Since my last post a lot has happened it such little time. I’ve been at my project for 3 weeks and I am starting to feel like I am finding my feet. It sank in within the last few days where I am and this is my life for the next 11 months, not just here for a summer camp or anything like that.
Let me start by explaining not many people are the children’s home are happy to have new volunteers. The home gets up to 40 volunteers each year who stay from between 6 months to a year and most arrive in September. With the arrival of us British volunteers, there’s 20 volunteers, all have no idea what we are doing. This is extremely stressful for the child care workers who we assist in day to day tasks. On my first shift one child care worker was rather abrupt and left me on the verge of tears in my break. I began to think why have I done this to myself for a whole year??? I was very polite and tried my hardest all day to be as helpful as I could. By the end of the shift she thanked me for my help and it made me feel a lot better. After a few days and having done another day shift with that child care worker, I heard from my boss that she had said to how much potential I had. Simple things like that have made the hard times so worth it. But you must realise she is just one of many child care workers I need to earn respect from.
It is also very difficult to earn the respect from the children. I have worked solely in Happy Feet (houses that consist of children aged 2 – 6). These children are probably the most trusting immediately and yet even then most take a while to warm to you. They told me how much they missed old volunteers, groaned when they knew it was a new volunteer on shift and really pushed their luck. They know exactly what they are and are not allowed to do. Yet try their hardest to get away with all sorts because they know you are new and don’t know the rules as well as them. So far I’ve learned I have to be firm with the children but also sympathetic with them. Within the three weeks I’ve learned a few of the children’s pasts. I can’t go into detail but it really broke my heart. No matter how challenging the child is they did not do anything to deserve the hand they were dealt. But the children’s home focuses on indiviual growth as well as growth as an institution. I attended a meeting which explained their finances and where it was spent which was incredibly interesting as it showed the extent of the development even within a few years. I have so many great photos of me and the children but unfortunately for their safety none are allowed to be posted on social media.
However I have been out and about and seen some awesome sights. So far I’ve been to Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope and saw some sharks in the water below, Clifton Beach and saw a whale, the V&A Waterfront, Bo-Kapp, Signall Hill, spent an evening at Ocean View Drive and been to the notorious pool bar nearby, the legendary Stones.
I will conclude this blog post by informing you all that clearly I have done way to much in such a little amount of time. As the only reason I have the time to write this post is because I’m off work until I am better. On Friday night I had to take a trip to the Mediclinic believing I had a flu. Turns out it’s the return of my childhood nemesis, tonsilitous. The medicine I was prescribed seem to be working amazingly and I should be well enough to return to work by Wednesday. Fingers crossed.