I can’t possibly do the answer to this question justice. Connecting with the people she met in SA is at the top of the list. She says that her peer group does not have the same understanding of their place in the world as the teenagers she met in SA. How she views her own daily life is different. I will not be surprised to see this trip referenced on college applications as having profoundly impacted her outlook. The projects were key. On and on and on, I could go.
The trip was a real eye-opener for my daughter. One of her first comments to me after the trip was “Boy, things are sure different outside of the US.” That, in itself, is a valuable life lesson. But she was also very touched by families that she met, particularly the children. And, I think she felt like a little bit of a better person for helping out others in need.
One could only hope that she has a heightened sense of gratitude and appreciation for all that she has taken for granted. It was great that she got to experience how good it feels to work hard for a cause you believe in and the joy of giving.
My daughter spoke at length about the trip – so I know it made a huge impact on her. She has stated numerous times that she wishes she were still in So Africa. I hope the ODFL club will keep the momentum going during the school year so that the students can be involved in what is brought next year and they can have some say about the types of service projects they will do. I would like to see the students evolve to do more problem solving if they go again.
The first time leaving the USA is always a profound experience. Even the process of getting the documents together to leave is a good exercise. The nature of the trip in its goals to help and not be entertained, to live simply, and to care deeply and have fun doing it all were highlights and most likely to be lasting. I think my daughter now has two lifelong philanthropies: ODFL and Cuddle Trust.
I think a lot of great friendships were developed on the trip due to the shared experience and challenges of traveling. The cultural aspects of the trip (people, food, environment) were very interesting and did open my child’s eyes to other ways of life.
The experience really opened her eyes to how some people live in the world with so much less.
Great travel experience in that ODFL provides safe environment with ‘approved’ partners and offers wonderful way to be immersed in another culture.
Great stuff they did, but most impressions probably came from experiencing and growing with a group of peers. travel and shared experience is very powerful.
My daughter said it was the best thing she has done in her life. It was very empowering and impactful on her.
Firstly, my daughter didn’t want to come home. Secondly, my daughter enjoyed the community service work and interacting with the people of ODFL and the people in South Africa.
What impacted my daughter was to see the world in a different perspective, and the little things in life that we complain about are nothing to compared to the families in Africa.
She has clearly come back with her eyes open as to challenges in other parts of the world.
To see poverty in real life is much more powerful than on tv or reading about it. Knowing that all the murals that our kids have painted will help provide more enrollment and income to the schools.