Category Archives: JFC2 South Africa Blogs

List of all the blogs from JFC2 Ambassadors on their mission trip to South Africa Aug 18-Sept 3, 2010

Journey for Change 2: South Africa Blog5

Tyler Williams-Hamilton, Age 13                          

Today was one of those days where you Go somewhere , you say your goodbyes to people you won’t see again, go someplace interesting and fun and you learn something, play, and to top it off we get to eat at a all you can eat restaurant with ribs and brownies. Yea today was one of those days.

 Last day with Diepsloot GoGo’s

A grandma in Diepsloot

We left to say goodbye to the GoGo’s we have been helping since the beginning of the trip. It felt good and bad for three reasons. The first is, I know that we helped them and all and we gave them food clothing and light for some; however I grew an unbreakable bond with them that wants me to keep them in touch. I can’t do that. Second are they all having kids and all are mostly grandparents who are caring for the kids because the mother either died or abandoned them. The problem is that they provide for the kids first, not that there is anything wrong with that it’s just that they have limited  resources like their shacks being the size of my closet back in the states. Finally the last problem I have with not seeing them is I was hoping I could continue providing for them even though I could only do that if I live here (they live on property they don’t own or pay rent for.

 We visited the U.S. Consulate

After we left Diepsloot, we started heading towards the U.S Consulate, a place where they provide services specifically to Americans in Africa or Africans trying to go into America via passport or visa. We saw their equipment, we even got to play a game where one group would be in a booth and the other  group would be on the other side trying to get a visa and the proof  person would try to identify them as valid or fraudulent. I was the second person and I denied everyone. The funniest one was where my mentor lily and her friend Michael were trying to get a visa I asked Michael what was their relationship he said brother and sister, I asked him what was their last name he said Tavares a minute later I asked lily what is their last name she didn’t say anything. I asked for her paper and said I approved her visa she said thanks not knowing I stamped deny she came back a few minutes later when she found out, I already closed the booth that was funny.

 Dinner at Moyo provided by African Tourism

Dinner at Moyo in South Africa

Dinner was okay I liked the ribs but the brownies were horrible, wait I’m sorry I can’t even lie that was one of the best ribs I ever tasted. It was smoked and BBQ’d. Then for entertainment a man was playing his guitar and singing at the same time. He wasn’t half bad especially when we were leaving we all started singing the world cup song. It was awesome then the bathroom was all dark and spooky. The food was the best of the whole thing. This day made me smile. =D

 Chanell Thompson, Age 13

Yesterday, my day started off sad but ended GREAT! To start our day off, we visited our families for the last time. That was what made my day sad in the

JFC ambassadors playing with Diepsloot kids

beginning. After we left our homes, we went to the playground where we played jump rope and gave out cards to show that we appreciated them for letting us into their homes. Soon as we left, we went to the U.S Consulate, which was a little boring in the beginning, but after that meeting we took a tour and did like a skit, which was hilarious. Later on that day, we made our way to the restaurant Moyo, where we had dinner. The food was OKAY, but not that good! But my day was good so that’s how my day was and I loved it so much.

 Keion Staton, Age 13

Today I woke up and only showered for ten minutes. When I got to the lunchroom I was upset because I was the only one there. Everybody woke up late because they stay up past curfew time. While on the bus I went to

JFC2 ambassadors with a family in Diepsloot, South Africa

sleep and next thing I know I was in Diepsloot for our last visit with the families. We went to Diepsloot to say our last goodbyes to the families we were working with. After leaving Diepsloot, we went to the United States consulate in Johannesburg.

 At the United States consulate we learned how to find an identity theft with passports. The presenter told us to look at the ears of a person because that is the most successful way to find an identity theft. We also learned how the United States sends mail to the other countries out of the continents. After the United States consulate we had to change our clothes because we were going to have dinner at a restaurant called Moyo. The food was good.  Almost everything was meat. Then we went back to HeronBridge to get ourselves ready to go to bed.

 Gabrielle Bradley, Age 12

Today was an educational day. One difference that I noticed today was that

JFC2 Ambassadors and Diepsloot Children in South Africa

the children loved the little toys we brought for them. But most kids in Brooklyn would want more than we gave them. Also, the GoGo’s liked the letters we wrote to them telling them about how we appreciate them. Also to tell them how much we thank them for letting us in their homes. Another thing that is different is in Brooklyn the things that exhibits they show at the Apartheid Museum take place somewhere else but in this museum all what I saw took place here in  South Africa .

 Keara Sheppard, Age 14

 Today we went back to Diepsloot to visit our 3 families. It was a bittersweet moment for me. I was happy that we got another chance to sit down and talk to them but I was kind of sad that it would be our last visit. We stayed at their homes longer than usual so that we could sit down with them and talk. I thought it was so interesting that they would have so much to tell and share after just meeting us. From Diepsloot, we went to the U.S consulate in Johannesburg. This was actually exciting for me. Basically, this place is for when Americans who are currently in South Africa have any type of problems. It was interesting when we got to actually play the role and deny or approve people for getting visas. Then we got to tell how people steal identities and fraud. After we went to this really nice and well decorated restaurant called Moyo.  The food was so good and we had a great time. Today was actually a very fun and exciting day.

 Aneudy Taveraz, Age 13  

The day before yesterday, we all had to drop off clothing to the people that live in Diepsloot. I felt relief that we did all that stuff for those people. Then we went to the museum, it had a lot a lot of information about racial discrimination within the African culture. There were a lot of war(s) including the Boston massacre which took place in 1770. One of the interesting parts was the two people that found gold and they were the first ones, their names were George.

Aneudy and the South African Flag

After we left the museum, we went back to Heron Bridge where we practice a dance for the talent show six days from now, it was a cool dance.

 Then the next day, we did our last home visit to Diepsloot, they have better lives now thanks to me and my group I felt happy that I made an impact in someone’s life. Then after that, I went to the US consulate here the group learned about fraud identification. Then after that we went to Moyo  for dinner, it was good it was like an all you can eat buffet, It was a fun day.

 Douglas Williams, Age 14

Today was a good day. After breakfast we had our last day with the family’s we helped in Diepsloot. Then we went the U.S. consult. We had dinner at a very nice place called Moyo.

Our families were so thankful and happy they all wanted to cry. One of them asked when were coming back to visit. They didn’t want us to leave. They were following us until we got on the bus and they still didn’t want us to leave. A lady cried as we pulled off.

When we went to the U.S. consult we met different types of people that worked there. I learned how to noticed fraud when people apply for passports. Also I can tell when someone’s an imposter. The way to tell difference is by isolating one part of their face. Also there facial hair.

When we went to Moyo for dinner it looked like a regular store at first. Then when we went upstairs I seen the tables were clean with silverware. They started calling tables off one by one to get our food. They gave us wrist bands to know that we were able to eat. They had all different types of food different chickens, different salads, different fruits, and more.

To view photos of the mission trip to South Africa, please go to:

Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service uplifts the lives of inner-city youth through global travel, volunteerism and advocacy work.  More information on the program can be found at

Journey for Change 2: South Africa Blog4

Devonte Wilson, Age 13

Day seven in Johannesburg I woke up late. When I woke up I took a shower, after my shower I brushed my teeth and washed my face. Then I got dressed and went to breakfast. After breakfast everyone got on the bus and went to Diepsloot. We were going to Diepsloot to finish giving out the items that we purchased for the families we worked with. I felt so good helping people who need help.

Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa

When everyone got off the bus we were at the Apartheid Museum. Apartheid stands for the system of segregation or discrimination on the grounds for the force of South Africans. The basic principle behind apartheid was simple segregation of everything. Cut a clean line through a nation to divide black from white. The Apartheid Museum is a journey not a destination. A journey to understand freedom and equality. It may be the most important lesson you’ll ever learn. At the museum I also learned about Nelson Mandela. Millions of people love Nelson Mandela because of his character. Mandela’s extraordinary life is explored through seven themes.

Gabrielle Bradley, Age 12

Today was an educational day. One difference that I noticed today was that the children loved the little toys we brought for them. But most kids in Brooklyn would want more than we gave them. Also, the GoGo’s liked the letters we wrote to them telling them about how we appreciate them. Also to tell them how much we thank them for letting us in their homes. Another thing that is different is in Brooklyn the things that exhibits they show at the Apartheid Museum take place somewhere else but in this museum all what I saw took place here in  South Africa .

