Saturday, April 5, 2008


Honestly speaking, the first time Bridges was introduced to our school I was chosen as part of the learners that would be participating in the cultural exchange program. Back then, I never knew what Bridges was all about and I started to lose interest in the program because I was involved in many programs at school and I saw them as more interesting than Bridges. I ended up leaving the group that had chosen me.

Later, after the program started to grow and more people got interested in joining Bridges, to me it felt like I needed to go back because so many things were happening and the program itself was interesting as it unfolded itself to all the students in our school. I had a problem with finding my way back to the group because I never told anyone why I had left or knew how to explain what brought me back to the group again.

So as Bridges grew into this one big family of love, support, and encouragement things started to happen and all students began to understand what Bridges is all about. Opportunities started to appear to all learners as 6 students were chosen to go to Seattle. And when all of this happened I was sitting there and observing and blaming myself for letting such an opportunity go when I should have grabbed it with both hands. As I was observing the program, new things were being introduced to the learners like the photographic workshops they attended and the digital storytelling that they just did recently that informed me more about Bridges.

At the beginning of this year I was picked again to be part of the new group where I had been chosen before. I was so happy that I was called again, because to me this was my second chance and a chance I won't let go of. I wanted to be part of the group and be part of the cultural exchange with students in Seattle, not knowing that there was going to be another selection of 6 learners going overseas.

Luckily I was selected to be part of that group that has come to Seattle, and to tell the truth I was so happy but at the same time I couldn't believe that it was me who has been chosen.

So in my own understanding I would say that Bridges to Understanding to me is a home of compassion, a home where people give not because they want something in return but because they know that when you give whatever little that you have you are likely to get everything that you want in life.

As learners in the program, we are taught to love ourselves so that we may be able to love others as well, to help each other, to know where we come from and to show the love and kindness that we have within us to other people and that's what UBUNTU is all about.

I come from a community of informal settlements where it is hard for some families to put food on the table because people are not working. As a result some teenagers get themselves involved in crime, thinking that it's a way of finding food for their families.

So, Bridges played an important role in our lives because it takes us out of the streets and provides us with opportunities, and when we have something to do after school there's no getting yourself involved in the violence happening outside.


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