One Boy, Two Countries

11 June 2019 | Education

Diana Hamalwa

Justin Brandt is not only known as 'Juice' to his friends but as a young determined leader who is adventurous. He recently came back from his excursions in America and Germany. He qualified for the Pan-African Youth Leadership Programme (PAYLP) where learners have the opportunity to visit the USA for a few weeks. In 2018, he won the German Speech Competition of the Goethe Institut.

The dates of both trips clashed, but the organisers of the Germany trip made slight adjustments to the dates so that he could go to both. Justin was excited about this and scheduled his April exams so that he could finish early in time for his trips.

He first travelled to America via London. The main purpose of the trip was for the Africans to share information with the Americans. The Africans also had to interact with each other as the continent is massive and diverse. Each Namibian conducted a survey and the results were amazing, he says. The rest of the group was blown away by the results.

He visited Atlanta, Burlington and Washington DC which is a district. He lived with a relatively old guest family and did not do a lot of exciting things. He says that he did get to see Burlington Vermont in its full glory. From the maple syrup industry to the small farms. He also states that just getting to see the Americans with their everyday mannerisms excited him.

After America he went to Germany. He lived with different guest families so that he could get a stronger sense of what the German society is like. He says, “I feel as if I struck gold because all my families were welcoming and I felt at home.' He ate many strange German dishes and says that he gained 5kg.

Justin has been to Germany with Klimascouts, a school club, before and says that this time was different. Last time the trip was more goal orientated with one guest family which only allowed him to experience one region of Germany. This time around, he had guests’ families all over Germany which allowed him to experience all of Germany and their customs.

He had 3 days to get ready for a month's trip after a 3 week trip with almost 20 hours of flight time and 10 hours of lay-overs as well as jet lag because of the 6 hour time difference. He slept for almost 2 days straight. He admits that it was stressful and exhausting, yet he survived and made it to Germany.

Justin says that he has always wanted to go to and see faraway places that he has only ever seen on TV or read about. "Of course coming from a low income background the idea of travelling is always discouraging. Nonetheless, I've always had the ambition for more. I'm always on the lookout for any opportunity that I can take and I try my best to do them. Sometimes things work out really well and other times not at all." He also states that he has nothing to lose but a lot to gain.

He says that he does not have the nationalistic mentality of belonging to or identifying to a country. He finds it so limiting and honestly boring. He says, "I belong to the world. The world is my playground full of endless opportunities to engage, interact, learn and most importantly develop as human being. I am a global citizen and I am at home when I'm not at home."

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