Brenden Archer, Age 12

Today when I woke up I got ready for the day. For breakfast we had French toast and 3 bacons.  Then came devotion before we went back to our rooms to separate the items we bought for the families in Diepsloot. Then we all went on the bus to go drop off the items. While we were on our way, we got held up so we couldn’t drop off all of the items to the families. But we finally made it and delivered the items to the families. They were happy.

Journey for Change ambassadors at the Apartheid Museum in South Africa

When we finished dropping off the items we went to the Apartheid Museum. While we were in the museum, we learned about what happened to the families in the 1940’s. They were treated less than a human being. We saw how they were beaten every day. When we came from the museum we had free time until dinner at Heron Bridge. After dinner we spent time with The Salvation Army youth group.

Chanell Thompson, Age 13

Today was such a wonderful day. Our day began with us visiting the families once again to drop off the rest of the items from our shopping. Then after that we visited the Apartheid Museum.  My fellow ambassadors and I were split up in two groups according to the colors of our skins. Then we returned to HeronBridge where we learned an African socca dance which was fun. So that’s how my day was.

Keara Sheppard, Age 14

Today we went back to Diepsloot to give our families what we bought for them. When we got to one of the family’s home I read her my letter that I wrote and all she could do is smile, clap and say thank you, which made me happy. We went to the Apartheid Museum after that. This museum is nice. It had lots of great information. It also showed the life of Nelson Mandela and how he took a huge part during the Apartheid period. I learned that this was a very unfair time in South Africa for blacks and colored people.

Alysia Roberts, Age 14

Today we went back to Diepsloot to give the rest of the families the food and other things that we bought for them. It made me feel so happy when I gave the items to the family because they were so happy. Their faces lit up so much. When I held one of the babies in my hand I knew that he didn’t understand what was going on, but I could tell that he was happy to see me again. Although he was crying for a little bit, I would like to think there were tears of joy. We also went to the Apartheid museum. Before we went inside we got a ticket that told us whether we were white or colored. It just so happened I was colored. We had to go through a certain gate according to our race. After looking at the different passes everybody came together. It was tough for me to see how the colored people were being treated. They were beaten, abused, and malnourished. It was ridiculous. The babies were so skinny you can count the ribs on their chest, and the bones on their spine. I cannot imagine the mothers having to watch their children slowly dying because some people think they are better than others.

Keion Staton, Age 13

Today I had a great experience going to Diepsloot and going to the Apartheid Museum. When we went to Diepsloot to deliver the clothes and food to the family I was happy. I felt happy because I loved to see the smile on the families faces. We deliver 2 packages and the other groups delivered 8 packages. I felt good that I could help. But there are still thousands of people that still need help. When I get older I’m going to help people in need

JFC ambassadors at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg

After we left Diepsloot I got even happier because we were going to the Apartheid Museum. At the museum we watch a few video clips and a documentary. We also obtained magazines and brochures. When we watched the video clip, I have learned that Europeans have traveled all the way to Johannesburg just to search for gold. I have also learned that Africa had separated sections back in the late 1900’s.

Jordan Griffin, Age 12

Today we went to drop off more goods to Diepsloot. We were able to do the drop off quick and efficiently. The families really appreciated the extra things we gave them. They looked at us as if we were rich because we brought so much stuff.

After we left Diepsloot we went to the Apartheid Museum. We watched two videos about things that were happening in South Africa along with a lot of informational descriptions. There were different entrances and staircases for whites, blacks, etc. There was a terrible riot between blacks and whites. The blacks continued it and wars started. Then Mandela was released only if the violence will stop.               

Kristian Capers, Age 12

                Today we started off with a regular breakfast. Then we looked at today’s schedule. Then we boarded the bus. First we had to drop-off the rest of the shopping gifts to our families in Diepsloot. Then we went to the Apartheid Museum.

                When we dropped the gifts off to the families, they looked so happy. I think the families really benefited from the things we brought them. When we went shopping yesterday we basically bought more of their needs. We also bought Josephina the radio she wanted.

                Then we went to the Apartheid Museum. There, we learned about a dark time in South Africa called the Apartheid Regime. Apartheid was a time of segregation by force in the south. In that museum it seemed as though Nelson Mandela was the savior of that time. At that time, non-whites were beaten and sometimes killed in street raids.

                Even though countless Africans were killed and tortured during this time, they kept hope alive by dance and song. At the museum, there was a wall of his famous quotes. They were divided into the colors blue, green, white, yellow, and red. I personally was a fan of the blue quotes as they pertained to my life.

To view photos of the mission trip to South Africa, please go to:

Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service uplifts the lives of inner-city youth through global travel, volunteerism and advocacy work.  More information on the program can be found at

Journey for Change 2, South Africa Blog3

Alysia Z. Roberts

Today, we went to the Nike Training Center in Soweto. It was a really big building that had a lot of information about different players. We went on a tour and the guide showed us the training room, the changing room, and a really nice view of all of Soweto. The guide also told us about how the Nike Center has a hospital in the back of the building and how the doctors are some of the most professional doctors in all of Soweto. He explained to us that it is the biggest hospital there. At the Nike Center, they also test kids for HIV/AIDS. They teach them how to live a healthy lifestyle even if they are HIV positive. They also had a big soccer field that we got to play on for a few minutes. I will never forget that place. It was an honor to visit, especially knowing how hard it was to get a tour!

Aneudy Taveraz

            Today we went to travel to the Nike Training Center.  It was great!  When we got there it was fun.  I saw names of soccer players, and the people that were MVP of the week.  I saw the jerseys and the jerseys that had people’s

Photo by JFC2 Mentor Andrea Baptista

signatures.  Now, the Nike Training Center helps HIV/AIDS by having a free clinic.  It is used by soccer players getting tested.  They get their results within twenty minutes.  If the results are positive, you don’t have to tell anybody.  If the results are negative, you don’t have AIDS.  The Nike Training Center has a replica of the soccer field.  When I was on the grass I thought that I was going to get dirty, but the grass field was fake.  Also, when all the ambassadors went to the roof we saw the Soweto town.  It was huge.



Brenden Archer

Today I woke up got my self together for the day. For breakfast, I had eggs & 2 English muffins. After breakfast we had some free time before we got on the bus.

We got on the bus to go to the Salvation Army in South Africa. We went to the Salvation Army in South Africa to see the children who don’t have parents who live there. We had a tour of there rooms, clinic, dining room, and chapel. We also went there to see what they do here different than what we do in the United States.

After we came from the Salvation Army we went to the Nike Training Center. I was excited to be there because I learned what the soccer players do to train for their soccer games. I thought it was a very good experience for me because I learned something knew about soccer that I didn’t know.

When we came from the Nike Training Center, we went shopping to get the rest of the things off the list for the families. We had to get most of the stuff for every family I had. I felt good to shop for the families and appreciated because I know they would like that based on what I saw.

Devonte Williams

Today I am so tired. I took a shower wash my face and brush my teeth. After that I got dressed and went to breakfast. At breakfast I had toast and eggs.  Breakfast was so good.

             When breakfast was done everyone went back to their rooms. When I went to my room I packed my bag and then went outside. When I went outside my friend Douglass and I played basketball against two of the mentors. Douglass and I won the game. When the game was over, everyone started to get on the bus. When everyone was on the bus we went to go visit a school and a clinic.

             At the clinic we were taking a tour around the clinic. We got to see the kids room and how they live. When we finish doing that, the kids sang a song for us. Also we sang a song for them to. When they finished we went to go have tea in The Salvation Army. After that we went to the Nike Training Center. At the Nike Training Center they were talking about HIV. Some of the things I learned at the Nike Training Center is that they take HIV very serious. In the center they have their own room dealing with HIV. The Nike Training Center was located in Soweto. I was so jubilant to go to the Nike Training Center.

              The Nike Training Center is a very big place. After the Nike Training Center we went to Macro. The reason we went to Macro was because we had to but]y more things for our South African people that we care for. When we were finished shopping we put our things on the bus and went to back home for dinner. Dinner was so good. It was white rice, chicken and vegetables. When I was finished eating I had hot chocolate and started to finish my blog.


Dorian Anderson

Today was fun.  My Journey for Change group and I had a fantastic breakfast. I went to an orphanage in Soweto.  It was all right because the rooms they slept in were clean.  They offered us tea and biscuits (cookies).  They sang a song for us too and it was beautiful.  Then we also sang for them a song.

