top of page

"The Road Most Traveled" Taken from South Africa Blog

As a Global Ambassador for Axium Education, a program I volunteered at in Zithulele, South Africa in January 2020, I created a website for the purpose of raising awareness and donations for the organization. Here is a copy of my blog post from that site.

We assumed we wouldn’t be able to make it to our first day of volunteering at the Zithulele Hospital when the forecast called for 12 hours of 100% rain and thunderstorms that day. We were set to travel by foot and the hospital was located about 2 miles away from our rondavel. Not to mention, the journey required three sizable stream crossings that would surely flood the surrounding paths with the incoming rain. To our surprise, however, that night we received a message from our contact at the hospital, one of the lead HIV doctors and researchers, Dr. leRoux, that he would meet us outside the clinic at 7am the next day. So, we set our alarms for 5:30am, laid out our rain gear, and got some shut eye before the next day’s journey.

It wasn’t long into our journey the next morning that we ran into a group of young girls on their way to school. Although there was a language barrier between us (the indigenous language of Zithulele is Xhosa), the girls used us to practice the English words they had been learning, and likewise taught us a few words in Xhosa! They twirled around in their school uniforms – not a piece of rain gear on them – and laughed to one another while we suffered in the rain. We parted ways as they reached their school and we wished them well – not knowing that this would become our new daily routine, to our pleasure.

After an hour of walking in the rain and flooded dirt roads, we encroached the hospital with only seconds to spare. There was only one more obstacle in our way – another large stream crossing that appeared to be up to our knees in fast-moving water, which would eventually lead to the Indian Ocean down the road. We stared at possible routes across the stream – a few tiny rocks that may or may not be able to hold our weight and get us across. After about ten minutes of accessing the scene, we saw four young kids run down the field from their home, chanting and yelling for us. Without a blink of an eye, they ran through the water to grab our hands and help us across the water, making sure our clothes and backpacks wouldn’t get wet. They were half our size but twice as brave as we’d ever be.

It didn’t take long for us to recognize these themes of warmth and strength across the Zithulele community – themes we largely recognized during our journeys along the road. While working at Axium, we hiked 3 miles with the 12th graders along the dirt road on their leadership retreat and heard about their dreams to attend university and become doctors, lawyers, and teachers. Likewise, while working in the hospital, we heard stories of women walking 5x as far as our daily commute in order to reach the clinic and receive their monthly HIV medication. To us, not only does the road represent Zithulele’s togetherness, but it also shows the road to progress. In the case of Axium, it is the road to an education and a better future.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page