South Africa (Tricia)

I first volunteered in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2010 for 6 months. I was there from January to June. It was my first volunteer experience overseas. I was not prepared and I had no idea what to expect. I wish that someone had prepared me a bit more and told me what to expect. It was hard work. I did enjoy it so much and I loved the children like they all shared a piece of my heart. Even to this day I miss the kids and love them with every part of me. They are cherished beyond measure. I hang their photos all over my home and think of them often. The work was hard for me. The language barrier was hard. I missed my family and home. I think when I look back now, that the first few months were hard trying to adapt to different culture and surroundings, but things got better and I became more open and less shy. And I was afraid of people from other countries because they would speak another language and I just didn’t understand. It was a learning experience for me. It was eye opening and taught me to love and appreciate everyone’s culture and customs. I made a lot of new friends once I started opening up and being friendly.

Working with the kids was amazing. There are different age groups at TLC (The Love of Christ Ministries). The nest is the newborns, the Fledglings are the 4-7 months,  the Grubs are about 7 months to a year or so. Then the Creepies are the kids that are starting to walk. Then the Lions are the 2 and 3 year olds. I loved all the ages. The newborns were so fun to cuddle and bottle feed and have quiet time with. The Lions were energetic and fun to run around with and go to preschool. I was able to teach preschool for a few months and that time was amazing. I got to see the children learn and progress and say new words. I loved all the different ages and how different all the children’s personalities were. I volunteered 6 days a week for about 10 hours on average a day. The days were long and it was hard sometimes. Especially with Wishy Washy and cleaning, doing laundry, and taking the swamp bucket out. But the time I spent in South Africa was an amazing growing and learning period for me. I appreciate my time there. I worked hard but I loved even harder. The kids were fun and always laughing and being silly. The tasks include feeding them, bathing, changing nappies, reading books, playing, teaching… basically everything a mom does! It was an amazing time. It has enriched my whole life. I still have lifelong friends that live in other countries and I will always remember and adore the children.

I also volunteered at a school in Cape Town, South Africa.

This was a bit more expensive for me and took me about a year to save up for everything involved. I volunteered January and February of 2012. The school was such fun. I volunteered for about 6 hours a day and my class was 5 and 6 year old children. I helped the teacher with lesson plans and fun activities for the children to participate with. I loved the students and the teacher was so kind to me. She really took me under her wing and helped me to fit in and feel comfortable. She gave me many responsibilities but I was up for the challenge. The kids were amazing to be around. They would sing and dance and laugh and play. I bonded with the whole class and the teacher so well. I wish I could have stayed longer there. I wish I would have had a lot more months with them all. It was a short 8 week experience but such an amazing, fun and great one! I made sure to go above and beyond to be willing to do whatever the teacher wanted. I loved my time at the school. I learned some fun Afrikaans words and I felt at home there.

I will be going to volunteer in Ghana for 3 months in 2013 and I am very excited about that. This is the most affordable volunteer project that I have found and I cannot wait to be back in Africa to help and work with kids more! This is the website for my most recent adventure coming up:

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