Photo by JFC2 Mentor Denise Yeh

After, we went to a Nike “Lace up and save lives” soccer program sponsored by (RED).  It was amazing how many kids will attend the training program a year when it opens.  The sneakers (cleats) that the kids will use were similar to those the professional players use for soccer training.  It has its own weight room and two soccer fields.  It also had showers and changing rooms.  The program gave free HIV/AIDS testing to whomever attended it.  If they have HIV/AIDS they would be put on medication (ARV’s) and go to counseling.

After the Nike soccer programs, the group and I went to finish the rest of the shopping for the families.  We bought them clothes, some school supplies and a water boiler to boil water to have clean water.  Also, we got another electric stove plate for the family who needed it.


Aneudy Taverez

Today was a fun day. We shopped for the families that we are helping. The first time we shopped for them we brought them food.  This time we brought them clothes. We lost track of time so we really didn’t get what we wanted to get. But the things we got were nice and the families should like it.

            We also went to the Nike training Center. I really enjoyed being at the training center because we were able to run around. I thought we were supposed to play soccer, but we didn’t because of time. While we were there they told us that anyone could play at the training center. We also talked more about HIV/AIDS. They told us how people could come and receive ARVs from ages nine to nineteen.


Laquan Dickerson      

Today was fantastic.  I went to a Nike soccer program.  They had a soccer field, pictures of soccer players, and a gym where you can work out.  When we went to the soccer field we started to race- some were winning, some were losing.  I lost a couple of times but I also won.  After racing we took a group photo, and then went shopping.  At first it was boring like last time, but it turned out to be fun.  We saw so many toys and clothes.  It was like I was in heaven!  When we were done, I was so exhausted and went to sleep on the bus.


Douglass Williams

 Today was a fun day. We shopped for the families that we are helping. The first time we shopped for them we brought

Photo by JFC2 Mentor Andrea Baptista

them food.  This time we brought them clothes. We lost track of time so we really didn’t get what we wanted to get. But the things we got were nice and the families should like it.

            We also went to the Nike training Center in Soweto. I really enjoyed being at the training center because we were able to run around. I thought we were supposed to play soccer, but we didn’t because of time. While we were there they told us that anyone could play at the training center. We also talked more about HIV/AIDS. They told us how people could come and receive ARVs from ages nine to nineteen if they are positive after being tested.

Jasmine Brown

Photo by JFC2 Mentor Denise Yeh

 I went to the Nike training center in Soweto.  We got to see the football (soccer) field.  They told us about HIV/AIDS.  You can get tested there for AIDS as well as TB, and other transmitted diseases.  They measure your CD4 count to see if it’s too high, confidentially.  PRODUCT (RED) sponsors the testing center.  Nike sells (RED) laces just for the Global Fund, which I think is really cool.  It only took five months to build the Center and the football field is made by Greenfield company.

Jordan Griffin

 Today we visited one of the Salvation Army in Soweto. It was a great morning. All the kids were great and very friendly. They all knew each other and had no problems even though we were at an orphanage.

            Later on we went to The Nike Training Center, where we learned a lot about the place and how it was constructed.  We also got to go down on the soccer field and race which was fun. Then we learned about people’s strategies with helping HIV/AIDS in the community. They have a testing site at the Center and everybody who plays there can use it for free.  Before we left we went we went to the top of the building and saw a a big beautiful view of Soweto.

            In the afternoon we went shopping for our families.  In order to get things done smoothly, we separated in groups of four. Our budget was on schedule and we were able to buy items for two families each. The day was successful because the groups were able to get all the materials for their families that they wanted.

Kavon Williams

Photo by JFC2 Mentor Denise Yeh


Today we went to a place called the Nike Training Center. At the center we had a tour around the placer. After that we went to the field and played tag. We raced and then we went inside. We saw the HIV/AIDS testing center. When that was over, we saw a view of Soweto from the top of the center. We looked at the view for twenty minutes and then we left.

            This man told us that when kids come to play soccer on breaks they can go inside to get tested and see if they have HIV/AIDS. If they do, they get medicine right away and the proper referrals too. We all had a lot of fun!

Keion Staton

 Today, Journey for Change went to the Nike Training Center.  On our way there, I felt excited because it was my first time being in a soccer center.  I saw pictures of famous football stars in Africa.  I also learned that soccer is called soccer in the United States, but in other parts of the world like Africa it’s called Football.  I also thought that Nike was going to give us free sneakers. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any.

            After we toured the Nike Center, we went on to the highest part of the building and were able to see all of Soweto.  We then went to their soccer field where we ran relay races. Next to the soccer field was the fitness rooms. We toured the dressing rooms and took many pictures of items on the walls. They test the kids in the community who come to the Center for HIV/AIDS because they want to help get rid of the disease in Soweto.  If the kids test positive they get ARV medication.  The Center is free to anyone in the community who comes.

Taijah Jones

 Earlier today we went to the orphanage which made me happy. I was happy because I got to see what the kids do and how they live. All the kids seem very happy there and I’m glad they can call the Salvation Army workers their friends. After the orphanage we went to the Nike Training Center. While we were there, we took pictures, learned about the place, and we tested out the equipment and the soccer field. Our guide told us that when kids come there to work out they get tested for HIV/AIDS. He also showed us the (RED) room where they do the HIV/AIDS testing. Today was fun and inspirational and I hope everybody enjoyed our company.

Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service uplifts the lives of inner-city youth through global travel, volunteerism and advocacy work.  More information on the program can be found at

Journey for Change 2, South Africa Blog2

Jasmine Brown, Age 15 

Yesterday, August 20, 2010 we went to the Constitution Hill.  

Constitution Hill in Joburg, South Africa

I learned that this prison was separated by color.  So all white stayed together got better food, non-whites stuck together and was treated worst.  This rule went for both man and woman. 

We also saw the Hector Peterson Museum.  Where I learned how they killed teens.  I thought about it a lot, because it’s like in New York a lot of teens are killed, teen that were killed in South Africa were killed for standing up for what they believed in.  I personally think that was a little mean. 

We visited Nelson Mandela House.  I saw a lot of stuff like the table he sat at to eat dinner.  The bullet holes in the side of the house.  From when the soldiers were shooting at Mr. Mandela’s wife.  Mr. Mandela was a political activist.  He was thrown in jail for this. 

One that excited but also touch that day was when we went to Soweto to just see how some of them live.  We saw this one family and the lady who lived there said that she lived with no electricity there were a lot people living in the house.  For me to see so many people living in a very small house and still be somewhat happy made me cry.  I complain about space when there are people who don’t have it. 

Today, August 21, 2010we visited people who lived in Diepsloot.  We went to like several homes to find out what they needed.  Most families need food and some kind of light source.  The first family that we visited had eleven people living in a house that only have two bed and not a lot of space.  The older sister who is in charge of the house hold took care of all of them.  It’s shocking because even though its hard they stick together.  Most families in New York, I mean they might have maybe on parent and older sister/brother, but they don’t help out at all. 

I enjoy walking around Diepsloot because I see all these families with children walking around with job just having fun.  There were kids around our age walking around taking care of the little kids.  Maybe I saw a couple of them sing and dancing.  Absolutely everything about there culture makes me so happy inside. 

The last thing we saw was the daycare that is under the angel rock project.  The little kids and adults sang songs for us.  I really enjoy how well these kids who had to be about 4 or 5 could sing their national anthem.  There some people came and danced a little for us which was cool because I didn’t expect it.  I got a chance to take a lot of pictures with some of the kids. 

I hope that I will go home with thing on my mind so different.  I also hope that I make a huge different in someone’s life. 


Shakirah Brown, Age 14 

My experience about the Constitutional Hill was how it was built as jail for people who was separated by their genders/racist and status. When the tour guy had told us about the women was separated by their racist and when he should us the women jail cells. But there were 4 rooms with different crimes. When we was walking and looking around at the cells and the women’s profile was amazed me about want they was going though. An how it went from a jail to a memorial had made me think about want they did. 

My experience about Soweto is when our tour guy was showing us around and the children were so friendly when they came up to us. I was scared to going into their house because I was emotional about going into their homes but I felt prepared by watching television shows about different countries in Africa. I also felt very supportive with my emotions. Then we went to Wandie’s and they had great food there.  I felt comfortable, happy, and fun. We also went to the Mandela’s house and I was inspired by his wisdom and courage to display his achievements. I was feeling good about learning and hopeful about work in Brooklyn. 

