Volunteering abroad. Have you thought about it? Considered it? Has it ever crossed your mind? If so I suggest you jump it up straight to the top of your ‘must do in my life time’ list or what most of us call it a bucket list.
Currently jet lagged and sleep deprived I have just got back from a month in South Africa where I spent two of those weeks volunteering. And no, Ebola was not an issue; I was with an organised group so I felt completely safe; and yes, sightings of wildlife is an incredible daily occurrence!
International Student Volunteer (ISV) was the organisation I opted for. They organise flights, accommodation, transport, activities and the majority of your meals over the four weeks.
With a variety of different countries to choose from, and different projects to take part in I found myself about an hour outside of East London in a village called Cinsta. It was there that I met my group who I would spend the next two weeks with working on a local creche. The work involved digging gardens, plastering, constructing roof frames and building seats. As someone who has no experience in any of these and who is extremely weak it was, although tiring, incredibly rewarding.
When we weren’t working we were playing soccer on the beach, playing volley ball, hiking throughout the local area, touring through the township of Cinsta, and learning about the Xhosa culture. It was a confronting and eye opening experience, seeing first hand how the other half live. Although you can see positive affects of volunteering, South Africa is still very much a divided country with a long road ahead of them.