Dear Friends of Golden Sunbeams
In the blog on our website, we have already given young people who have completed an apprenticeship with us a chance to speak. They reported on their experiences in the township kindergartens and their encounters with nature and its people in South Africa. You can find their reports here:
Today we would like to share with you the report of Pia, who came to Cape Town nearly a year ago and completed a six-month internship with us. Today she looks back on this beautiful, eventful time for us.
“After my FSJ (voluntary social year) I really wanted to go abroad, but I had no definite idea. Through Lia I came across Golden Sunbeams by chance and I was immediately inspired by her stories (note: we reported in newsletter # 24 from February 17th, 2021 about Lia and Elena, who also completed an apprenticeship with us in spring 2021). So in August I got on a plane to Cape Town to spend 6 months there.
I spent the first few weeks in the kindergarten “Sikuthale” in the township Asanda – Village, one of many kindergartens, which is supported by Britta and Bernd. With around 100 children, it is relatively large. I was mainly in the pre-school class and with the 3 to 4 year olds with Muriel, the principal.
I received a very warm welcome and felt completely at home. Communication with the teachers was in English, which wasn’t a problem at all. Only a few children spoke surprisingly good English, so communication was mainly, but very cordially, with hands and feet. Otherwise, the click language “Xhosa” is spoken, one of the most widely spoken and for me incredibly fascinating ethnic languages in South Africa. By hearing and experiencing the language every day, I was gradually able to understand a few sentences and words and even learn the numbers!
After the children arrived, I was usually allowed to lead the lessons in the pre-school class before the teacher came. We creatively repeated shapes, colours, numbers, days of the week and letters in English.
The smaller children were mainly concerned with important motor skills, their social behaviour, the correct implementation of everyday hygiene, but also assertiveness in dealing with their playmates.
I liked the creative and handicraft lessons there the most and I was always able to contribute my own ideas and suggestions
One of my highlights in kindergarten was definitely the children’s graduation party before the summer holidays and the new school year start. It is a very emotional and exciting event! And also for me, because I had grown so fond of the children in a short time. The girls look like little princesses and the boys come in suits. Pictures are taken, traditional songs are sung, the children perform something and at the end we eat and dance together. I was very touched to be able to attend such an intimate event with families.
For a long time I lived with 5-10 other volunteers in Strand, a suburb about 30 minutes from Cape Town. From our apartment we had a great view of the whole of False Bay. “Mother” of the shared apartment is Patricia. She comes from South Africa and has been taking care of the people in the township for years and knows her way around there very well. It is also she who drives us to the respective facilities and picks us up again every day. She is the perfect contact person, especially when planning excursions.
In the afternoon and especially at the weekend there is a lot to discover in and around Cape Town!
My highlights definitely include the diverse food markets, hiking up Table Mountain, visiting the Cape of Good Hope, swimming in Kogel Bay, surfing in Muizenberg, enjoying the sunset on Lion’s Head and visiting the wine farms more inland. Boring was definitely very rare for us!
A wide beach stretches right outside the front door and there are some nice cafes and restaurants, which are particularly suitable for windy weather. In addition, there is a mountain range directly behind the beach, from which you can enjoy a great view of the whole bay and the diverse nature.
Our favorite beach was Kogel Bay. There wasn’t much going on there and we had one or two adventures with monkeys, the so-called baboons.
During the Christmas months the facilities are closed, so three friends from the apartment and I wanted to use the time to see more of the country. And so we set off on a 20-day camping tour with a tour group.
From Cape Town we went north to Namibia in the desert to the red dunes and the famous Sossusvlei. After a few nights in the Etosha National Park, which is rightly known for its unique safaris, we were allowed to be part of a special ceremony of the indigenous people of Namibia. We continued to Botswana in the unique Okavango Delta and the Chobe National Park. The end of the trip was in Zambia at the Victoria Falls, as is well known, the best comes at the end. Experiencing the animal world up close and the constantly changing but beautiful landscapes were unique experiences that I will never forget!
Half a year sounds very long at first, but due to the many experiences and memorable impressions, the time goes by much too quickly. Even if many people here live at subsistence level, they are some of the most helpful, grateful and warm-hearted people I have ever met.
Cape Town offers such a wide range of cultural attractions, diverse wildlife, sporting activities, incredibly good food and unique nature that it is almost impossible not to love this city. And for anyone looking for a new adventure amidst breathtaking scenery and a vibrant and fun-loving city, I can safely say Cape Town is exactly what you are looking for.
I am incredibly grateful that I was able to experience and learn to love the people and culture of South Africa, especially in the townships, thanks to Britta and Bernd. It is and will remain a magical and diverse country for me, which I have completely taken to my heart.
At this point we would like to thank our “author” Pia, all former and current volunteers! Your commitment and time are very important pillars of the work of Golden Sunbeams and indispensable to many of our projects – thank you very much!
We are always very touched when our volunteers leave South Africa after a few months and take with them the feeling of having had experiences that will have a lasting influence which will shape them. It means we have managed to convey exactly what we live and work for here.
If you, your children or grandchildren are interested in volunteering for Golden Sunbeams e.V. – you can find more information here: https://www.goldensunbeams.org/de/spender-sendungen-ehrenamt/
For today we say goodbye from our beloved Cape Town,
Britta & Bernd