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Zeugnis ++ Freiwilligenarbeit ++ Südafrika

Christina in Cape Town: Penguins and Children!

Christina volunteered for 5 months for two projects: the penguin center and the children's hospital. Take a look at her inspiring journey.

Work at the Rehabilitation Centre for South African Seabirds

My first project was at a rehabilitation center where the rescue and care of seabirds from South Africa, especially the African penguin, is concerned. During the first few days there, they are mainly busy cleaning the whole enclosures, the mats, the transport boxes, the partitions, and the pools. They also help with the preparation of Darrows and Formulas, special medicine for the penguins, so that they get well as soon as possible.

With time you will be trained again and again and you will be shown how to handle the animals properly. You learn how to catch them properly, how to keep them properly, how to feed them with fish, and how to administer the medicine. There are also always lists in which everything important is recorded. When the seabirds are fit enough to feed themselves, they are released.

Each volunteer is allowed to participate in at least one release, and it is really nice to see how the animals that have been cared for weeks are allowed to return to their natural environment to their conspecifics. Although the work was sometimes quite exhausting, as we had to care for more than 500 animals in one day, it was a great time, during which I also learned a lot about the different seabirds.

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As a Play Volunteer at the Children's Hospital

My second project led me to a children's hospital. This is an initiative within the hospital, through which we played with the children as so-called play volunteers, trying to distract them from their illness. Every morning we chose an award that we would like to go to, and then we put the toys in a trolley, which we then took to the children. Most of them were already waiting for us and came towards us with a bright smile. The children's illnesses ranged from sometimes quite severe burns to cancer or various transplants. In the hospital, people are treated regardless of income, origin, or religion, which is why we often had to deal with very different people.

From time to time the parents told you something about their life, so you could already see a lot of the life of the locals. Even if some of the children's fates were not very easy, I still had a great time there, in which I also grew very fond of some of the children.

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My Free Time in Cape Town

In my free time, I did a lot of things with the other volunteers and saw a lot of Cape Town and its surroundings. We did a day trip to the Cape of Good Hope, went to a typical South African wine tasting, visited Nelson Mandela's prison on Robben Island, and went to a summer concert in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. Of course, Table Mountain and the Waterfront were not to be missed. We also did a guided tour through one of the townships and went to Mzoli's, a township party where tourists and locals celebrated together.

In the time between my projects, I also did a Garden Route - Tour, and just before my trip home, we were still traveling along the west coast. We also did all kinds of things like bungee jumping, parachuting, elephant riding, or a safari.

My Conclusion?

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Overall I enjoyed my time in South Africa very much. I got to know a lot of people from all over the world and learned a lot about myself and about the South African culture and mentality. I would do it again immediately and would recommend it to anyone who is thinking about making a trip of this kind. It was definitely worth it.

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