Visiting Homes in Diepsloot 

My experience was that I was scared about being too emotional. I was also brave because everyone was going into homes together “ Group Support ‘’.  I was nervous to ask questions to them but I was encouraged by others questions and everyone was doing good. I didn’t feel direct support but I felt the support by being with my group. When we had went to the GOGO’s garden I saw everyone doing good and I felt supported by them when I did work service with them too. Want made me was when they was making jokes and we was laughing, having fun while cleaning up and helping out. I felt warmth and happiness from friendly and loving children’s. 

Maria Nunez, Age 14 

 Yesterday and today were very interesting to me. Yesterday we took a journey to a part of Joburg called Soweto, visiting Soweto was very interesting to me because I heard and saw for myself how connected the community is. The rest of The Team and I visited the Shanty town in Soweto and visited three historic museums. 

                The Shanty town made me feel like I should be more grateful, but even though I was a little emotional because they had so little, I was happy that the Shanty town was a “big ol family.” They connected with each other, watched each others’ children, and, most importantly, they supported each other. I can also say that I was so shocked by the determination parents had for their family. They really would go an extra mile for their children. Our visit to the first museum was at Constitution Hill where Nelson Mandela was held in prison. I was very emotional at that museum because of the torture and cruelty that was going on. It also inspired me because some became very successful in life, such as Nelson Mandela. 

                The second museum was a museum called The Hector Peterson Museum. That museum was in honor of a young South African teenager who was killed by The white police officers because he was a leader. What makes this museum so special is that he wasn’t the only teenager. There were many more after him and that museum is a tribute to all those young leaders. The Hector P. museum was a huge inspiration because seeing how young and how brave they were to speak up for what they hoped and believed in was just incredible. Also, it showed me that back at home some teenagers are getting killed and killing for negative reasons. When it’s not positive they’re fighting for. The last museum was called Mandela’s House. 

                That was the house were Mandela actually started his family. I really enjoyed taking the tour through his old home because it’s real and I was actually walking and touching all the things Mandela walked by and touched.  

Alysia Robert, Age 14 

Yesterday JFC2 went to Soweto to go to a few museums.  The 1st museum we went to was Constitution Hill and I was shocked to find out that in the area there was a jail.  As our tour guide explained to us how the people in the jail cell lived it made me think about the Holocaust and how if the Jewish people had to carry around passes to show their identity and whether they were Jewish or not and if they was Jewish or not and if they was Jewish they were arrested and if they didn’t have a pass they would be arrested.  They same thing applied to South Africa.  Although I do think some people deserved to be in prison I don’t think they should be treated so brutally, such as, not taking a shower for 3-4 months because the bosses (head people in charge) only gave over 200 people to take a shower in 30 minutes and the bosses took up most of the time and if the prisoners were happy about taking a shower they would get beat.  We also visited Nelson Mandela’s house in Soweto and it was crazy to me that the president of Africa is living in such a small house.  That was just a really crazy, interesting day. 

Taijah Jones, Age 14 

                On August 20, 2010 we went to Soweto. While we were there, we went to the Hector Peterson Museum and the Constitutional Hill. At the first museum, we learned about how Hector was the icon of a shooting.  The second museum we learned about people who were tortured in jail.  Some of the things that made me feel like it was unfair were when people had to shower outside. (That‘s wrong because people should have privacy.)  Later on that day, we went to Wandie’s Restaurant and the food was delicious. 

Shari Clark, Age 13
The experience today was good.  We Went into Diepsloot.  We broke up into different groups A, B, C, D, E and F.  I saw one of the shack’s roof had holes.  Also there were lots of bugs flying around the light bulb.  This lady named Elizabeth I ask her do you need clothing?  Elizabeth said they need enough clothes to wear at night?  While I was on the charter bus there were children waving to us.  Young people were walking barefoot or some of them had footwear.  Like some of the shacks I saw weren’t that bad.  Others looked like they really need help.  There was a ceremony where children would sing songs to us.  It surprised me that the lady in one of the shacks told us that she was happy that we came from NYC just to help people in Diepsloot.  Here are some of the questions we asked: 

1.  Do you need school supplies? 

2. How life going? 

3. How many children do you have? 

4. Do you need food? 

Tomorrow we are going shopping for Diepsloot.  Just to help them out and make life easier for them. 


Rochelle Chambers, Age 13


                “Knock knock wake up,” Captain Valerie said. Who would have known that I would have woke up to just that wake-up call because usually when someone trys to wake me up I don’t move. So it was surprising. Our first visit was to the Constitution Hill there we learned how prisoners life was also how they were treated cruel and wrong. Some of the things that I found wrong was that punishment was striping their clothes and being soaked down with hoes in front of everyone for embarrassment. Other things scared me too, for example when our group the “Zumbanas” went in one of the cells there was a lady who was accused for killing her own son without any proof and was hunged. The scary part is that at the end of the biography it said that her ghost is haunting the prison cells. The next place we went to was Soweto, this was our first visit to a village which I was very surprising to see for the very first time how a shack is. Seeing how people live and grateful for what they have is heartwarming. One thing that was very friendly is that if children are walking alone on the streets it would not matter because everyone looks after each other. If I was to experience being in a neighborhood such as that one, I will feel very comfortable because I know there are people watching my back. Eating time! 

                Arriving at Wandies was delicious you can smell the food from coming out the bus. Once we got inside we were asked if we would like a drink our was just day dreaming at the food and someone called my name to make me pay attention. I was so impatient because I was staring. I chose white rice, fried chicken, salad and cake with vanilla frosting.  O didn’t realize until while eating we were entertained with someone playing Bob Marley which was nice. After leaving I wanted a doggie bag to carry the food because it was so good, but sadly I couldn’t. When we came back to the bus we learned a song that was made up by Kelly the mentor and we sang it on our way back home. Today was very new because we got to see a village and see how people in the shacks. 


Myah Lynch, Age 12

Today we did home visit.  We met a lot of GoGo’s that took care of their grandchildren, but they were very grateful for their little shack.  I think it was very sad because it was like 10 ppl in a shack but they had 2-3 shacks.  It was happy too because they were very happy to see us.  I want to go back but we are going shopping for them tomorrow.  I hope we have fun, and I hope they enjoy what we buy. 


Nia Bey, Age 13

Dear JFC followers, 

              I’ve been in South Africa for three days now and I’ve experienced a lot.  We went to constitutional Hill and learned about their rights and government.  We also visited Nelson Mandela’s old house, which was made into a museum and learned things I’ve never knew about him before.  For an example that his real isn’t Nelson.  The name Nelson was put onto him by his teachers because his teachers couldn’t pronounce his real name.  Another thing I’ve experienced was the famous “Wandies,” a African restaurant.  The food is good and rich.  The restaurant also opened my mind to different foods and spices.  We also visited the town of Soweto.  We saw the nice big homes and as we went further we started to see one room shacks.  My emotions suddenly changed from happy to gloomy because I feel that it doesn’t if you have lots of money or none you still don’t deserve to live like that.  Another shanty town we’ve visited was Diepsloot.  It was even worse than Soweto.  In Diepsloot we went to homes and asked people what they needed and I realized that almost said food.  That really hit me in a emotional because I seen homeless people but I’ve never seen poverty like I did in Diepsloot.  Well that’s about it, but I would be doing more blogs to cover the 13 days I’ve got in South African.  


Laquan Dickerson, Age 13

Yesterday I had a good experience.  What touched me was when we arrived at the old prison that was turned into a museum; and hearing stories and seeing what men and females had to go through in prison.  I was really emotional but I tried not to show it.  It made me feel dirty inside by hearing the stories about what people did to the inmates.  I felt terrible. 

Also, we went to Nelson old house, it was very interesting because I never really knew about Nelson.  We took a tour all around his house including his family tree.  It was a good experience to visit his old house.  I will be happy to tell my school about.  I hope we do more fun stuff J. 


Kristian Capers, Age 12

                The thing that kicked off our morning yesterday was going to a museum.  We (Journey for Change) went to Constitution Hill.  That museum has real artifacts.  Artifacts that were not moved from the exact place they were centuries ago.  There we also learned about women’s prisons.  

                I learned a lot for that day from the women’s artifacts.  I learned that sometimes two or three women had to stay in the same cell.  Women who were still awaiting the decision of their trials stayed in special cells.  They were called communal cells.  The grounds which we walked were very nice.  As if they’d been cleaned every hour. 


Keion Staton, Age 13

Keion Day Two Blog from the perspective of Day Three 

Yesterday I was kind of sad because when we went to Soweto and we say very poor people. Some people didn’t have anything on their feet.  After that we went to Constitution hill and learn about history.  We went to nelson’s Mandela old house and learn even more about Nelson Mandela. 

