As many of you know I have been volunteering in Cape Town, South Africa for the past 8 weeks. My experience has truly been life changing and something that I will treasure forever. Not only did I get to teach 2-6 year olds English and fine motor skills but I also got explore the Western Cape. If you didn’t see my daily Instagram posts @safariwithsyd it’s not too late to go check them out.
For 8 weeks I had the opportunity to help at Footsteps, a preschool/kindergarten, which they call educare. My days started at 8 and ended at 2:30. The children ranged from 0-6 years old and about 35-40 kids would arrive each day. As I was there for 8 weeks, I got to get to know each child very well and they also got to get to know me.
Like any other teacher (although they may deny it), I had my favorites. One of my favorites was Ivani. He is 6 years and I have had the pleasure to teach him English for 6 weeks. When I first met him he was eager to learn and would always try his best counting, saying colors, and singing the ABC’s. Time and time again he would keep practicing these skills even when all the other kids would go play. He also loves dancing and he would always race over to be my dance partner! He also was a teacher’s helper as he would always lead by example. Overall, he was such a joy and was so fortunate to have the opportunity help him expand his English vocabulary.
There is another little boy Spleleele. He is 1½ years old and is just a cute little peanut. He was the first of the kids to ever run up and give me a hug. Unfortunately, this child has a rough life as his parents can’t afford food for the family. The wonderful owner at the school does her best to help give the family enough food to survive. It’s unbelievable how this child is such a little ball of energy, as he loves dancing and cheering so loudly after anything that could be celebrated (like finishing his lunch). He also doesn’t have many clothes, as he has to wear the same thing multiple days in a row even if he spilled his food on it. But every day he still has a smile on his face and continues on his day with spreading so much love.
Overall, all of these kids are amazing. They live in a township that as you can imagine isn’t the greatest of living conditions. Some of these kids come from broken homes, as some parents drink all day, do drugs, or don’t support their children’s education. Many kids only get an opportunity to go to school because of the organization like SAVE. They all love seeing the volunteers. When we walk in they all yell “TEACHER, TEACHER!!” and run up to hug you. I can only imagine that this is the only affection they may get.
This experience was so eye opening for me. In America it’s a law to go to school but here it is a privilege to go to school. It has made me realize that I should be grateful for our education at home and continue to work hard in school as some people around the world would die just for the opportunity to go to school. The trip also made me appreciate something else we all take for granted, water. Due to the drought in South Africa, the lack of water has made it very difficult to keep school clean and sanitary. Plus, just taking a shower that’s longer that a minute is even a luxury!
Now that you know about my journey through South Africa, and for those of you who enjoyed following me for the last 8 weeks, I would like to ask for your help and support. I started a “go fund me” page for this organization that I’m here with, SAVE. They help 100s of kids in the community grow to be more productive in society. The money will be going to help give the kids schools supplies and help run the school smoothly. Also, it will help support the kids who can’t afford to go to school. Without the help of generous donors, this school cannot survive. I totally understand if don’t choose to donate. But I do encourage all of you to go out and volunteer. Whether it’s in your community or half way around the world, there are ALWAYS ways that you can make a difference in someone’s life! And that is priceless!
- Marsha Britt
- Karen Daun
- Mary Bennett
- John Gardner
- Bill and Jean Lemke
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