Written by: Jessica O'Connell
I arrived in Cape Town a week ago today – time is flying by already! It has been over two years since I was last volunteering in Africa, so I am trying to make the most of my time here and take advantage of everything I can. In the summer of 2012 I volunteered with African Impact on a volunteer program in St. Lucia, South Africa, doing orphan care, education, literacy clubs and, HIV and AIDS education among other projects. I knew I would be coming back to Africa, as living here and working in development felt like an indescribable calling.
After graduating university, I decided the time was right to take the plunge and come to intern in South Africa for a longer period since volunteering abroad had such an impact on me. Many past volunteers and interns did the same, or took advantage of a gap year to explore and make an impact in Africa. Aside from my personal vested interest in African Impact and their mandate of sustainable development; academically and career-wise the opportunity to intern abroad (no less in this gorgeous city) was invaluable. My ongoing first hand knowledge and experience in the non-profit and development sectors are a huge attribute to my career and academic aspirations.
Since I will be spending six months interning in Cape Town, I am looking forward to the opportunity to help develop projects and make an impact in the communities African Impact works in. My time in Cape Town definitely didn’t start slowly! I’ve been working at the offices of African Impact and The Happy Africa Foundation since I arrived. The Happy Africa Foundation is the charity partner of African Impact, with whom I will represent at the Cape Town projects. From learning about the diverse projects across Africa, to working with the staff of African Impact and The Happy Africa Foundation; my first week has been nothing short of exciting. The Cape Town projects are diverse in their reach to people and communities, and I am looking forward to being a part of The Happy Africa Foundation’s initiatives there.
Aside from realizing a personal dream to do more volunteer work in sustainable development, African Impact projects allow countless opportunities for weekend exploring. Skydiving, game drives, wine tours, cultural experiences – my options are endless and I cannot wait to do it all. I found that last time I volunteered there were excursions to fit all desires, and I found the network of friends I met from around the world irreplaceable. My time volunteering and interning abroad in Cape Town is sure to be characterized by a work hard, play hard mentality, and I cannot wait to make an impact and have fun doing it!
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