I would like to thank Celanese for selecting me to participate in the 2017 Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP) in South Africa! I appreciated being a part of this group and am grateful for each moment I experienced. I am sure that I made an impact in that community; and the people there have impacted me forever.

Before leaving for this trip, I was excited to do something for another community and knew we would put our dedication, patience and love into every detail. I was eager to live in another culture and reality. I was ready to meet my colleagues from the Celanese community and show the world that we have a big heart!

My first two days in Cape Town were a mix of anxiety, nerves and happiness. Everything was so new – people, places and culture. English is not my first language and I was afraid to teach math to students. The children were so full of energy, love and curiosity that any worries I had before were left behind when I walked into the classroom.

South Africa surprised me. This wonderful, happy country is filled with life, lovely people and beautiful landscapes. I can see similarities between my home in Brazil and where we were in South Africa in that we focus on our sense of community to bring value to our lives.

Through CIIP I developed myself as person and grew in my profession. I learned more about working in groups and sharing what I have – nobody is left behind! After this experience, my empathy for different cultures than my own grew and reinforced that I can always give more attention, dedication and love to someone I don’t know. Now I can share this experience with my work site, my friends and family, and do better volunteer projects with our community in Brazil.

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of three blogs by Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP) team members who served for two weeks in Cape Town, South Africa.