Volunteering in Cape Town

Together with a friend I have been applying for voluntary work in a orphanage in Capetown. After a while we finally got the confirmation and we were really excited and happy about that opportunity. Finally we could start our project in South Africa.

Unfortunately we didn't end up working there as we received the cancellation shortly after the confirmation. The orphanage already had enough volunteers to help them out in that time period. That´s why there wasn't any space for us there anymore. What now? Our project coordinator for Capetown promised us to find a similar project.

As I am going to be a teacher soon the project we then got assigned to fell in place perfectly. We were working in a primary school, living in a host family whose house was within two minutes walking distance from the school building. The perfect fit!

After a long flight we eventually arrived in South Africa and were picked up by a really nice taxi driver. He got us save to our host family and already fed us with information about Capetown as we were driving. The family made a friendly first impression and took us to the shopping mall at waterfront on our first day. As we had some days to spend before the school would start we used the time to explore the city.

The son of the family also went to the school which we would be going to teach at and this was very practical as it made our start easier. I was being responsible for the seventh grade and as I watched the first day of teaching I realized that there methods really differ from the ones we know in Germany. Only confrontational lectures plus it was very loud during the lessons.

I felt like it wasn't the right project for me. The school did not give me the impression as if they needed any help. My friend felt the same. So we turned to our project coordinator explaining to her that we really wanted to help and change something.

The same Friday we were introduced to our new project. The working place was located outside of the city which was alright for us. We wanted to work five weeks as volunteers but as Studentsgoabroad only covered the costs for another three weeks we had one week spare to travel.

Our new project was very nice. The new organization worked with kids from the township of Dunoon. We really had the feeling like we were needed here and that work without volunteers wouldn#t be possible. First we had to help the kids with their maths homework. Only children of the township went to this primary school. It was amazing to see the improvement of the kids but it has also been scary to see how less some kids knew.

As a treat for the best students we took them surfing in the afternoon and we also sent them to the swimming course. Unfortunately the weather has only been good for one week so we could only use that time for surfing. When it rained we found other fun things to do like baking pizza one afternoon.

We have also been to a kindergarten and tried to teach the kids basic English vocabulary like the weather and numbers. The kids were always really happy to see us and to play with us.

All in all the voluntary work was a precious experience I wouldn't want to miss.