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Yuyuan diaries: Orientation (day 1)
Post Time:05/09/2016 Browse Number:

This diary entry was written by Sibuisiso Makaringe during the Yuyuan session.

After arriving in Yuyuan late yesterday, today was more of a formalized welcome ceremony. We felt like we were very important people because of the presence of a high security detail, who escorted us to the village. The activities we engaged in included project introduction and group classifications into smaller formations: mainly diary, map, architecture, interview, and history.

Thus there was an opportunity for team building in a form of activities that helped participants and volunteers blend in together. The day served as an introductory day whereby participants were offered the opportunity to introduce themselves and also present a cultural item that described their home country.

The cultural items have significant and important meaning to the culture and traditions of our home countries, and they are very special gifts that we are giving to the village.

The personal item I brought as a gift for the village was a famous traditional South African hair product used by the majority of South African’s of African origins for their hair. This product is highly regarded by the locals because unlike the Europeans, South Africans have hard and dark hair, which is quite complex in stature and breaks easily due to the exposure to high levels of sunlight. Therefore, the hair product plays a protective role against the strong sun because of its mixture of herbs and medicines that help preserve the hair from breaking. So I decided to give it as a gift so that fellow villagers of Yuyuan can learn more about the product and develop a better understanding of the South African environment and atmosphere.

We also took a walk to the project facilities and sites, so that we could be informed how to get help in case we are injured, hurt, or involved in an accident. Ground and basic rules were also outlined to us focusing mainly on the behavior and conduct expected throughout the duration of the project.

The day became a success because of everyone’s cooperation and willingness to work in unity. There was nothing major or mind blowing on the day because it was mainly based on the introduction by means of meet and greeting of volunteers and participants and officials. It was also a form of a get together so that common relations and understanding can be built and sustained for the future. Thus, a common understanding of the environment and expectations were clearly outlined. This made it easy for everyone and thus everything was just perfect and the hosts were the best we could ever with for because of their passion, love, and warmth, which was inviting and encouraging to us. As such we were able to blend and gel quickly in our different families. And for the fist time we had a proper dinner in a round table with our families from China.

From this moment onwards I have a strong feeling that the experience and bond with my family will go a long way. It will thus be my home even beyond the project.

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