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Learning about happiness in Cape Town preschools

  A career break is the perfect time to volunteer abroad - with unlimited time on your hands and tons of experience behind you, you'll be able to make the most of a long volunteering stint. Such was the case for Cape Town Over 30's volunteer  Michaela Morawietz, who just finished up a six-week placement which taught her about life, adventure, and optimism!    I was between jobs with much more time than you usually have in that situation. And I wanted to do something more useful and more exciting than just hanging around in a fancy club and being served drinks and food all the time. After talking about my situation to a lot of friends and hours of Internet research I came across African Impact and their huge number of volunteer projects. It took me some time to figure out what would suit me most and finally decided to book the over 30s project in Cape Town.   Already before leaving my home in Germany I started to feel homesick. Was it the right decision? Can I survive in a hostel with no time on my own? What will I feel when working with children? In a township! For 6 weeks! Why didn’t I book just 2 or 3 weeks for a start? And when the guy at the check in said to me “so your flight back is in 6 weeks?” I was about to say “oh no, there must be an error in your system, I will come back in 2 weeks!”  

  On arrival, the weather was bad in Cape Town. I was prepared for this as I was travelling there in winter, but a little bit of sunshine would have helped to improve my mood.   On the airport I met the project coordinator and a lot of fellow volunteers from all over the world. I started to feel better. In the house I met more people of the staff and more volunteers and they all welcomed us very warm. Again, it got better.   And instead of thinking about what is going to happen the next few weeks or just sleep, we went to Khayelitsha to spend our afternoon with a bunch of kids in an after school program. Although I knew that this would not be one of my projects for the rest of my stay I got the feeling, that I would be learning a lot about happiness, directness and optimism from the kids.  

  In the mornings, I was working in two different preschools in Red Hill. The kids range from 3 to 6 years and so there were always different things to do. From learning to write their names, recognizing colours and shapes to having amazing fun with the parachute or just cuddling. If you choose to stay for a longer time you get the opportunity to get to know the children very well and to give them what they need most. On the other hand, it makes it a lot more difficult to leave.   In the afternoons we either organized after school play and homework in Masiphumelele Library or in a foster home. I really loved the idea of giving the kids a safe place to go instead of being alone at home or just hanging around in the streets. As they were older than my “morning kids” I had several conversations about school and their wishes for the future while doing homework together. That was really awesome. Especially when followed by a merciless round of UNO or football or whatever the kids wanted to do.   The evenings and weekends were full of dinners, lunches, hikes, shopping trips, tours of all kinds, markets, days at the beach (“Winter in South Africa is much more fun than at home!) …   I have been there for 6 weeks and I used every minute of my free time trying to see everything that has to be seen in Cape Town and surroundings. And I can tell you: this is not enough! This city is so full of places that are connected to its history that make you shiver all the time (Robben Island, District Six) and it is also so beautiful. Like SO beautiful, that most of the time you think like “this is the most beautiful view/place/hill/beach on earth” and then you walk around a corner and it gets even more beautiful. One thing I am sure about is that I have to come back! Cape Town, you got me!     I met a lot of interesting, exciting, different and open minded people. Staff, volunteers, teachers, kids or just people in the streets – and taxi drivers, they really love to talk! I got inspired by staff members, who are just doing the job they love and not the one that offers a lot of money. I found friends among the volunteers that made me learn, that it doesn’t matter where you come from, what your culture is, which job you have or how old you are – having fun together counts the most!   And suddenly I had to leave. After having thought that 6 weeks is like never ending I stood at the airport, about to spend my last Rands. And when I threw my last glances at South Africa and tried to think about all my experiences (impossible!) and all the wonderful people I met I really got sad. Did I already mention? I will come back!   About the Author

Michaela Morawietz is a 38-year-old living in Bremen, Germany who's currently on a career break. A former market researcher in the food industry, she loves sports, travel (her favourite place is Cape Town!), live music, biographies, good food, and her Audi.
 
 

 

