I am living my dreams out. For years I imagined what it would be like to travel abroad and to help other while I am there. Exploring Cape Town is amazing. I am enjoying meeting all the different people from different walks of life. I have been in South Africa for about a month now and things couldn’t be any better. I have wondered if people think I am having too much fun, and not doing enough volunteer work. Here are my thoughts on that; I came to South Africa to help, develop, love and care for my kids. I also came to South Africa to be immersed in the culture, to learn about what makes this country amazing, and to appreciate life in my motherland. Therefore, I am taking an opportunity to do all of this. South Africa has taught me several things that I can implement into my everyday life.
- I can play hard, but work harder. Working in an emotionally draining environment can affect your emotional health and the quality of work. I have fallen completely head over heels in love with my kids. When I am out of sorts, they can pick me up and brighten up my day in an instant. They can make my troubled heart melt with a smile. I have found my calling in life. Yes, this is not a job that pays a lot, nor a job that is always rewarding with happy endings, but this is a job that I absolutely love.
- Asking for help is okay. Although South Africa is an English speaking country, the simplest tasks have become difficult. People do not always understand my dialect of English or my accent is too strange; therefore I have to explain things a bit more. Whether it was to help me with my kids or help me pick out a product; I have found that asking for help from people is necessary.
- Americans are privileged. In South Africa there is such a large gap between the “middle class” and the “poor.” There are people living in a small four wall house made out of tin metal with at least 8 people residing inside ( below is a picture those are houses). Many people are begging on the street asking for food and money. There are areas in town where I must be extremely careful because people will mug me just for my cell phone. I have learned that I would never travel with an IPhone again to a country that majority of the people cannot afford one. American Privilege, allows you to take advantage of things that make life easier such as a washer and dryer, 3 day mail service, air conditioning and unlimited WiFi. My experience volunteering here has made me more sensitive to the luxuries that many people around the world do not have.
- Exploring is a must. Getting lost in Cape Town for hours, seeing an amazing view at Lion’s Head or trying sandboarding with new friends are all a part of what makes this trip awesome. I find it very important to explore where I am volunteering to understand and experience the culture more. While I build the structure for Something Amazing, I will always have activities and outings for the participants to see other parts of the country in which they are volunteering.
My list of things I have learned could go on for miles (or kilometers, something else I had to learn). I will continue to add to this list as my trip progresses. I am extremely proud of how Something Amazing and I have grown since the beginning of this trip. I cannot wait to experience more.
Something Amazing has been extremely busy with mapping out ways to help Christine Revel Orphanage and details on ways to help will be available shortly.