Joanne Garnett in Cape Town, South Africa
International volunteer for Cross Cultural Solutions
by Pinedale Online!
December 19, 2007
Editor’s Note: Pinedale resident, Joanne Garnett, is in Cape Town, South Africa volunteering for an organization called Cross Cultural Solutions, an international volunteer organization, somewhat like a mini-stint with the Peace Corps. The organization, founded in 1995, has no political or religious affiliations. It operates in 12 countries worldwide. Volunteers have a chance to experience hands-on learning about another country and culture, travel, and interact with new people. Stays are from 3 to 12 weeks, depending on the country and program volunteers sign up for (and pay for). She is working on getting a website and blog up and running to chronicle her stay and it will be online soon. Below is the first e-mail from her.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Quickly for you (since this my third time in telling it !) , I'm with the volunteer organization called Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS). We have 10 in my group here in very warm Cape Town, South Africa. Three of us are working with about 15 or so kids that are foster children and HIV positive. We are in charge of setting up a play school for them for three weeks. We are the lone adults present as the facility staff are on winter break. As my coworkers predicted, these children aged 1 to 11 are kicking my butt ! We're holding our own, though. The play school is in the largest township outside of Cape Town. It has about one million people in it, which is incredible. Townships were originally set up during the apartheid era and though apartheid officially ended in the early 1990's (Nelson Mandela became president in 1994), there is still the legacy of the townships. They mainly consist of one room structures, mostly made of flimsy material, that house families and workers. There are some small bungalow neighbors, but it is mostly a severely poor area.
The kids have a lot of energy or at least try to -- some are fairly sick, with deep, gutteral coughs. The little ones want attention and to be held. Come to think of it, the older ones want attention as well. We do our best in creating play times and keeping them occupied.........and safe! ;-)
The dinner bell just rang so I need to go. This weekend about five of us will head to a small game reserve about an hour away for the day. I'm working on reservations as well for 10 of us to go to Robben Island, the notoriously bad prison where so many dissidents were held during the apartheid era. And then there is indeed the wine tour, taking place December 26 around the famous wine country of South Africa. We are ALL signing on to do that! I wonder why.... :-)
My thoughts are with you all. The need here is tremendous, but the hope is strong. We feel like we are making a difference (those of us with Home From Home play school, others in abused women shelters and children's hospitals ) and that is a wonderful thing. We turned in our Christmas menu today and will hope to have turkey on Christmas Eve. It's hard to think it's about to be Christmas, given the heat and fact we're all getting nice sun burns!!
The best to you for now, and know that I'm thinking of you. Jeg
Here is the website address for Joanne’s blog about her adventure in Cape Town, South Africa. Sign up to receive the updates when the blog goes online: http://joanneg.vox.com/