FORTY students from Catholic high schools across Brisbane have returned home after a three-week immersion trip to rural South Africa.
And, they’ve come back with more than just bulging suitcases to unpack – they’ve adopted new life perspectives, too.
The trip’s purpose was to provide two schools in South Africa’s northern province, Kwazulu-Natal, with 11 laptops each, and teach students and staff how to use them.
But it was students from the traveling schools – Brigidine, St Laurence’s, Iona, Lourdes Hill and All Hallows’ – who felt they were the lucky ones.
Brigidine’s Brigid Donelly said she gained important insight from the trip.
“I believe we learnt a lot more from the students, teachers and all the locals of South Africa than they did from us,” she said.
Brigid remembered the group’s visit to an orphanage as being one of her most moving experiences.
“The children there were so happy and it opened our eyes to how we take many things for granted, because we have so much and still complain, but these kids had nothing and still had huge smiles on their faces,” she said.
“They were some of the kindest, happiest people we’d ever met.”
The expedition was initiated by St Laurence’s College principal, Ian McDonald, after he met two Zulu women at an education conference in South Africa two years ago.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.