Volunteer Review: Sean M., General Care Projects in South Africa
Cape Town is one of the most stunning cities in the world. It is not just the weather or the scenic views, but the human spirit and the warmth of strangers that makes it so special.
I came to Cape Town not sure what really to expect. The host family I had is one of the greatest host families anyone could ever ask for. I know all volunteers will tell you they had the best, but mine is the real deal. From the moment I arrived, I was welcomed with open arms and I became a member of the family within seconds. They instantly felt like old relatives you haven’t seen in years, but with whom you connect instantly. And like any good relatives, they give you the best cooking you can ask for. I do not think I have ever eaten so well in my life! There was something new, delicious and traditional every night. And if I ever needed help, I knew they would be there for me.
During my first month I was a volunteer at Hillwood Primary School. Hillwood is sadly severely under funded in the community of Lavender Hill. This is the reason why Projects Abroad is involved. For one solid month, I was the physical education teacher and I would not trade that month for anything. I was able to teach grades 3-6 new sports and new games. Being a patriotic Canadian, I just had to bring hockey gear, and I am so glad I did. I have never seen such amazing and beautiful smiles as when the kids saw the equipment: hockey sticks, nets, goalie masks and jerseys. Nor have I ever had such an amazing and fun street hockey experience.
Among the wonderful experiences I had in South Africa are those I had with the other volunteers, who I can honestly say are some of the greatest friends I have ever made. Not only that, but I instantly connected with everyone. The times you spend together at Muizenberg Beach, Camps Bay, Long Street, Observatory, watching a Cricket match live in Newlands, the socials and weekend trips Projects Abroad organizes, going to Table Mountain or where ever you can imagine, you will have a blast. Cape Town has so much to offer. Take it all in. And be sure to do it with your new best friends! Because of these friends, you never really get home sick, as odd as that may sound. You are with them a good majority of your time so you never think about it. Because of this reason you always feel like you are home no matter where you are in Cape Town.
My second month in South Africa was supposed to be one of traveling and seeing the country. Oddly, I never did it. For that, I thank two of the greatest friends I have ever made that were also volunteering with Projects Abroad. They were at Westlake Worship Centre helping run a kids program during summer break. Any day you get to goof around, sing songs, dance, play games outside and do crafts with kids is a great day!
The Projects Abroad team in Cape Town was more than I ever expected. If you need anything, anything at all, any time of day or night, they are there for you. Not only are they there for you, but they go the extra mile every single time. The drive they have for helping to make change is just amazing, and inspires you to do your part.
My second month ended, and I was not ready to come home. I had found a new home! So after several hours of pleading, the Bank of Mom and Dad allowed me to stay for 3 more weeks. Now, I thought, I will travel. Again, I didn’t do it. I couldn’t leave the kids I had grown to love. I spent my last three weeks at Westlake.
I do not regret a single moment of my two and a half months. If you were to give me a ticket to go back tomorrow, I wouldn’t think twice about it. I have every intention to head back. Cape Town has a very special place in my heart. And it opened my eyes to a new world and to what life is all about.
On that note I would like to leave you saying this:
Life is never about what car you drive, how big your house is, or the size of your bank account. It is about who you are, and what you do to make the lives around you better.
This volunteer story may include references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.
This is a personal account of one volunteer’s experience on the project and is a snapshot in time. Your experience may be different, as our projects are constantly adapting to local needs and building on accomplishments. Seasonal weather changes can also have a big impact. Find out more about what you can expect from this project, or speak to one of our friendly Program Advisors.