023_Asking the Right Question

The picture shows the newly build Workshop, lots of green plants in the foreground and individual details on the construction itself, e. g. shelfs, decoration, tools, ...
A table from above with laptops, note pads, highlighters and pens
The group of exchange students in front of Khusta's Workshop

It has been more than a year now since we said „See you soon“ to our team members and friends. A truly crazy year with heaps of challenges, tough times and uncertainties containing plenty of „maybe’s“ „possibly’s“ and „perhaps’s“. A year ago at this time we were supposed to prepare the return visit of our South African fellow students. We were supposed to draw up workshops, arrange excursions and gather ideas for day trips and sights we want to take them to. We did, actually. We have a full itinerary in the drawer, waiting to be pulled out.  But you all know which challenges we were and still are confronted with.
So instead of welcoming Likhona, Kelsey, Lelethu, Sbu, Sne and Hlwati in Wismar, instead of taking over the guiding role, instead of preparing the next group of Wismar students for their trip to South Africa, we were forced to sit and wait.
We stayed in touch, though. We even got news from Khusta. He settled in with his new structure and gave the rather impersonal shell we put up on his property his own individual touch. His garden is also flourishing again.
Seeing the photos touched every team member’s heart. Our wishes and hopes that we, students from two different countries and six different academical backgrounds, jointly created something truly sustainable and supportive, have been fulfilled. Hopefully we will soon be able to see for ourselves.

It has been almost a year since we said „We re-launchnext year“, starting with the return visit and the much desired reunion of the first ever JAP-team.
Under normal circumstances the application would be open now for the second group of Wismar students. Actually, it would be almost over. Under normal circumstances, the preparations for the return visit would gain momentum, bookings would be made, workshops would be prepared, accommodation and bikes would be organised.  
But we still do not have anything near „normal circumstances“. The situation has not changed. We are still living in a pandemic. It might even be worse than a year ago.

Some people might be asking whether the project can still be continued. We really do not want to ask a question like that. Just like we said on our last day in South Africa: It is not a question of „whether“, it is „when“. And maybe it is not only „when“, but also „how“.
In times like this, our creativity is needed. New strategies need to be developed not only to keep the project alive, but also to secure the bond between students from Wismar University and Nelson Mandela University.
In times of uncertainty and facing challenges, there also lies a chance for change and development. In times of video meetings, phone conferences and webinars there will be a solution for the Joint Action Project. And we will find it!

P. S. If there is a miracle, if the return visit really happens within this year, we still have the „SA-meets-Germany“-itinerary in the drawer. We will use it. The question is not „whether“, it is „when“.