A few weeks ago, PPI-SA blogged about the Laureus YES programme that some of our staff were selected to attend. One of those staff members was Andile Msomi, who coaches for PPI-SA. Andile wrote her own blog about her experience with the YES program, which we have decided to share with the wider PPI community. The transcript from Andile’s blog follows:
First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to send my gratitude to PeacePlayers International (PPI) for giving me such a tremendous opportunity to take part in the Youth Empowerment through Sport (YES) program and meet such wonderful people. I couldn’t be any happier. It really is an honor and it means a lot that PPI saw potential and decided that I deserved the chance to enroll in this program.
Laureus has always been one of the “sports for good” organizations I like. Being involved with them, one way or the other, has always been my ultimate dream, and when Kristin (PPI co-worker) told me about the YES program opportunity, I knew I had to take advantage of it. I was head over heels and cancelled all my plans, which were to represent my school at the USSA’s basketball tournament in Port Elizabeth. It wasn’t easy, but I knew it was worth it. I didn’t know that then, however. That said, I knew this opportunity was once in a lifetime. USSA’s next year??
In a nutshell, the Laureus Youth Empowerment through Sport Programme (YES) is a six month pilot project aimed at “empowering young people to use sport as a tool to promote positive change in their lives and communities.” The program is run by Mthokozisi Madondo, who is very authentic, most polite, grounded, kind, patient and caring. Mthoko goes beyond his job description and is always there for us, especially emotionally.
I was just amazed by the effort that Mthoko and his stakeholders put into making this program a great success. I learned a whole lot of different things, was challenged on so many different levels, and was given insight about a lot. From the guest speakers to the IT guys to the PPI fellow colleagues and the fellow participants; I learned so much from these amazing people. They gave me a chance to perceive the world around me differently, cautiously and broadly. You know, during and after the program I realized that life is a mystery; we learn everyday and just when you think you know it all, someone comes and reminds you that your room is not as full as you think it is. You’ll always have someone to present you with something new; you just have to choose to open up to them. Partaking in the activities and just being part of the group stimulated a whole lot of emotions. I feared, I cried, I rejoiced, I cared, I laughed (sooo much), I sympathized and empathized, I was startled (…by Maloisane for making the banana disappear), I admired… I mean, I even got a glimpse of parts of me that I never thought I’d ever reach.
I got a chance to overcome my greatest fears. Fear of height, water (… just deep water). I went canoeing! The anxiety, the adrenaline rush, and just giving my mates the benefit of the doubt, made it more fun and more special to me. It was great, period. The morning and the evening glory on the horizon and around me were as satisfying as the authentic beautiful smiles of people I was surrounded by.
I also got a pitch full of insight about a whole lot of LITTLE things that I barely pay attention to. Yet the little things are crucial. The little things are what make you whole as a person and an individual. Things like being aware of the group of people that are in and out of your circle of life, knowing what gives you life, and things like acknowledging how you treat and see people around you. Do you see them as objects or equals? These are some of the things that are unconsciously, sometimes intentionally, overlooked. However, the little things are what make the complete being.
It was a privilege being part of the Laureus YES program. I could not have spent my holidays differently or in any better way. It’s like someone sneaked into my brain, just saw all the blanks and automatically drove me into this program; the experience is irreplaceable and it was everything I needed. I hope Mthoko continues touching lives and developing youth for the betterment of themselves and the people around them.
Frankly, you all are amazing, and I’m glad to have met you.
Love, Andile Msomi
A link to Andile’s blog can be found here. Nasiphi Khafu, area coordinator for PPI-SA, also attended the YES program and has started her own blog about her experiences helping in the community. A link to Nasiphi’s blog can be found here.