After Nelson Mandela house we went to a museum and learn a lot about wars in South Africa. We also got to look at pictures and almost everybody has a story for the pictures.  For dinner we went to Wandy’s back to Soweto.  The restaurant Wandy’s has great food and was very classy.  We also listen to music in the restaurant. 

Today when I woke up I felt very tired.  But, when we got on the bus to go to Diepsloot I saw things so shocking that I actually started tearing.  They didn’t have regular house like in the US.  There house were made out of scrap metal. 

We visited a couple of houses and took down notes about what they need.  I felt sad because I have never experienced something like what I saw.  After that we went to a school and had lots of fun. 


Keara Sheppard, Age 14

Yesterday was a very exciting and interesting day.  We visited the constitutional hill museum which gave a lot of information about South Africa.  We got to visit Mandela’s cell which for me was my favorite part.  We also traveled to Soweto yesterday and saw a community.  The conditions of the community weren’t that great, but the people there didn’t let that get to them.  The last part of my day was when we went to a restaurant called Wandee’s.  The good was great.  Today we went to do home visits in Diepsloot.  My group and I visited 3 different homes.  This was basically a poverty struck community, but the people were so nice and welcoming.  Though, it made me feel bad to see some of the homes, I was also excited because I knew that tomorrow we will be providing them with some of their needs.  It warmed my heart to see and hear how excited the people were to see us.  One other exciting thing today was when we went to the day case and handed our gift bags.  There were so excited and that made me excited as well. 


Kaela Jones, Age 12

                Over the past three days, I’ve learned a lot about South African history and culture.  History in South Africa is very interesting to me because life in the US is very different from life in Africa.  The second day when I got comfortable, we first went to a museum called “Constitutional Hill.”  I thought it was so overwhelming how women were treated differently from men.  I also learned that they used communal cells to separate the boss and the maids.  And I think that was horrible.  We took pictures at the museum and I related to something that was very powerful and personal. 

                Later on in the evening, we went to Wandie’s.  Wandie’s is an African restaurant.  I sat with my friends and ate delicious food.  I ate potatoes, chicken, vegetables and rice.  After I ate, we went home and took a shower and went to sleep.  Today we went to go help the GOGOs, who are the grandmas of the household.  Group C went to visit four households and ask about their lives.  Then children and adults had a celebration.  After we cleaned a garden and made it nice.  It was a wonderful journey and I hope to see more. 


Jordan Griffin, Age 12


Yesterday we went to constitution Hill and learned about conditions in jail.  They got tortured by like getting torches shoved up girls private parts.  We was able to see how women and men slept.  They white people had way better conditions.  They sometimes slept outside. 

There was a punishment chamber and it was steel café but had openings.  They sprayed cold water at the person in there every hour and let them free during the night.  Also the punishment chamber has ghost in it. 

We also went to a restaurant in Soweto.  The food was great.  I had three things rice, beef, and some type of meat that was great.  Out table was funny because the mentors kept comparing this girl and I to a movie.  That’s because of the way that we acted. 


Gabrielle Bradley, Age 12

                Today is August 21, 2010 our third day in Africa. It has been an enjoyable trip so far. Yesterday we went to The Constitutional Hill, Soweto, Mandela’s home and Wandies. 

                The Constitutional Hill is a prison. I felt very said about how people were treated and punished. It was a cruel punishment to the women because when the had their period they had to show them that she was pleading. Also when they had there periods they would have to try and still shoe laces to keep up the pads because if it fell the would get beat. The thing that I thought was cruel about the men’s punishment is that they had to do chore like activities for the gang leaders to get cigarettes and other things. But the most mean thing that they had to do was during the strip search they had to show all their private parts to everyone as discriminations. 

                In Soweto it was very exciting because we had a tour. When we got off the bus in Soweto we were greeted by little kids and other people. It made very happy because with the little they had they were so appreciative to see us. During the tour we went into a lady’s house and she showed us around. It was very moving because she lives in a small shack with only two rooms. Also, the children there was very nice to talk and friendly. 

                At Mandela’s house we saw everything. Such as there beds, tables, picture and many more. Then after that we went to Wandies it was very fun. The foods that they had were rice, this grits like food, curry chicken and beef. For dessert they had cake and ice-cream. For dinner I had rice, curry chicken and beef. And for dessert I had vanilla ice-cream. 


Emani Hears, Age 13

Today we visited ‘go-go’ households.  When I saw the states of how the shacks looked I felt sad.  The way how I complain about my room compared to their shacks, I get forgetful about how others live.  When I saw the insides of the families’ homes, I couldn’t stand the sight because of how small they were living and the things they didn’t have.  I heard that they don’t have food and electricity.  This kind of stuff you wouldn’t hear about in New York, other than the homeless, but living in shacks here would be better than people living on the streets of NY with nothing. So it’s like I woke up from the selfishness I have. 

 To get daily updates of my trip in South Africa please read more of my blogs on Karito Kids® at 


Douglas Williams, Age 14

Yesterday, we were on a tour and saw a lot of different places and people. We went to three different important places. Those places were Constitutional Hill, Hector Peterson Museum, and Nelson Mandela’s old house. The three places we went to were surprising and fun because I learned about new things regarding Africa’s history. I learned more about Nelson Mandela and his family. Constitution Hill was a jail and I learned about the conditions the inmates had to undergo there. 


Dorian Anderson, Age 13 


On the 20th I learned a lot. I visited memorial things in Soweto. I visited shacks. I wanted to help those in Soweto, but I couldn’t. I felt bad for the living conditions. 

Constitution Hill was a very harsh place to live in back in those times. The meals were good, the days were great but long. 


Dijore Harris, Age 12 

Day 2 

Yesterday was a frightening day.  The reason why it was a frightening day to me is because the lady was taking care of five kids with little food and no heat.  I wanted to cry but I didn’t.  She looked hopeless and cold.  After we were done with the tour we went to Wandies.  Wandies is a place that we ate at.  I had rice, sheep, and a sprite.  We also had entertainment.  After we had dinner, we had ice cream and cake.  When we were full we got ready and went back home.  That was the day.  


Devonte Wilson, Age 13


Day 2 in Johannesburg was another fun day. I went to Hector Peterson Museum. I also went to Constitution Hill. This was a prison and was intended to be temporary. From 1902, the Johannesburg council had urged the government to regulate the prison because it did not want a jail in the middle of the city. Prison regulations demeaned prisoners in every aspect of their lives. This was so particularly for black women. 

Until 1976, all black prisoners were forced to remove their shoes and panties upon admission into the prison. There were showers and toilets at the back of the cells. Pregnant women were trained to take care of their babies in prison. When they stayed in the cell for too long, they thought about killing themselves. Whites were a better race and thus had better cells. I went to the Constitution Hill that was built on March 24th, 2004. The colors on the African flag are red, white, yellow, green, black, and blue. Red stands for the bloodshed, white stands for peace, yellow stands gold, green stands for agriculture, black stands for people, and blue stands for water and climate. I also went into Nelson Mandela’s house, and the last thing I did was had a great dinner at Wandies. 


Dara Hutchinson, Age 13

Well on Friday 20,2010 everyone went to Soweto two look at the living and visit a little bit of people and their homes. I felt a little sad because I most of the things I want from my family and here in South Africa they don’t have that much. Also we went out to eat and the food was ……. WOW so good I just wanted two take the people back to the USA with me. We also went to some other places like the old jail and when we was there I felt like wow the people were in different groups like: blacks, whites, other, men, women, and the men  & women had to do a dance and that made them feel real bad. Now today Saturday 21,2010 we went to go see our go goes and I was happy because wanted to see their house how they live and sleep but when I went in …  I was quite like a baby I just look and wow I never knew that this is how they live I wanted to cry out but I just well after talking with them I hugged one of the go goes 


Bria Henry, Age 12


              Yesterday we went to a museum by the name of constitution hill. Constitution hill a  segregated jail not only by race but by gender. During our tour around constitution hill went spent a lot of time looking around at very famous objects we were hearing about Nelson Mandela a very famous Advocate to allot of young and old women and men we were hearing about how he spent 26- 30 years in jail just for trying to persuade people that black and whites being separated was wrong and that everyone should be equal.  We also went to the Mandela museum which was also his house that they made into a museum it was very extraordinary experience to hear about how he lived.  Before we went to the museum we went to visit lots of people in Soweto and saw their house I was very sad that we could not help them with anything I was very sad to know that went we left a shack and a person and couldn’t help but we help so how with love we showed them. At the end of the night we went to a restaurant named Wandies. It was a very fun and the food was great and amazing I had a very good experience at the restaurant. 


