Since April I have known that I would be living and working in Mitchell House in Limpopo, South Africa. I would be a teaching assistant in life skill classes for children with mental and physical disabilities. I would be living with 3 other volunteers in a flat on site. As of today, my placement has changed.
I will now be living and working in Durbanville Children’s Home in Cape Town. My job will be very varied. There are currently 144 children living at Durbanville Children’s Home, ranging from 18 months to 19 years old. I will do a mix of day shifts and night shifts. My main responsibilities will be getting the children ready for school, helping with their homework, playing/entertaining them, preparing food, taking the children to church on Sundays, making sure they’re okay through the night etc.
These projects are very different and both are intense and difficult in different ways. I will definitely still be visiting Mitchell House whilst I am in South Africa.
I’d like to thank all my sponsors, donors and anyone who has helped me on my journey so far. The path is opening up and opportunities are becoming endless. I can’t wait to share this exciting time in my life with you all.
The journey to a small island on the Hebridean isle has become my greatest adventure so far but in just under 2 months from now, it will be minor and swamped by memories of a much more exotic place.
After travelling by coach which felt like forever I arrived in Oban. Dragging my (overly large) suitcase behind me I managed to catch up with one of the girls from the coach and asked if she was staying at backpackers plus and was going on a Project Trust training course. Like I had thought, she was. Her name was Danielle and she was also going to South Africa. We got into Backpackers Plus and all the memories of selection came rushing back to me. Upstairs was another girl from the coach. Her name was Amy. She was also travelling to South Africa with Project Trust. After asking which projects they were going to they realised they were actually going to the same project in Kimberley. They both were so excited and I was excited for them. I had already spoken to my partner Isabelle on Facebook as well as Daniel one of the guys also at our project, Mitchell House Enrichment Centre. We were added to a Facebook group about a month before training by our to-be host.
After a few hours, more and more volunteers flooded into the sky room. There were at least 30 project trust volunteers and about a billion conversations going on all at once. That night, as I was taking off my make up Daniel announced he had found his partner. I jumped off my bed and to my surprise, Tom was in the bed next to mine. We had finally found our little group making the whole concept of going away much more real.
Our country group were incredibly lucky as we had our Country Representative on training with us. The training itself went by so quickly. It’s hard to remember what even happened during those 4 days. There was so much information squeezed into that time, I’m so glad I wrote down as much as I did. The sessions were so important and covered such a range of questions I had about South Africa, my placement and what day-to-day life will be like. A few sessions were: Living in an Institution, Disability Awareness, Rights of a Child, Culture Shock, Primary Teaching, and so much more.
The beach behind the Heb Centre. The waves were a lot rockier than they look here. Trust me!!
Victory selfie after climbing up and down Ben Hogh in the pouring rain ft Alice’s nose bleed
On the last night Project Trust organised a formal reception and a ceilidh. The dinner was amazing the summer staff make amazing chefs and the ceilidh was just as hard to do as it was on Selection. But I had a brilliant night all the same.
The Fantastic Four: Tom, Belle, Me, Dan
Laura our country coordinator, Me, Belle, Alice, Ella
Formal dinner: Alice, Ian our country rep, Ella, Tom, Joelle, Dan, Caleb, Matt, Me
The ferry home was strange. I couldn’t wait to get home. But at the same time, I never wanted to leave the Isle of Coll or the incredible people I met on training. Thankfully I will see them all again at Heathrow airport on 7th September (if my visa application goes smoothly that is).