Fancy a career break? Why not try one of our projects geared towards mature volunteers?  
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AIDS education thanda private game reserve HIV volunteering holiday volunteer trip horses how can i volunteer in africa how to be a volunteer in africa how to become a volunteer how to go to africa how to volunteer how to volunteer abroad How to Volunteer Abroad how to volunteer in Africa how to work and travel how to work in africa Humming bird impact imvelo awards imvelo awards 2012 imvelo awards finalists imvelo awards winners imvelo finalists 2011 Innovative Awards Intern Abroad intern in Africa intern with a charity international earth day international volunteer International Women's Day internship internship african impact internship cape town internships internships abroad internships in africa jambiani job opportunity jobs in africa Jobs in Cape Town Jobs in South Africa Jobs with Lions jungle expedition kenya volunteering kwazulu-natal kzn wildlife large predator last minute lion lion conservation Lion Encounter lion prides lion projects lion rehabilitation lion rehabilitation project lion rehabilitation volunteering lion volunteer africa lion volunteer south africa lion volunteering lion volunteering in Africa Lions lions in africa Live and work in Africa make an impact makeyourimpact making a difference in Africa malawi volunteering marketing Masai Mara masai mara volunteering masai mara warriors Mature Volunteer mature volunteering medical outreach project medical projects in zambia medical support medical volunteer medical volunteer projects Medical volunteer projects in Africa medical volunteering medical volunteering africa medical volunteering in africa medical volunteering zambia Naboisho Conservancy national geographic new projects ngamo pride ngo NGO Internship NGO Jobs non-profit organisations nursing Older volunteering orphan care orphan care africa orphan volunteer projects Orphan Volunteer Projects in Africa over 30's over 30's volunteering packing for the bush packing for travel to Africa Paid volunteering paid volunteering in africa photography africa photography south africa photography volunteer photography volunteering plant trees pre-school volunteering preparing to volunteer programs in Africa project rhino kzn projects africa projects for africa reasons to travel Red Hill reforestation reforestation in africa responsible tourism Responsible travel retirement volunteering rhino rhino poachers rhinos killed in south africa rural school Safari safari africa Save the African Lion save the trees saving rhinos saving the lion saving the lions saving the planet school uniforms africa seychelles Smba Giya social involvement social media Something different for retirement south afric south africa south africa internships south africa rhinos south africa volunteering special offer sponsor a child programme sports volunteer st lucia st lucia south africa St Lucia, South Africa stand out cv stand out resume steve jobs student volunteering sustainability sustainable development sustainable volunteering sustaining trees table mountain teach abroad teach English abroad teach in africa teach in tanzania teach in zanzibar teaching Teaching Africa teaching in africa teaching in zambia teaching projects in africa Teaching Volunteer Projects in Africa team house tentation THAF Thanda thanda in africa thanda private game reserve the happy africa foundation tips on what to pack tourism tourism cape town tourism south africa tourism zanzibar tourism zimbabwe travel travel africa travel and work overseas travel in Africa travel opportunities travel overseas travel to africa at christmas trees for zambia Trip Advisor trvelling Tuli Game Reserve tweeting UCAS points UCAS points volunteering UK. Established in 2004 UNESCO up close with lions Victoria Falls victoria falls lion victoria falls lions victoria falls volunteer visit africa visit zimbabwe voluntary work africa Voluntary Work in Africa Volunteer volunteer abroad Volunteer Abroad volunteer abroad mozambique volunteer africa volunteer africa children volunteer africa opportunity volunteer africa program volunteer antelope park volunteer at Christmas Volunteer at Christmas volunteer chimfunshi volunteer coordinator volunteer forever volunteer game reserve Volunteer in Africa Volunteer in Africa volunteer in africa with children volunteer in African clinic volunteer in Cape Town Volunteer in Cape Town volunteer in Kenya volunteer in kwazulu natal volunteer in Livingstone volunteer in South Africa Volunteer in South Africa volunteer in Tanzania volunteer in the Masai Mara volunteer in township volunteer in west africa volunteer in Zambia volunteer in Zanzibar volunteer in Zimbabwe volunteer in Zimbabwe volunteer lions volunteer mozambique volunteer national park volunteer on conservation projects in Africa volunteer on game reserve volunteer on holiday volunteer on vacation volunteer opportunities volunteer opportunities africa volunteer opportunity abroad Volunteer opprotunities Africa volunteer overseas volunteer overseas work Volunteer programs in Africa volunteer project volunteer projects volunteer projects africa volunteer projects in africa volunteer south africa volunteer St Lucia volunteer stories Volunteer Travel volunteer travel conference volunteer wildlife volunteer with african children volunteer with animals volunteer with animals africa volunteer with animals in africa volunteer with charities in africa volunteer with children volunteer with children africa volunteer with children in kenya volunteer with chimpanzees volunteer with chimps volunteer with elephants volunteer with lions Volunteer with Lions volunteer with monkeys volunteer with orphans volunteer with rhinos volunteer with wildlife volunteer with wildlife in africa volunteer work africa volunteer work health benefits volunteer zambia volunteer zanzibar volunteer zimbabwe Volunteering volunteering abroad volunteering africa volunteering ethics volunteering in africa volunteering in cape town volunteering in Mozambique volunteering in South Africa volunteering in zambia volunteering opportunities volunteering programmes volunteering with animals volunteering with lions volunteering zambia Volunteerism volunteerng volunteers making an impact Voluntourism voluntourism voluntourism ethics voluteer in africa walk with lions walking with lions walking with lions africa What is it like to volunteer in Africa what to do at christmas what to do in Africa what to pack what to pack africa what to wear volunteering where can i volunteer Why pay for volunteering why volunteer Wildlife conservation wildlife conservation volunteering wildlife orphan care wildlife orphanage wildlife photography wildlife photography africa wildlife photography opportunity wildlife photography program wildlife photography project wildlife project africa wildlife rehabilitation wildlife research wildlife research project wildlife research volunteer wildlife volunteer africa Wildlife Volunteer in Africa wildlife volunteer in south africa wildlife volunteer project wildlife volunteer projects wildlife volunteer zimbabwe wildlife volunteering wildlife volunteering africa wildlife volunteering in africa wildlife volunteering in south africa Womens empowerment work abroad work abroad volunteer work and travel abroad work and travel overseas work experience abroad work for charities in africa work gap year work in Africa work in south africa work volunteers Work with animals work with children Work with Children in Africa work with children in south africa Work with Chimpanzees work with elephants Work with Lions work with lions in africa Worki in Africa working abroad working in Africa Working in Zambia Working with Chimps working with lions world aids day Worlds best holiday destination youth travel Zambia zambia africa zanzibar Zimbabwe zimbabwe volunteer projects zulu communities zulu culture zulu dambwa pride
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