Yesterday someone asked me what my favorite part of this trip was. While we went to so many different, amazing places, while I danced my heart out and while I ate delicious food the only thing that I could think of were the answers that no one really wants to hear. I loved the experience, I loved the struggle, I loved the fact that my field partner didn’t see eye to eye with Emzingo.
I have learned more about the role of social business in the last 8 weeks than I feel like I could in years in the classroom. The simultaneous value and difficulty that comes with diversity, that comes with cultural exchange and that comes with collaboration, the beauty of business that can arise in places that seem (through western eyes) resourceless are things that I can’t imagine learning anywhere but on the ground. Eldorado park, while full of hiccups and obstacles, taught me how to think outside of the box that I thought was all encompassing. It taught me about the struggles facing not only business but also each and every person who interacts with the business sector (i.e. everyone). It taught me to question everything, to question the answers that I am given, to question the work that I am doing, and through those questions to never accept where you are; always work towards something new, something bigger, something better. I am so proud of the work that we did and the challenges that we faced to create something that embodies the struggle that South Africans are fighting in every moment of their day-to-day lives. We created guides and partnerships that were born through the struggle and the conflict of our first few weeks and I couldn’t imagine being prouder of them.
I responded that hiking in the mountains of Mpumalanga was my favorite part. I think this will be my go to short answer. But, if you delve just a little bit deeper, get ready for a conversation full of frustration, admiration, and absolute joy in the fact that I was a part of the 2015 Emzingo Global Impact Fellowship Program.