The only one…



Hello from Lebone! As you all know, the conference theme is Greed and Sustainability, and on the first full day of the conference, we broke off into small groups. The groups were selected at random during breakfast, so we did not know who we were with until the meal was over. To my pleasant, yet unexpected surprise, I was the only American in my group. When I first walked into the classroom full of people I was not familiar with, my body suddenly tensed up. This was the moment that I had to step out of my comfort zone to fully embrace the discussions. The topics of conversation ranged from economic issues to social issues, and so much more, all relaying back to the concepts of greed and sustainability. I will admit I was very shy at first, but as the conversations continued on, I felt that my input was needed. The group facilitators would specifically ask me for American input, so I found it easier to speak with broader terms. The majority of the problems brought up had to deal with the current state of South Africa, but I found a way to contribute to the conversation by speaking in terms on a bigger scale. There are many similarities between the U.S. and South Africa, the social capital being the stand-out. The removal of Apartheid and the Civil Rights Movement share similar themes, rooted in people standing together for equality. I personally found the experience quite rewarding. Not only did I make new friends out of this group, but I was able to step out of my shell and use my words for great input and inspiration.