My name is Sabrina Rohland and I’m a 28 year old Scout from Germany. In 2015 I had the privilege of spending 3 wonderful months in Mpumalanga where I learned so much about life in SA, the people, the cultures and also about Scouting in South Africa. I made a lot of friends and gained new experiences which were really awesome! Working for Scouts meant a lot to me so I asked if I could return this year for a few more months and was able to continue volunteering in the Scouts Office in Nelspruit.
To see that the Scouting Movement not only fascinates the German youth, but also young people on the other side of the world is fantastic. Scouting offers them a inspiration for life. The friends I have made here showed me the differences and similarities between Scouting in South Africa and Germany. There are more similarities than differences, but the differences have given me new ideas for Scouting in Germany. The similarities show me that Scouts are one all over the world and like BP said “a Scout is a brother to every other Scout”.
Last year I was part of the office team that prepared our “Natsi siyakhona-Disability is not Inability” project. I helped write the proposal. When I came back this year, the campaign was in full swing and I was happy to be part of one of the highlights of the campaign, the summer camp. It was great to see a project rising from the first idea to the realization and being part of it. I enjoyed seeing the Scout leaders, rovers and entire office team passing on the scouting message to children and leaving the world a bit better than they found it. But when somebody would ask me about my personal highlight I would say the highlight of my time in South Africa were definitely the people I met who showed me so much about their lives. That was special because the exchange of experiences and ideas of living made me richer than I was before. I’ve learned a lot from it and they’ve let me grow up. The people I met made me feel welcome and I could feel their warm heart, which made me smile.
During my stay I was also part of a South African-German project team. We built a fence around a campsite to protect the young planted trees against cows. The trees are supposed to provide shade for the kids during the camps. It wasn’t what we did, but the fact that we worked as a team and the spontaneous side of the people who made everything possible. Germans often need a longer period of planning. There were so many memories I took home! They vary from the summer camp to a meeting with the Youth in Action Choir to the charity run we organized. With a South African-German team we supported the Africa Run of the Umckaloabo Foundation. Last year the funds raised came to South Africa for the 100 ECD projects. This year the funds will go to a school building project in Malawi.
Lastly, let me tell you about a moment I will never forget: A South African pastor told me something that has left me thinking about – I think I can say – a German culture. I asked him “How long does this church ceremony last?” And he replied “I cannot tell you, because I don’t know. Here they last as long as they need to, not like in Germany where everyone is looking at the time and where people are hurrying from one appointment to another”. After this conversation I said to myself “He’s right. Why are we always hurrying and not giving ourselves time to enjoy and feel, being relaxed during what we are doing?”. This was the point where I decided to rather do less than trying to be everywhere at the same time. What I can say is that I went home with a lot of new ideas, new experiences, memories and friends I won’t forget. I hope one day I can give back to my South African friends by showing them something of my life in Germany. People always meet twice in life and Scouts many times more!