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Reisverslag Last weeks of Cape Town
7 februari 2014
Last weeks of Cape Town
I got excited to do some volunteering and Gill offered to help me find some organisations. So I stayed at Matt and Gill’s house from then on.
I immediately felt at home with the Cullinans, the first evening we went to Sea Point to have a lovely walk along the coast and had some delicious sushi for supper :)
The following days Gill helped me to find some nice organisations where I could volunteer for the short while I had in Cape Town. It seemed so easy at first, but was tougher than we thought to find something suitable. Most volunteer projects had some sort of screening or training and mostly a minimum amount of time and commitment to help at the project.
In the end we found 3 different organisations where I could volunteer, for a total of 4 days.
The first one was the Red Cross Children’s Hospital where I was a Play-Volunteer for an entire day. I was expected at 9 o’clock and these sweet ladies Lerato and Ursula explained to me what I had to do and what my day looked like. I was assigned to an old lady who also volunteered, she showed me the works and I went with her to one of the wards. She showed me the huge toy-room, where all the toys and books were stored. I chatted to her and found out she has volunteered every single Monday for the past 30 years! I was dazzled! Such an inspirational woman...
I read stories, I played with toy-cars, made some Lego houses and coloured in some drawings. It was so nice, I had such an amazing experience. Some kids couldn’t speak English, they were chatting to me in Xhosa or Zulu. I just played along, occasionally saying something like ‘Oh really?’ and ‘Wauw, that’s amazing!’ smiling at them the whole time. At the end of the day, Ursula gave me a tour around the different wards in the hospital. The burn victim ward, oncology ward, urology ward, the ICU and many more. It was quite shocking to see so many kids, from age 0 to 12, all of them not well or recovering from an operation. The fact that their freedom of playing and having a worriless childhood had been stolen by disease or accidents made me sad. I only really realised that after I came back from the hospital, which made me so thankful that I could play with these kids and make them forget they’re sick for a tiny while.
The second organisation was called The Warehouse.
It was a place where churches and literally anyone could drop off clothes people didn’t need anymore. One of my tasks was to unpack those clothes and stack them in a box of the right size. The other task was to make parcels for people who had sent in requests for clothes, because they didn’t have any or they lost everything in a fire, robbery or some other terrible situation.
There was a particular request that stayed in my thoughts a long time.
It was for a mother and her two little children; the mother was 16 and her two kids were 18 months and 3 years old... The story behind this young lady I will never know; I only know the few clothes she will wear from now on, the cute pink and purple flower dress for the little girly and the green tiger top for the 3 year old boy...
The next day there was a whole load of baby clothes brought in.
I was gently folding them and putting them in the right boxes, realising all along that these clothes had been worn by innocent little babies and were now given away to other innocent little babies who really needed them.
The third organisation was Seed, a project that provides a vegetable garden at a school and incorporating the sustaining of the gardening in the school curriculum. The kids learn about when to plant seeds, how to weed and how to take care of the plants. On top of that, the vegetables that are grown in the garden are used in the school lunches :)
So I helped out with weeding, raking, watering and saving seeds. It was a fun and tough experience, I met some very interesting people there! At the end of the day I was shattered and my cheeks and shoulders were a tint darker than they used to be :) But it was such a satisfying feeling to be walking around bare feet in the damp warm earth and making your hands dirty with the soil.
The volunteering was 4 days in total, which was more than enough in retrospect, it also meant I could spend a lot of time with my Cape Town mama! :) We did shopping together, drove around to run errands, watched movies, went for cappuccinos and had lovely lovely talks. On a very clear beautiful day, she came to me at around 11 o’clock and said: “It’s not windy and it’s a beautiful day, I’m sending you up Table mountain because you MUST go up before you leave!” So there we went, me not prepared at all but loving the spontanity of this outing. Half past 11 I was in the cable car up the mountain :)
The view from the top of Table mountain was absolutely astonishing! It was so beautiful and so nice to see Cape Town from above! Right there and then I realised I will really miss Cape Town, a lot. I stayed up the mountain for about 2,5 hours, I walked around, took lots of pictures and felt like a true tourist ;)
Then came the day that I had to pack my bag again. It was quite sad. When Gill asked me: “what’ve you been up to this morning?” and I said: “Packing my bag..” We both let out a dramatic cry of “ooohh nooooo!”
I said goodbye to my family; Felipe, Susan and my lovely cousins. I said goodbye to my new family; Matt, Nic, Tom and Chloe. Gill came with me to the airport and when the time came for me to walk through the security thingies, we hugged and hugged and hugged...
The two hour flight was smoothless: the aircon was broken so the whole cabin felt like a sauna. The stewardesses of Mango airlines didn’t bother to give us free drinks, or even free water! I honestly thought people were going to faint in the heat. Luckily I just fell asleep because of the drowsiness, so when I woke up we were already starting our descent.
To be reunited again with my Joburg family is absolutely lovely!
At the moment I’m volunteering for Jewels of Hope, a non-profit organisation my Joburg mama works for. More details about this lovely organisation in my next blog :)
Lots of Love,
7 februari 2014 12:52 | Door: Pablo
Lau!! how nice to read your blog again!!
you have a talent with words mijn schat...
fantastic experiences you've had so far in Africa.... they will stay with you for life... the might even determine your future? ;)
tho' I wish you could stay longer in Africa... I am counting the days until you get back home tour your Dutch family!! :) xxx
7 februari 2014 20:28 | Door: Christien
Smoothless flight up to J'burg heeeee? I am so pleased that you are going to fly smoothlessly back to Holland soon!!! So that you can stay with US mums here!!
It's about TIME!!!!
Hope you will leave Africa with a light heart schat, you'll be back I promise you!!
8 februari 2014 15:38 | Door: Toon
Weer zo`n mooi verslag dat ik met plezier heb gelezen. Hoe doe je dat toch Laura?
Je geeft alles zo letterlijk weer dat het lijkt of ik op je rug zit en alles zie en meemaak
wat jij ziet en meemaakt! Koester die gave, de macht van het woord is groot.
Een heel leuk stuk.
Liefs, Opa toon