There was a time when ‘good morning’ didn’t fill me with nostalgia, when sharing someone’s water bottle made me want to lie down, when I wasn’t in uniform in 45 degree heat.
Then ICC happened and threw all of it out the window.
From canoeing 11km on the Breede River giving a cracking rendition of ‘99 bottles of milk on the wall’ with my friend Matt, to helping redecorate a primary school and seeing the selfless work of our organisation in action and how it drastically improves the lives of so many people internationally; South Africa, for me at least, has been the best experience of my life.
Meeting New Friends
We each arrived at Cape Town airport with expectations of what the experience would hold and I think it’s safe to say that ICC 2020 has exceeded them all.
From friends to family, we have gained and developed so many important relationships that I’m sure we’ll all seek to continue as time progresses. Eating my toast surrounded by Cadets from South Africa, New Zealand, England and Northern Ireland, Canada, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Kenya was the multicultural experience I had come in search for.
Sharing experiences like 5 am wake ups and long walks up Slanghoek hill really brought us all together as a community.
ICC 2020 has given me an appreciation for what I have in Wales and the realisation of what St John can be, and in fact is, to so many communities across the world. As young people, we have been afforded the opportunity to make a difference, and, after seeing the smiles on the children’s faces at the primary school, we helped at and hearing about the amazing lengths volunteers are going to in order to ensure some of the world’s poorest have access to medical aid.
I have been inspired to promote the importance of this and continue along my own volunteering journey as well as (hopefully) a career in healthcare.
Simulated First Aid
If someone had told me that I would be doing a first aid simulation car crash with an actual car as a prop, I’d have told them to have a lie down in a quiet room. But as someone who has now in fact done said scenario, I can say it was the pinnacle of all the first aid work I have done as a Cadet. I sat an exam on first aid theory for the first time ever and somehow came 5th in the world.
If ICC has taught me one thing it is that I should always have faith in myself, something I will admit that I have trouble doing even now. (Other things South Africa has taught me are that it is actually possible to drink melted chocolate straight from the bag, always check the labels on what you think is sun cream, and that making a lot of noise drumming is something I’m quite good at.)
To end we all attended a Gala Dinner in order to conclude the experience. Armed with one false eyelash (I lost the glue) and my entire dance catalogue courtesy of High School Musical 1,2 and 3, I gracefully hopped into the awaiting 4x4 and set off to the gala dinner.
Inspirational speeches as well as awards were given out and the best song line-up since the Rhino group bus tunes was played.
“St. John Cymru has given me the opportunity to make lifelong friends and learn so much from them and about their respective cultures. This has been an amazing experience which will stay with me for life.”
Deputy Cadet of the Year, Tarig Sharaiha
When we started the Cadet of the Year journey, neither myself nor Tarig thought we’d be at the top of table mountain drinking slushies, discussing how exactly us two clowns ended up in South Africa, and yet, on the 8th of January, on 5 hours of sleep and a packed croissant we happened to be doing just that.
I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate St John South Africa on their ICC win and the hard work they must have put in to achieve such an amazing outcome.
I also want to say a huge well done to all of our fellow competitors who demonstrated good sportsmanship as well as dedication and, without whom, there would be no competitions in the first place.
As a team, we didn’t just bring home 4th place, we brought home incredible memories, outstanding competition experiences and a craving for ‘Top Deck’ chocolate.
We brought home friendship.
Thank you, St John Cymru, St John South Africa and to every single person who donated either their time or money so that we were afforded such an incredible experience.
A special thank you goes out to the ICC 2020 team to whom I would always like to wish ‘Good Morning’.