Brenden Archer, Age 12

Yesterday we went to Constitution Hill.  We learned what Black and White men and women had to do when they went to prison.  We also went to the Hector Peterson museum.  We learned that he got shot at the age of 14 because he was protesting for the rights of the Black students to speak their native language and not the language of the white oppressor. We also went to Nelson Mandela’s old house, which was also in Soweto. 


Aneudy Taveraz, Age 13

Well, in these past days I realized the goods and the bads, like the difference.  Well we visited the Constitution Hill, which was a prison.  Trust me, it was not like a USA prison, it was terrible prison.  You had to take number two’s in a toilet that was in the ground.  But the good thing about the prison it had an exact replica that really look real, and all the details were interesting.  When we visited Soweto, it was harsh that the poor lady had to take care of 5 children by herself without electricity, can you imagine that!!! That will be sad, even a girl of the JFC Program started feeling sad, some of us had to make her feel better.  Now, I enjoy myself, because I played Casino with other African people.  I t was fun.  And the African people know how to go green, like they will find garbage and make it into something useful like toys or building houses. 

 Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service uplifts the lives of inner-city youth through global travel, volunteerism and advocacy work.  More information on the program can be found at

Journey for Change 2, South Africa Blog1

Alysia Roberts, Age 14

 Yesterday Wednesday morning I had to say goodbye to my parents as I boarded the bus to travel 15 hours from New York to Johannesburg, South Africa. I didn’t think it would be that bad, although, 15 hours does sound like a long time. MY PARENTS WOULD NOT STOP HUGGING ME! I didn’t really think it was that big of a deal, though, I was not taking for granted that I was actually going to Africa. The bus ride was okay I didn’t sleep no matter how much I tried.

As we got to the airport things went a little more smoother than I thought it would, I thought it would be crazy and everybody would be running around. Instead it was better than when I go on vacation with my parents. I actually didn’t have any problems with the airport except the fact that every time we sat down and I would get comfortable we would have to get up again and walk to a different seating area up until we finally boarded the plane.

 Well we got on the plane and it was bigger than a normal plane and the 1st class area had beds. The economy (coach) part of the plane had mini television screens so I guess I would have been able to live with that. The plane ride was extremely long but it was fun. As I was waiting for the plane to land I watched a couple movies, listened to music, and talked to my newly found friends. I slept for a little bit, it felt like I was asleep forever but it was only like 30 minutes.

 We finally got off the plane and I couldn’t believe how modern Johannesburg looked, I always pictured Africa as there being dust everywhere and little cars or vans. I got the total opposite from what I expected there to pick us up was some fancy coach buses and barely any dust. We finally arrived to HeronBridge and again I didn’t expect what I saw. The school was so nice with the little kids running around and playing and it was perfect weather, hot and sunny. When we checked in we went into the rooms and they were so small barely any space for one suitcase but yet two people was staying in the room.            

It was amazing and I still can’t believe that I’m in Africa.       

Shakirah Brown, Age 14

When I left the U.S.A. my experience was that I was going to feel like I wanted to cry because I left my family. But later on I felt comfortable with being with everyone that’s around me. Then we got on the plane and I thought I was going to get plane sick because we started to go up in the air. The plane food was okay I enjoy that I love there apple juice and there tea. But I thought to myself and said “ Just relax  and don’t worry “. I also had fun on the plane cause we watch movies and played games. Then we had made it to Johannesburg an we started to check into our rooms an then we follow want our instructions. The food here was good I enjoy everything they served for us an thank them for the food. Basically that’s how my experience was from here and now.



Maria Nunez, Age 14

When I said Good Bye to my mom I got a little emotional . I have never been this far away from my mom and if I ever was to leave U.S I would be with my mother. My  flight was very uncomfortable ! I could barely bring my seat back . My legs began to hurt and my neck, I could not wait to get off. I have never been on a 15 hour trip and I have never been to South Africa. Finally we arrived safely, to get to Heronbridge we were to take a bus. The bus ride went good , I noticed a lot of different things. I noticed on one side of a street there were shacks but across the street there were mansions. When we arrived to HeronBridge I was satisfied with my room , not to mention me and my roommate Taijah get along great!

My first day was ok but being that I was tired it kind of took all the fun out of it . I attended our 1st orientation in South Africa. We were welcomed by the Salvation Army members in South Africa with a traditional dance by there younger generation. I enjoyed it ! I participated in 1 of their dances. Also later on that day we had another orientation discussing HIV/AIDS. The information that was giving to us was told by a HIV/AIDS expert. I learned a lot and I was in shock because there are a bunch of countries in Africa and there were 5 countries that were infected tremendously. I am very happy to be a part of Journey for Change because it is really giving me the chance to open up, express myself ,and see different things.

Kavon Willams, Age 12

When I said goodbye to my mom I was very sad because I will miss her then I started crying because I did not want to leave her. So when we got on the bus to go to the plane I stop crying because I know I would get over it. So when we got on the plane for about 3 hours I had to get up and talk to my friends that was all the way in the front because they let us do that. When we landed I was happy. When we first got here all of us saw a chicken and then we went to our rooms to get started. Then we came in 4 lunch and the food was good. Then the people talk to us about what we r doing the rest of the day.  The people also talk to us about hiv/aids and how its speding all over. then we had a little play time then it was time 4 diner  then we started on our blogs.


Taijah Jones, Age 14

All excitement started at 7:00, but then it was time to say goodbye. As we loaded the plane I started to get more and more excited to reach South Africa.  On the plane for 15 hours we finally landed in Johannesburg, South Africa. Our first mission was to have lunch then go to an orientation.  The first orientation was mainly to welcome Journey 4 Change into South Africa. The Orientation held talented kids from a salvation army. The kids perform for us and we really enjoyed it, we learned a little something from ourselves. The last orientation was about HIV/AIDS. We learned about the greatest and the least amount of countries suffering from HIV/AIDS. A lady from the meeting told us a story about her and HIV/AIDS; she was brave enough of her to speak to us about something personal of hers. Our Journey has just started but it is yet to be over.

Shari Clark, Age 13

Today the first day Journey For Change 2 trip was nice. We checked in our luggage. Took transportation two charter buses two our dorms. Also we ate lunch before went two orientations .One of two orientations was talking about HIV/Aids. Other one talking about  South Africa how they speak 11 different luggage. After that we had free time and dinner.

 To get daily updates of my trip in South Africa please read more of my blogs on Karito Kids® at


Rochelle Chambers, Age 13

Leaving home to travel for 14 hours on a plane to South Africa was very exciting to me because I never experienced traveling for so long neither going to South Africa .On the plane I thought for 14 hours on a plane would be boring but as soon as I heard that we can watch TV show cases, movies and play games sound very fun. The fun started to expire because it was kind of boring plus when food came I was very disgusted because the plate was drained with oil. So I skipped lunch, our next meal was breakfast, that disappointed me because the eggs did not taste like eggs and the ham was sweet. Sleeping for me was very uncomfortable because there was too much commotion going on through the plane, but towards the end of the ride I fell asleep and that was not a smart idea.  Finally coming off the plane, my stomach was hurting me so bad for the whole day at first I thought it was just me but it was other children to. Leaving the airport we took a comfortable coach bus which I was able to get my hour sleep to our cabins. I was so excited to see how nice it look but when we went inside it was freezing to search for my room, to find out that my roommate and I room was the smallest upstairs which wasn’t fair. But we made the best out of it because it the warmest room. Our first orientation was to introduce us to South Africa which was entertaining to how the South Africans dance and showing them how we Americans dance which was funny to see them try to do different dances. The next orientation was about HIV\ Aids this experience was very moving because a lady name Rosina stand up and talked about her learning that she is HIV positive. Next was dinner time there I felt my stomach ache coming on again and soon reach to a bathroom to vomited which was gross. But was relieved because once of the mentors gave me a ginger candy. When I came back from the restroom we received a card with our name and the meaning and heard a poem with all of our meanings inside of it which was very cool. So far my journey to today was exciting and I can’t wait for tomorrow.   

