Sandisiwe Bhule is representing Zimbabwe at the Miss Earth International finals in the Philippines.
Below is her story about her progress in the pageant:
MANILA — My name is Sandiswe Bhule and I am at the Miss Earth International finals representing the Great House of Stone also known as Zimbabwe.
This is an amazing opportunity for me as I get not only to show off the beauty of my country, but I also get to learn about the other 88 countries represented in the competition.
The Miss Earth pageant is an international beauty pageant that is third in the Big Four international pageants which include Miss World, Miss Universe and Miss International.
It is a pageant with a clear mandate, which is to give young women a platform to increase environmental awareness in their countries and in the world.
All the contestants, myself included, are taking part in a 20-day boot camp before the coronation night. For this boot camp we were split into three groups in order for us to undertake activities and competitions.
Among the activities are school tours, mall tours, charity visits and fashion shows which are all very exciting and they allow us to learn more about our roles as Miss Earth queens.
We are contesting against each other in various competitions such as the teaching competition for which I won a bronze medal, evening gown, cocktail dress and eco-beauty.
Winning the bronze medal for best teaching was awesome for me because it showed me that environmental lessons transcend boundaries of language, borders and even race.
For the competition each one of us had to teach a class of children from Sampalo Elementary School in Tanay, Rizalle.
I taught a class of Grade 1 pupils most of whom did not understand English and as I taught them they too taught me their language and we managed to communicate quite effectively.
As we got off the bus I saw two little boys with a placard written Zimbabwe on it.
They were to be my ushers for the day and they did a very good job! Together with their teacher they took me to their class where I was greeted with a warm, welcoming and loud, “Good morning Miss Earth Zimbabwe!”.
The fact that they all spoke the universal language of smiles won my heart and I knew that we would be able to communicate over the barrier of language that was placed between us.
I taught the pupils about the importance of planting trees. I said that we had to plant trees for shade, fruit and clean air.
When I asked them for other reasons, one of the children said to make us happy and another said because they make the earth look nice.
I was really touched by these answers that I was being given by the five to six-year-old children.
It reminded me that life through the eyes of a child is very simple yet pleasant and should be lived at least once or twice a day.
I attempted to draw a map of Zimbabwe which turned out to look like an elephant instead of the teapot that I was aiming for.
The experience of teaching and learning from a class of grade ones in a foreign country is one that I will not forget.
I hope that we will all be able to go beyond any obstacles that we think we face and make a change, no matter how small in someone’s life.