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Day 12, we visited Pearson South Africa office in Cape Town. I was so impressed by the way they used all illustrations to showcase Pearson branding around the office, every single corner, clean and neat, very “Pearson”. We were split into groups of 3 (one Pearson fellow, one True North staff and one Pearson SA staff) and then our Pearson SA colleague to us around the office for “greet and meet”. We were welcomed by a very warm hospitality of everyone here.

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Day 13, our very last day, was very hard for every single of us. It was a day of tears and smiles. I actually didn’t want to come to the crèche this morning sine I knew it would be our last day with the kids and I completely didn’t want it at all. I didn’t want to say goodbye to my kids, to our teachers and the principal.

Like other fellows, Rachel and I brought some biscuits and juice to the crèche for our farewell with everyone. Nicole asked the kids to sing some songs for us, say “Thank you teacher Anna, teacher Rachel and teacher Ronel. We will miss you so much.” And then, they ran to us for hugs and kisses. Gosh, that moment took my heart away. R.J, one of the naughty boys in the class, hugged my thigh tightly, looked up on my face with sadness in his eyes and then kissed me. I burst into tears and cried and couldn’t stop it. I tried my best not to cry in front of the kids, but couldn’t make it. Shame!

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Chantal surprised me with a gift made of all fingerprints of the kids of her class and a lovely Thank-You card. How beautiful it is. It reminded me of another gift that I received many years ago from a little girl at an orphanage in HCMC. My classmates and I visited an orphanage and all the kids there were unfortunately disabled. When we left, there was a little girl came to me and give me a small old notebook and said “Sister, this is for you and please always remember me.” It broke my heart.

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It was then even harder to say goodbye to our dearest principal, Mary. She is an amazing woman with so much love and care to all the kids in her crèche. I saw it and felt it. I would never ever forget her tight and warm hug for me. I am sure she is always blessed by God for her passion and love.

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What we have done probably couldn’t give the kids better lives, couldn’t change the current situations they are living, but at least we have tried our best to do something for them. As Aslam said to us the other night “You couldn’t educate a poor and hungry person, but you could teach them how to overcome it.”

We were back to the True North for lunch, feedback and goodbye everyone. Again, tears kept falling on our faces. It was such a big pleasure for me to meet and work with Vicky, Theresa and all lovely people of True North. They are all amazing people with so much love dedicated to all people in the community and development of children in Vrygrond. What they have done was so much inspiring and admirable.

After coming back home, we said our first goodbye to Barb, then Alison, Rachel, Jenna and finally my dear Lauren. We didn’t want to say farewell to each other. We were like now sisters and brothers in a big family, so it’s really tough to leave.

Two weeks was passing so fast. I still remember the very first day meeting we came to Faye’s house, getting to know each other from different countries and cultures, working and playing together, sharing laughs and joys, and now we have to say goodbye. How bad!

Although it was a short time, what I have experienced in the Global Assist Fellowship together with other fellows was extremely meaningful and valuable to my life. It played an important part of my journey of life and every one I met during this two-week trip has become an amazing part of it. I treasure every seconds I have spent here.

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Huge thanks John Warner and Pearson Foundation for selecting me and giving me an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join in this incredible trip. It has changed my life and inspired me to do something for my community back home.

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Thanks all the fellows, my dear Pearson colleagues all over the world, I couldn’t say how grateful it is for me to meet and work with them. I don’t know how they look like at work, but here in Cape Town, living in a same house, working in a same project, they are all amazing people with love, passion, enthusiasm and kindness. I learn from each of you a lot. Thanks for everything.

Many thanks and appreciate to our host parents Faye and Aslam for every single thing they have done for us: all delicious food, their gentle care, their hugs and kisses every morning and evening. Without them, we couldn’t make it happen. Words couldn’t describe how wonderful they are. After exhausted days, we were all looking forward to coming back home and enjoying meals. We were all happy to stay here.

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We wouldn’t stop from here. Each of us has taken many meaningful and beautiful things back home and we would keep continuing our spirits and do some “give-back-to-the-community”.

Aslam said to us “You shouldn’t be sad that much, but be happy. It’s not a forever end, but it’s just a closing for another opening. Something has to stop for another new thing happens”.

I would strongly suggest all Pearson colleagues to join us in this incredible journey Global Assist Fellowship. Let get out of our comfort zones, go out there, see how people are living and your heart would tell you what you need to do.

And last but not least, thanks everyone for reading and following my blogs during the past two weeks.

Anna

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