 To get daily updates of my trip in South Africa please read more of my blogs on Karito Kids® at


Nia Bey, Age 13 

Dear JFC followers ,

Yesterday I took a flight from Brooklyn , New York  to Johannesburg , Africa.  The flight was long but I didn’t mind because I was excited . It was my first time out of the country and I was up for the new memories and experiences. This morning I finally landed in Johannesburg and it was colder than I expected. We got our luggage and didn’t waste no time . We took a two hour bus ride to the place we are staying at , Heron Bridge . It is pretty nice. After we settled in we ate lunch. The food wasn’t really different from American food except for the noodle casserole . Then we had an orientation , there was food , dancing and lots of fun . After the orientation we had a meeting about HIV/AIDS. It informed me about a lot that I didn’t know. For an example , South Africa has the most people that are infected with the HIV/AIDS virus in Africa itself. We finally  had dinner after a long day.  Last was my favorite part of the day ,debriefing because I found out my name ,Nia, means bright purpose. Then our busy day finally ended.

  To get daily updates of my trip in South Africa please read more of my blogs on Karito Kids® at


Laquan Dickerson, Age 13

 When  I  left the United  States  I  really didn’t know what to expect. I  was  scared  to  get  on  the  plane  I never  liked  planes. I  always  think  it  might  crash. When  we  landed  in  Africa  I  really  couldn’t  believe  it. I  never  traveled  to  another  country  before. When  I  saw  the  people  that  were  from Africa I said “WOW”. I  wasn’t  expecting  everybody  to  have  a  African  voice.  I didn’t  think  Africa  was  so  beautiful. When  the  bus  was  driving  us  to  the  dorms  I noticed  that  Africa  and  America  have  the  same  stores. This  trip  was  more  than  I  expected. In  the  orientation  today  I  was  shocked  that  a  lady  that  had  AIDS  was  wanted  to  speak  with  us. The  lady  was  proud  to  speak  about  what  she  went  threw  it  touched  me  a little but  I tried  no  to  get  emotional  because  I’m  sensitive. I’m  looking  forward  to  having  a  great time and  a wonderful  experience. I still cant  believe  I’m  in  Africa  its  hard  to believe  I’m  very  excited.


Kristian Capers, Age 12

 The day we finally leave. It is 6:30 as I wake up to go to the Salvation Army, to leave for Africa. I hate waking up early but I’m so anxious that I don’t even notice it. Its finally time to say our goodbyes.  I am happy because I have never traveled out of the country by myself before. I am happy that I will get my first stamp on my passport at the age of 12. As I am leaving that I am the first one in my family to travel out of the country. I said goodbye to my mom, dad, grandma, auntie, uncle and brother, I know a lot of people.

 On the bus I talk until we get to the airport. When we get there we grab our bags and head to the line. We are first!! It is my turn and I show my passport, and then a mistake comes up on my mentor’s passport. Me and my partner stand by and wait while everyone passes us by. Then we are told to go on ahead. When we get to the next station we prepare for metal detectors (ugh). Good thing I picked that day to wear pants that don’t require a belt. I breezed through the metal detectors.

             When we get to the plane I find my seat and sit down. The plane ride goes so slow but I made it through. We land in Africa and head to check in at our dorms. When we get there it is straight down to business. We go to our first official orientation. We watch African performers dance and hear them sing. It was a wonderful experience. That’s why I caught it all on video tape. I suffer from sever jet lag throughout the day. Then we have lunch, then dinner. So far my time here has been great and I hope it stays that way.

Keion Staton, Age 13

 When I was leaving the salvation army, I was excited I said bye to my family. I got on the bus and sat in my seat. It took us at least 30 min. to get to the airport. Once we got to the airport we gave our bags to the security, And waited for the plane. When we got on the plane it took us a while to take off. When we took off the plane went fast and it was bumpy. I took out my game and started playing it. Then a hour later the flight attendant gave us food.

 Later on that day everybody went to sleep. I had a had time sleeping because that was my first plane flight. After I went to sleep, they woke me up to eat lunch. Then everybody went back to sleep, when we got off the plane we had to take a bus to our hotel. When we reach our hotel we looked at our rooms. Then ate dinner at the dinning area.  And went back to our rooms.

 After that we watch a show at the other side of the hotel. We watch a couple of shows and then we ate again.  After we had a little free time. Then we typed our blogs.

Keara Sheppard, Age 14

We arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa at about 9 this morning. The plane ride was very comfortable and relaxing. Though, when we changed time zones I got a little thrown off. While we were on our way to the HeronBridge Retreat, the place where we’re staying, it felt like I was still in America. I watched the scenery as we drove and didn’t look much different except for the fact that there is no concrete. Our first meeting was very exciting. We got to watch and learn some of the dances the youth did here. In return we showed them some of the dances we do in America. It was something to remember.

Kaela Jones, Age 12

 I can say my experience from the time that I left to now is great. But there are some differences from New York and South Africa. Well some differences are the time differences. The time from here and in South Africa is 6 hours apart. And in South Africa there is a lot of land.  A lot of animals around. The same things are there are hotels like there are in New York, there are fast food places too. I can say that South Africa and New York are kind of the same but at the same time there are differences. But the plane ride was kind of weird. I say that because I have not been on a plane since I was 4 years old. But beside that everything is well.

  To get daily updates of my trip in South Africa please read more of my blogs on Karito Kids® at


Jordan Griffin, Age 12

 When we were getting ready to leave our parents I felt happy to be alone, but a little sad because I did not want to leave.  I wanted to stay with my family and stay in New York. Then my parents said goodbye and we got on the bus. The bus ride was quick and we did not really do anything but talk to my partner about how is the trip going to be.

 Then we unloaded off the buses as we got off the bus. We checked in then waiting about 20 mins and then it was time to get on the plane.  The plane took off going way fast then we was in the air on the side watching the view. I just played some games having a regular plane ride. Then some people started changing seats in my row. I ended up with about five girls. They had me cracking up laughing that I could not even go to sleep. Then every time the plane made a turn or drop they were scared. We had to be told about 50 times to be quiet.  I was finally able to get just a 1 hour sleep. Then woke back up and had food which I did not like. Especially the breakfast the eggs made my stomach terribly hurt. The ride was long then we got off.

 Journey For Change and I went to get our bags and then rode to our place to stay. I saw a lot of great stuff. When reached our destinations and went inside saw where we slept and unpacked. We choose if we were sleeping on top or bottom beds. Then we went to lunch and had rice and chicken it was good. After we had a couple of orientations and learned some dances. We learned about HIV/AIDS from a professor then heard a true story from a person positive of Aids. After we broke into teams and learned who were going to be with when we go to Diepsloot and who’s showing us around.

 Later we had dinner and it was beef with some nice sauce and rice. Then we waited so we could blog about our day 1 experience while we drank coffee and hot chocolate.


Jasmine Brown, Age 15

 Dear Journey for Change followers

                                                                Well at first I thought it would be easy to say good bye to my family .I was so ready to just  get  on the bus and go on my way, but it wasn’t I cried and cried. I thought my grandmother wasn’t going to stay and say good bye. In the end she did come back I was kind of sad because my baby sister was crying to, and she wouldn’t stop. The bus ride was pretty easy and fast we stayed at the JFK Airport for few hours. We took the South African Airwave (SAA). It was a little strange because I don’t remember the last time I was on the plane or at an airport.

       The flight seem like it took forever but it was fun. We watched movies, and played games but I mostly slept. I didn’t believe people when they it would be cold on the plane.  I was so cold I had to blanks and a sweater. They served us beef with carrots and mash potatoes with some kind of  dessert. I was good just eating my cookies. It was funny because me and the person I was sitting next to kept play so much.

                As we got closer and closer to south Africa it seem so much closer . When we land in the airport it didn’t seem as what I expected. We took this big couch bus to the resort it was real nice driving pass all these beautiful houses. When I arrive at the resort I dropped my stuff off in my room and came to the café. We had some kind of spaghetti with vegetable and chicken tenders which was pretty good.

                 Then some kids from the salvation of South Africa came and did a little dance and taught how to dance to. We got to talk to a lady who has HIV/AID. She told us how it is for her to live with HIV/AIDS. We had a lovely dinner that didn’t really eat but I heard it was good.  I call my mom, grandmother, and grandfather they seem so excited to hear from me. Well tomorrow is another day and I’m so excited.


