Volunteers in Cape Town this week were treated to/woken up by a hectic thunder and lightning storm on Monday morning! However, in true Cape Town fashion, the weather changed completely that same day, in this instance it tranformed into a hot and humid 27 degrees celcius day! So, inspired by the lightning this week, here are three beautiful photos of mother nature putting on a display in the Mother City (not all the photos were taken this week, but they are too beautiful not to share!) Enjoy!
Above photo: Mark Seath
Above photo by John Maarschalk : http:/
Above photo by Glenn Kasner
(Village Care Centre)
Charlotte came to Cape Town as part of a 6 month trip with Projects Abroad in Southern Africa: 3 months care in Cape Town and 3 months conservation in our project based in Botswana just across the South African border, as I write this she is currently volunteering there.
Whilst in Cape Town, Charlotte was based at one of our most challenging placements the Village Care Centre. This is a facility for children aged between 5 – 18 years who come from families that are very underprivileged and whose parents have to work long and hard hours at quite low paying jobs in order to survive. A lot of the young people who go the center have left school early due to various reasons. It’s a challenging environment and often there are sensitive issues that volunteers may have to deal with.
It is perhaps unsurprising then that it took Charlotte a little while to adapt to her placement and look to observe where she could really make a worthwhile contribution. During our inductions Aaron will often mention that it can take a while to learn how a placement really works and that you really do get out of it what you put in.
Charlotte was a great example of someone who really took this advice on board and it paid dividends. She made effort to sit down with the project Supervisor Mary Lottriet and the placements social worker, Denise Booyster and explained that she really was keen to get involved. She took time to assist where possible with team meetings, helping to take the minutes, offering to assist where help was needed and being willing to lead workshops and focus on the weekly plans involved.
Often she would come into the office and share with the team the work that she had been involved with. She spoke with passion and regularly came into our office to print out resources for activities to use at her placement. She was relied on for new ideas and a fresh way of thinking; she helped with the structure of the weekly activities and exchanged ideas (culturally) with the children and staff. Her placement supervisor told me before she left that she was looking for a car and a boyfriend for Charlotte in a last attempt to convince her to stay. Indeed, by the time Charlotte left Cape Town she had led or was involved with a number of awareness workshops on topics such as drugs, health, life skills and cases of abuse. She helped with trips to the beach for surfing outings and picnics as well a number of other activities that took place during the Christmas Holiday project. She took on board advice from the staff and was polite and respectful to all those she worked with. It’s clear they have all really missed her.
When explaining her highs she described them as the cultural exchange and the possibility to undertake a variety of different activities. She said that future volunteers “should not be scared bring new ideas and ways of doing things, be proactive in helping to create topics and with the structure.” Essentially she led by example and was a great role model for our other volunteers.
It was also the little things that really made her stand out. She was incredibly close to her host family and really became like another family member as she joined them on their Christmas Beach Trip. During her last week she came in with flowers twice, not for us (the second time we teased her that it was a bit rude), but for her host mother who she had really created a close bond. For her placement when we visited just over a week ago we were shown some pictures of the Christmas holiday picnic. In the background you could see Charlotte with all the kids. It was a highlight of the holiday period for a number of the children and all the pictures had been bought and left by Charlotte for them to remember. It was an accumulation of these small instances where Charlotte went above and beyond that made her stand out as a consistently positive and hard working volunteer, setting a great example for others and therefore being awarded the title of Volunteer of the Month.
Country Director: Andrew Fryer
From the moment I spoke with Jack for his pre-departure phone call, I knew he was going to be a great volunteer: he was friendly, enthusiastic and polite. With his attitude of ‘no worries Laura, I’ll go wherever I’m needed and do whatever I’m told’,
I knew we were onto a winner!
When you first meet Jack, you’re instantly impressed by his people skills and positive attitude. He’s the kind of person you want to hang out with. In addition to his all-round enthusiasm and friendliness, Jack has been a top volunteer at both the Building and Surf Projects. He comes highly recommended by our Building Manager Deen, who instantly knew he could rely on Jack to motivate other volunteers and take the lead when required. In Deen’s words, “Jack is a true example of a volunteer. He is unselfish, always accommodating other volunteers with his kind and caring ways. He is dedicated, hardworking, and respectful and was a pleasure to have on the building team.”
Where Jack has really impressed us is by showing incredible patience and willingness to help during the transition in surfing projects. He was really helpful in providing information and the most recent updates to the Newlands staff – something which Aaron and Andy were very grateful for. He was instrumental in the initiation of the new project with Cass Collier, professional surfer and 2000 Big Wave World Champion. We were lucky to have been able to rely on Jack during this transition as his feedback and insight helped shape the success of the new surf project we have now.
As well as being a real ‘trooper’ at both his projects, Jack was a pleasure to have in the office as an incredibly diplomatic volunteer and someone who you can have a good laugh with. He was also a regular at many of the Projects Abroad socials. We’d like to thank Jack for being a great volunteer and for all his help in the projects where he worked. His effortless ‘can-do’ approach was much appreciated by all of us and we wish him all the best for the future.
Desk Officer & Program Advisor: Laura Gent
Edward came to the Human Rights Office as part of the six week global gap year interns. To be very honest, when I first met them I was unsure how they were going to get on with the legal work because of their young age and inexperience in law and legal work. However, it soon became apparent that my apprehension was extremely misplaced. They were all absolutely great, and Edward was simply brilliant. What he lacked in experience he made up for in passion and a drive to get things done - which is exactly what he did.
The work he did for us here at PAHRO was of an exceptional standard considering the fact that he had absolutely no legal experience. He was a natural when it came to the legal work and although he expressed how his time here made him realize he did not want to be a lawyer, he did realize that he wants to help people in some way. He was my right hand man for PAHRO's first Refugee Appeal Board Hearing for which we represented a Zimbabwean client. He worked long and hard researching into the situation in Zimbabwe and collecting enough evidence to save our client from being sent back there where her life was in danger. His tireless energy, enthusiasm and empathy on this matter, as well as everything else he put his mind to, were second to none. In addition to his impressive casework, Edward helped us improve the office by creating an office manual as a point of reference for future volunteers. Never someone to sit back and do nothing, Edward was always offering to help the staff or take on more work whenever he found he had spare time. He developed a very positive working relationship with staff and volunteers alike and everyone who had the pleasure to meet him will remember him fondly. We only wish he did not have to leave so soon.
Edward you will be sorely missed and we are proud to call you our Volunteer of the Month for December 2011, you deserve it. We wish you all the best with the rest of your adventure and hope that you continue to help as many people as you did here.
Legal Services Coordinator: Sanjay Hora and Volunteer Supervisor: Gemma Hancox
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