Lottie, from the UK, is currently in her 3rd week of a Marketing and Social Media Internship with African Impact in Cape Town. Here she shares what her journey has been like so far! Before arriving in South Africa I was nervous and excited about what was waiting for me. After all, leaving home for 6 months and travelling to a country you’ve never visited before is a daunting prospect! However, my mind was soon set to rest when I was greeted by a friendly face at the airport and driven to the intern house, admiring the beautiful scenery en-route.
During my first week, I settled into office life and the town of Fish Hoek (my new home) and before I knew it found myself heading off to the volunteer house during my second week to find out all about life on a volunteer project.
Being based in Cape Town means I am able to visit the Cape Town City Volunteer projects, which work in the township communities surrounding the city; an important part of my experience as my role as a marketing intern is to support the marketing of our volunteer programs. I arrived at the volunteer house on Monday morning and was greeted by an abundance of friendly faces, staff and some volunteers who had just arrived and were completely new, like me! After settling in and being shown around it was time to head off on project for the first time, where I joined an after-school program at the GAPA (Grandmothers Against Poverty and Aids) facility.
The work the grandmothers do is incredible to see and so difficult to put into words, but essentially, they provide a safe space for children to participate in extracurricular activities after school. I found them to be truly inspiring women.
Most evenings at the volunteer house we went out for drinks or dessert and got to know each other, and after only a couple of days here it’s crazy how comfortable and at home you feel. The people who were once strangers, you would now consider your friends and family.
Throughout the week, I managed to get an insight in to all the different volunteering areas; teaching, sports development, social work and gender equality volunteering. At each and every initiative, the kids were engaged and so eager to learn and play with us. It’s amazing to see how happy the children are despite their situation and how a small amount of my time and attention can make such a difference to their lives. I know we shouldn’t use the ‘f word’ (favorite!), but a few of the kids stole my heart straight away. Another of my favorite projects to see was the gender equality (Girl Impact) program, where African Impact educate and empower young people on important life topics. While I was visiting this project, they were learning about the impact of alcohol abuse, and to hear from the children everything they had learnt and remembered about the topic from the day before was immensely rewarding. It was just a small insight into the incredible influence this project is having on lives of these children.
Of course, all the projects were equally amazing and it was great to finally see the incredible work African Impact do first-hand, and get a true insight in to the cause I will be marketing throughout my internship here. The weekend quickly came around and we were free to do whatever we want, supported by staff at the house who helped us book our chosen activities and help us tick off something from that never-ending list of things you must do in Cape Town. During that first weekend, I watched my first South African sunset from Signal Hill and went on a Peninsula Tour, which included visiting Cape Point, the Cape of Good Hope and Boulders Beach to see the penguins!
In the evening, we ventured out to Long Street to celebrate a volunteer’s birthday and our first weekend in Cape Town. Sunday then called for relaxation, so we headed to Camps Bay for a chilled day on the beautiful Clifton 4th beach. I also had the chance to go to Africa Café (a must-do!) for a real taste of Africa, with dishes that define the continent, face paint and traditional African music!
My internship and experience in Cape Town so far has been everything I could have ever wished for… I have fallen in love with this city and can’t wait to see what the next few months here bring! If like Lottie you are interested in joining us in Cape Town, find out more about your options by checking through the following project pages, or contact us to find out more!