Dear Future Volunteer
It wasn't too long ago that I was the one scavenging the internet to find all the little scraps of information needed to convince me volunteering was the right thing to do. Hopefully this will encourage those who are a bit doubtful to just go for it!
I chose to participate in the medical program in South Africa. Through Love Volunteers and their local partner here in Cape Town, I was placed in a clinic in Grassy Park. The staff at the clinic have already adopted me as a part of their family and are more than willing and patient when it comes to showing me the ropes! The clinic that I am working in is very understaffed and so volunteers are usually very busy helping out wherever they can. Even though I have no background in medicine (I have just graduated high school) I can still help with quite a lot of tasks ranging from general admin to taking vitals and dressing wounds. As time passes the nurses will gradually give me more and more responsibility.
I was very fortunate to be placed with a host family which really gives you the opportunity to get fully immersed in the South African culture as compared to staying in a hostel. My host mother is one of the kindest people I've met (and her cooking is also really good!). There are a couple volunteers staying in the same house as me and we often organize to do things together during the weekends.
Cape Town is such a culturally vibrant area - from the local artists selling their items in the small street markets to international concerts occurring on a weekly basis. I haven't yet found myself without something to do.
I have only been at my project for one week and already I have learnt so much and I know that I am still going to learn even more in the next 3 months to come. I am looking forward to the rest of my time here in South Africa and highly recommend volunteering here to anyone who wants learn a lot and still have a good time. It has truly amazed me how much you can contribute to helping a community if you only have the initiative to start.