I was super excited and nervous about volunteering in Masi. A little surprising perhaps, given that it was not my first time volunteering aboard however, I always seem to feel a little apprehensive about what to expect. Candi took me to some of the projects on Friday and then we had our walking tour of Masi with Mama Charlotte. She took us to all the different nurseries, pointed out the safe houses, libraries and the school. There are many projects in Masi and both Hanna and I were placed in Kiddies Corner.
This project is filled with loving, cheeky, adorable children. Our role here wasn’t to teach although we certainly could help the teachers with material. We helped the mama’s serve breakfast and lunch. Our main job however, was to play with the children and it was delightful. At Kiddies Corner, about fifteen children are five and above, thirty five children are three to five and then there are around fourteen children below three. When all children came to project, there was hardly any space to move. The best thing to do on such days was to go out to the park or walk to the Ubuntu Centre where the children can play more freely.
It didn’t take me very long to fall in the love with the children here. Some of the them spoke little English but that didn’t stop our connection. We learnt a few words in Xhosa, their local language, which certainly helped. But for the most part, from eight in the morning until midday, we gave love and attention to these children. And in return, they shared their smiles, positive energy and love.
In the afternoon, Hanna and I volunteered at Yandi’s homework project. She has around twenty children plus ten young ones come to her home. The young ones are looked after all day, the other children come once school is finished after two thirty. We sat and helped them with their numeracy and literacy homework. The children here are again so loving and warm. Most would surround you if they saw your phone, fascinated by photos of them and videos. I loved the children at this project with all my heart.
During the holidays, many of the children came to the Ubuntu centre in the afternoon. We cooked and served them lunch everyday. Some days we had forty children other days it was sixty. Yandi came and did the breath water sound program, part of the Art of Living course, with all the children, which was remarkable to be part of. This program focuses on breathing techniques to relax people. I wasn’t familiar with this course before I started this program but it is carried out in many parts of the world. I was lucky enough to complete a three day happiness program with Candi and other volunteers and it was amazing.
In addition to volunteering at Kiddies Corner, the Ubuntu centre and Yandi’s project, I volunteered at Tears with Veronique, another volunteer. We walked a dog three times a week and it was great fun. I love dogs and whilst I have never had a dog as a pet, I love being with dogs especially puppies. Another project which I visited was Healing with Horses. This project supports disabled children with the help of horses. Children are given horse rides around a stable for half an hour and many of them love it.