by Rieke Heitmüller.
“After graduation from school, I was thinking about a way to get to know another country and other cultures from a different perspective than a tourist. The ‘weltwärts’ – program and Sage Net. gave me the opportunity to work for the Village Scribe Association in South Africa, Grahamstown for one year.
I still remember my first days in South Africa like only a few days have passed: My SAGE Net. mentor fetched me from the airport in Port Elizabeth together with two other volunteers. On our way back, I saw donkeys and goats crossing the street and sleeping in the middle of a traffic circle for the first time. The following day, we had lunch in a Spaza shop; eating the traditional Afrikaans meal Vetkoek close to the Walmer township and listening to HipHop music out of a car radio, was another impression I will never forget.
My time in South Africa went by much too fast and it is difficult to believe there are only a few days left until I will leave Grahamstown. After one year in South Africa, I experienced a lot and I think there won’t be enough time to tell all the stories. Obviously, there were also a few challenges during my voluntary service, which I had to face but I’m glad I experienced these things too. Moments like the first time our students seemed to trust and be interested in me and my fellow volunteer, the proud feeling to finish a project or my journeys around South Africa made my year memorable and unforgettable.
I never thought this year will change me, but it influenced my choice of study. I am more open – minded and I like to try out new things. I’d never thought about a bungee jump or skydive in Germany before, but here in South Africa, I was happy to try it out.
My mentor once said: „You will leave Germany as a child and will come back as an adult”. I don’t know if this is true, but I think I am more independent after living on my own without my parents for a year.
I would definitely recommend a voluntary service to everyone who is interested. It is a great opportunity to get to know another country, other cultures, different people and also to learn more about yourself.”
Rieke Heitmüller and Antje Hering’s voluntary year with us has ended yesterday with their flight back to Germany. The day before, we celebrated their successful time with a wonderful farewell dinner. The awarenet team and partners came to say good bye. We will all miss them a lot!