~~~~I am writing to you from a bench at the end of the backyard overlooking my favorite scenery in the entire world. Open Arms rests on top of a hill and sets eyes across rolling hills with plush, green grassland sprinkled with forest and met by the Indian Ocean at the horizon. Other than a small pond and one or two homes these hills are rather peaceful and silent allowing someone like myself to look out and hear one’s own thoughts. As I sit here at the edge of Open Arms admiring this view one thing comes to mind:“This is home.” My arriving journey to Open Arms was not an easy one, but a learning one nonetheless. Due to the winter weather struggles in Atlanta, my first flight out of Chicago was cancelled causing me to rebook for a flight out of Milwaukee that was rather pleasing. However, once I arrived to Atlanta, two hours late already, I then had to wait another five hours until my flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg departed. This was the most worrisome as that caused me to miss my final flight to East London and I then was forced to stay overnight in Jo’burg to catch the first flight out to in the morning. Finally, I arrived to East London and had a few hours to relax with my friend Jeanien, the grief counselor at Open Arms, before heading into the madness. When I arrived to Open Arms at last, I was greeted by a handful of children before I even made it out of the car! It was so joyous to see all of the smiles on their faces and seeing theirs only made the smile on mine grow larger. It is always such a great feeling to see them year after year. Seeing how big they have gotten and how mature they have become, makes me so proud of the wonderful people they are becoming! I think my favorite part of my arrival was being able to tell them that I am staying for two and a half months, which is far longer than I have ever stayed before! Now after finally settling in and adjusting to the time change, I am ready to take on my task and duties around the home and fully dive in to my responsibilities. This being my fifth consecutive year volunteering at Open Arms I am so happy to be back and cannot wait for all the excitement to continue. Let the adventures begin!