my future, I had no idea what I wanted to study, what I wanted to be and who I was. I felt an urge to travel but I brushed that idea off a long time ago, due to peer pressure from friends and family to just go with the wind, study, get a degree, get money and get married. I knew there was more to life, and being happy with who you are, what you do was not such a far fetch idea.
So as I cleared my locker, I found two pamphlets from a school fair we had a while back, one was frame an au pair America pamphlet and the other yacht training and work gap year opportunity. I was just about to throw them away, when something in me, said “no wait stop, call them and find out” so I drove back home, got ready for work(I was waitressing at Spur Restaurant) got back home and told my mom, she immediately called my brother and he dismissed both of my plans. Being a stubborn and determined person I gave my brothers advice some thought, the yacht training was a no-no for him, and I could understand his concern about being so young and stuck on a yacht with older men, so I threw that one away, and called the agency.
Of all the decisions I have made in life, that phone call saved my life, a few weeks later I found out I had obtained a D entrance to university so I could kiss getting a degree goodbye, but by Gods grace I was half way through my au pair application and in a few months time I was walking the streets of New York city like those girls I admired from Gossip girls.
I was finally out of the house, in a different country and doing what I love. A lot of my time was spent trying to figure out what I wanted in life. 6 months later I moved to New York city, this was the best year of my life, I was 45 mins from Time Square, I had lost a lot of weight to pursuer my modeling career, and I had made awesome friends, but I still felt such a void in my heart, so I applied to work on Disney Cruise line as a youth activity counselor(this was on my bucket list) I was very happy to have made it, and I thank God for this amazing opportunity, after 4 and half months, of ship life(working, partying every night) I still didn’t know what I wanted to do and I didn’t want to stay in South Africa to figure that out, so I moved to Holland, after 2 months, I fell in love with Europe and decided to spend another year in Belgium, so the following year I was in Belgium.
I lived on a farm in Belgium, so friends were very far and getting to places cost more than the things I would buy, so the soul searching only began then. I slipped into a little depressive state being so isolated from friends, that I would spend hours planning out my life, year by year, month by month.
That all ended in February when I heard a small voice tell me to pack my bags and that I was leaving in 2 weeks, I did as I was told and realised that voice was in fact God, I found everything I had tried to search for in quiet times, walks, yoga and prayer time. I moved to another city for the rest of the year, and came back home in July this year. I had volunteered in the USA at the SPCA, in Holland as a Sunday school teacher and in Belgium at an old age home with patients with dementia.
I wanted to give back in South Africa too, and researched volunteer organizations, I found Earth Child project, got so excited I watched all the YouTube videos (that when I met Janna for the first time I was star struck, like I had just met a celebrity), filled in the application and crossed my fingers that they would call me back. They did, that made me so happy, but what makes me really happy is being there with the children, the warm hugs and smiles the chit chats, their happiness, when they remember the songs, and want to be close to me (it warms my heart in a way I cannot explain)
I am back to stay in South Africa now, and a permanent Earthchild Project volunteer ( sorry Noks but you’ll have to put up with me :) ) studying psychology through UNISA, modeling at the moment I hope you have enjoyed reading my story and to however reads this, I hope it plants a seed to 1)believe God loves you 2) believe in yourself 3)always listen to the little ‘good’ voice in your head 4)never ever ever give up on something that is important to you 5) never value what someone has to say about you, more than what you know of yourself to be the truth and what God knows about you
You are wonderful, loved, cared for, admired child of God
Lots of love, Sondy :)