Gabrielle Bradley, Age 12

                 Hello today is Thursday August 19,2010 it is the first day in Africa. We have been on a long Journey coming from New York to Africa. First we had to be at the Salvation Army at 7 o’clock in the morning. Next we got on the bus to go to J.F.K. airport and departed from the airport at 10 o’clock. On the plane I watched Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Princess and the frog. Then they served us some fish or beef with fried rice. Then I ate fruits and candy. After that I got up to go sit with my friends in the back. Then I went back to my seat and fell asleep. By the time I woke back up it was the next day. At that time they were about to serve breakfast. They were serving either eggs or pancake. I had got pancakes but I did not eat it because it didn’t have any syrup. But I ate the fruits and the yogurt and it was good. Then I went to go brush my teeth and use the bathroom. In the next 30 minutes they said will be in Africa. I was so happy.

 To get daily updates of my trip in South Africa please read more of my blogs on Karito Kids® at 


Emani Hears, Age 13

 The place that I live in is Brooklyn, New York. It’s almost like South Africa. I say this because the cities are alike. In South Africa they have many stores like in New York. They both have highways and many, many more stuff alike. Most of the food taste the same, but there were many things I didn’t like. When we boarded the bus to the JFK airport I didn’t cry at all. The travel to South Africa was very long. It seemed short though. I enjoyed the plane ride a lot, I had so much fun with my friends. I watched many movies, TV, talked to friends and listened to music. When we got onto the airplane I was so excited. So now I’m in South Africa. I am having so much fun so far with my friends. So far we have gone to two orientations, lunch, and dinner. The orientations were about the JFC2, and the second one was faced on HIV/AIDS.        

 To get daily updates of my trip in South Africa please read more of my blogs on Karito Kids® at



Douglas Williams, Age 14

 Saying goodbye to my parents was hard leaving them for two weeks. When we left and got on the bus I thought I wasn’t going to be able to have fun, but from getting off the bus to the getting on the plane it was a lot of fun. We had different types of food , was able to watch different types of movies, tv shows ,and different music. It was very hard to sleep on the plane people was taking pictures, had all different types of candy, food, and yelling because of the excitements. When we landed we had a full day planed and lots of us was very tired. We learned about HIV/AIDS. We also seen a women that had HIV/AIDS and she talked about what she has to go through since she has HIV/AIDS.

                There also was a guy that spoke with us about HIV/AIDS. He was telling us what people has to go through since they have to deal with HIV/AIDS. When we came home we seen a live chicken. People were so excited about our rooms and roommates. We seen South African dances and the dances were really nice. A different guy was telling us about how South Africans live. What they like to do. When we first got off the plane we seen a lot of left over world cup stuff.


Dorian Anderson, Age 13

 Today and yesterday was great!

Yesterday I went on a plane to South Africa. The flight was long. The food was great, except the eggs. Well, I was going to have two chairs to myself, but a “person” came and sat in the chair next to me.

Today the orientation was great. The first one was very informational. I almost fell asleep during the orientation though. But after a cup of coffee I was up and ready for the second orientation.

The second orientation was great. I took a lot of notes. The notes are very informational. The people who spoke were inspiring.

 I am grateful to be here so far. I hope everyday is fun, and informational like today. I almost forgot the airport was great, clean and less crowded. The dorms are great also, but cold.


Dijore Harris, Age 12

 When I got on the bus to go to JFK airport for our trip to South Africa, I was kind of upset because I had to tell my mother goodbye for two weeks and that was hard. The reason why we’re going to South Africa is because we’re advocating for the poor and are learning more about HIV/AIDS. When I got to the airport I was shock because it was my first time at JFK airport and on a plane.

 When I got on the plane my ears popped because of something. When we took off I was frighten to start with but when we was in the air I got use to it. The ride was very long, but we manage to get here.

 At the end of the day we had an orientation to go to. When we got there we saw amazing dancing and we learn more about HIV/AIDS. After that we ate dinner and headed to be.


Devonte Wilson, Age 13

 Today was so fun.  I am finally in South Africa I can’t believe.  When I first got off the plane I walk straight outside from the air plane. When I step foot outside I notice that it was cold and I needed a sweater on me. Then we went outside and got on the bus and went to HeronBridge. HeronBridge was the place that we were going to say at. When I first got in my room I found out that my roommate was one of my friends. While I was in the room I started to unpack my clothes and put them in my closet.

               When I finish unpacking it was lunch time. When lunch was over I went to my orientation. While I was in the orientation I saw Ms. Elizabeth and Mr. Donaldson. They were giving me and my fellow friends a talk. After all of that people from The Salvation Army started to tell us about them self they were singing and dancing. While they were singing one of the singers came up to me and was rubbing my face. When everything was done Professor Jeffery was talking to us and I was taking notes. When he finish talking it was dinner time. Everyone ate and laughed then I started to right my Blog 1.


Dara Hutchinson, Age 13

 My trip so far was awesome . Being back on the plane was reminding me the time I was on the plane for the 1st time. On the plane was so fun even though people was playing around like the plane was like a photo shoot it was fun. It was so hard for everyone two sleep because we were watching movies, playing games, and listening to music. Finally every one slept for like about 10-30 min. I had trouble sleeping because of time changing I felt so tired that I finally slept. When on the land of Africa it was so unique but the same from another place I went to.  I wanted to sleep in my HOME but we had two orientations in one DAY man I was tired trying to keep up with the lesson. Well finally the day is finishing up and tomorrow is the big day along with the rest of the trip. I can’t wait to see what the other days bring!!!

 To get daily updates of my trip in South Africa please read more of my blogs on Karito Kids® at


Briana Kirven, Age 13

 Hello my name is Briana. I had a wonderful flight on the plane. I hung out with my best friends. The flight was 14 hours long but it was fun. The people that was serving food served two meals for lunch I ate fish it was awesome. I went to sleep and when in woke up I ate breakfast which was pancakes and eggs it was delicious When we got to Africa I was so excited. When I saw my room I was surprise because it was very big. My roommate name is Dara. She is a cool person but she is just too loud sometimes, but I can deal with that.

  To get daily updates of my trip in South Africa please read more of my blogs on Karito Kids® at 


Bria Henry, Age 12

 My day was very fun from the day the time I was standing outside of The Salvation Army saying goodbye to all my family and friends. My flight to South Africa was very long and upsetting I was getting restless and wanted to get up and move around but was too scared of the plane going through the clouds. During the flight I fell asleep on and off and I tried to stay up for the last five hours of the flight but found myself dozing off and before I knew it I was fast asleep. When I woke up it was time to eat breakfast and time to head toward land. Then the plane landed and I arrived in South Africa and got on a bus to go to HeronBridge and time to get ready to go to orientation.

 Brenden Archer, Age 12

When I left my mom and brother I was sad. I was sad because I knew that I wasn’t going to see them for two weeks. When I left them I was crying because I have never traveled so far wit out my mom. After I finished saying goodbye I got on the bus we had to put our bags on the bus but I wasn’t so sad. When we got on the bus to go to the airport it was a short trip.

 When we got to the airport we had to unload our bags on the bus. After that we ha to get our passports checked. Once we got past the passport check we had to go through security. When we got past security we had to give our luggage to the crew flight. When we finished doing that we went to the waiting area so we can catch our flight.

 When I got on the plane I found my seat I put my bag under the seat. I got comfortable because I knew we was going to be a long flight. I listened to the crew flight instructions. Once they were done I put on my seat belt and got ready for flight once we were in the air the TV turned on and I watched some movies. When I got done with the movies I played my PSP. When my PSP died I went to sleep I waited for my PSP to charge. Then the flight crew came around with dinner I asked for beef and rice .

 The beef and rice was good. After that I continued to play games and watch movies. As time passed by it was breakfast time I had pancakes then we got off the plane. We got our bags and got on the bus to Heronbridge and we did orientations until dinner time.


Aneudy Taveraz, Age 13

 Hi my name is Aneudy Taveraz. So far in my experience from the plane ride to now is fun. In the plane ride, it was

Cool because we had food service we all watch a movie listened to music. When we got off the plane I felt relief that we was in South Africa.

 Bus ride

 When all the ambassador’s left the airport we all went to the bus. Out the window I saw a lot of interesting things it felt like we was still in New York. I saw a hotel, a gas station, and the heron bridge college. I NEVER NEW THEY HAD ALL OF THAT!!!

 HeronBridge Retreat

 When all the ambassador’s left the bus we went to check in on our rooms it was fantastic, I felt like I was in the Hershey park hotel. In the room there was a bunk bed, a window and a two way closet. I felt like this was home. To me today was like the best day ever.

 To view photos of the mission trip to South Africa, please go to:

Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service uplifts the lives of inner-city youth through global travel, volunteerism and advocacy work.  More information on the program can be found at