Last “Preparing for South Africa” post, Domestic Volunteer Anna talked about her familiarity with South African culture and a documentary she saw prior to departing.  For this post she reviews additional material she covered before going on the Short-Term Mission and Global Awareness Trip.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I had little knowledge about the anti-apartheid movement other than Nelson Mandela’s picture.  In preparing for this trip to South Africa I received a list of movies that would be good to watch before I went over.  A few were fictitious including the title, “The Power of One.”

Other than a few cultural references, I was skeptical how these dramas were relevant to what we would be learning about on the trip.  But preparation aside, I do enjoy a good story so I popped the DVD in the player and spent my evening with Morgan Freeman, among other talented actors.

The film is about a young English boy orphaned and growing up in a racially torn South Africa.  He becomes a boxer and makes some community efforts to bridge the racial gap.   Of course there is some tension, romantic twists, and danger.  I was ready to cry at a change of heart and a split-second later gasping at an unexpected fall.

I really enjoyed this movie.  The story was grasping and the characters lovable.  What I really appreciated was that, although it was not a documentary about the movement, it’s based on the small things, the small actions ordinary people took to make a difference in their community.  Their fears, their hopes, and their desperation were the same as the big names we’ve heard over and over again.

That is who we will be meeting on this trip.  Those people.  And while I hope to not get into any boxing matches while I’m there, I do hope to be building bridges and connections with extraordinary people.

Anna Robinson serves as a full-time volunteer at the Franciscan Mission Service office as communications associate. She graduated from Cardinal Stritch University in 2011 with a degree in Communication Arts and a minor in Music Composition.  She is currently spending two weeks in South Africa testing our Short-Term Mission and Global Awareness Trip curcurriculum.