Volunteering at the AFS Centennial in Paris

My name is Grace Nomthandazo Ngubeni and I have been selected to go to the AFS Centennial hosted in Paris, from the 6th -10th November 2014.

I have been part of AFS since I was 6 years old. This happened when my eldest sister (Busi) heard about AFS from high school and got our family involved. The year 1996 marked the first student we hosted (Tarja Pyyaho from Finland) and we have continued to host various students since (while taking intervals in between the years) and continue to host with open hearts. Over the years as I became aware of my family’s involvement, God has truly blessed my family and me with the privilege of having people from all walks of life come share their experience in South Africa with us. I often say, I have been around certain parts of the world in my own living room :) Not only have we shared our culture with the students, they have shared their culture too and that has been incomparable. The bond formed has not been in vain as I have learned so much from them and continue to learn more as I still keep in touch with most of the students we have hosted and those we have interacted with through AFS workshop and/or tours. We are currently hosting a student from Germany and hosted a different student also from Germany in 2012/2013.

I applied to be part of the centennial support team because I believe it would be a great opportunity to help with the workshops as needed and I believe I am a team player that has unique skills/talents to add to the team since the team will comprise of applicants from around the world. I see it as a privilege to be given the opportunity to share this experience with the team and the attendees of this splendid celebration. Additionally, in 2012, I got to assist my mother (Thoko, AFS chairperson of the Soweto Chapter) in facilitating the yearly tour from Johannesburg to Cape Town and had the task of organising some of the activities the students did at our various stops (see collage with activity pictures below).

This is just one fairly recent experience I can recall. I was humbled by how the students participated and thoroughly enjoyed the activities I had facilitated. Thus, I feel that as part of the Support Team in France, I will bring my creativity and enthusiasm that can help the team reach its common goal.

I also hope to assist with making the celebration a huge success, meeting some amazing people, enjoying the celebration and the time spent in Paris, since it will be my first time outside South Africa, which I am so excited about. Furthermore, I know that I will learn so much from this experience and will cherish every moment.

So with your help fellow AFSers I would like to ask for some sponsorship to buy a return ticket to Paris. Any contribution will help towards this endeavour will be greatly appreciated. I am so grateful to God for entrusting me with this opportunity and I hope that I will be able to attend. For more information please email me on: grace.ngubs@gmail.com.