My name is Natasha, I’m a rising junior at Brown University concentrating in Development Studies, and I’m spending the next ten weeks in South Africa. I spent a month there last summer and fell in love with it, particularly with Geluksburg, a rural village in the Drakensburg that transformed me in unexpected ways. I left last summer determined to return to Geluksburg in order to give back however possible to the incredible people I had met there.
I found support from community members in Geluksburg, my partners at the NGO I was working with initially in SA (Sportstec), and the CV Starr Fellowship at Brown. Through these avenues, we have developed the Mighty City Ambassador Program (MCAP), named after Geluksburg’s local football club. MCAP will include Sportstec staff, a team of four international students from Brown, and the town of Geluksburg. I could not possibly be working with a more brilliant, capable group of people. While our main priority is building relationships in Geluksburg and learning as much as possible, we hope to leverage the pre-existing sports projects in Geluksburg to increase sustainable community development.
I expect this summer to be challenging, enlightening, and above all, an adventure. Prior to my departure, I could not be more nervous–or more excited. This blog is meant to chronicle the successes (and inevitable failures) of a summer working abroad in a complex, beautiful country.