November 25, 2015

Overall

Pros

I can not thank Candi and Sidney enough for making me feel so loved, welcomed and happy during my ten weeks in Kommetjie. They open their doors and hearts to people they have never met. They invest their time, energy and love in complete strangers, always hoping and believing in the best. They shared their stories and their lives with us and for this, I will always be grateful. Their continuous support and understanding helps all volunteers especially those who have never travelled or volunteered aboard before. Their home became another home for me and it was again, very hard to leave.

The children are amazing in more than ones. They love you for your sheer presence, they don’t know where you’re from, what language you speak or how long you will stay but they are over the moon to see you and be around you. Most of them want your attention, they want you to pick them up, play with them and hug them. They don’t expect you to bring toys or books or money. They don’t ask for anything, they simply make the most of the present moment. It broke my heart having to leave these children behind. Again, I got too attached so again I didn’t want to leave.

The volunteers that I met during the ten weeks were great and I have stayed in touch with many of them since. We had many volunteers from back home, Germany, Brazil and France. We shared many a great moments from movie nights, day trips into town to completing the happiness program and moving house. A lot of the volunteers in the house were younger than myself, on average most were eighteen and this also made it interesting. I love listening to different people’s perspectives on matters such as travelling, volunteering, politics and history.

Whilst I had to pay to volunteer, it was considerably less then what I paid had I came through a organisation. I paid a reasonable amount each week, which I could afford and was happy to pay. Had I come through You2Africa or Sta travel, I would have paid considerably more.

Cons

The experience is so amazing that it is very hard to leave. I thought ten weeks would be enough, I was wrong, no amount of time is enough with these children and Masi.

In conclusion

People have this misconception that South Africa is not safe and that volunteering in a township is dangerous. This is far from the truth. Cape town is a vibrant, safe city where I and the other volunteers experienced no problems. Masi is a beautiful township and again not dangerous. Provided you are street smart, there is nothing to say you can’t enjoy your volunteering experience. The children here will give you a lot of love and energy, more so then you will give to them and they expect and want nothing in return. As a volunteer, you can really make a difference to the projects, the mamas, the children and the local community. The money spent on volunteering is spread amongst the projects. Any donations are of course welcome but as mentioned before, the children have no such expectations so simply being there, at the project, is more than enough for them.

I have loved each and every project and each time they end, a little part of my heart breaks. That part of my heart remains in the cities I lived and volunteered in. I like to think it is better to have my heart shattered, in many different cities, than to have it whole and in one city.