by Antje Hering.
My journey in South Africa was outstanding and it exceeded my expectations. I really enjoyed working on the awarenet programme for the Village Scribe Association. We were the first weltwaerts volunteers for the organization and therefore were given a platform to be creative and implement our own ideas. I was given a lot of responsibility and trust to not only participate, but also plan and run the projects as I saw it fit. Our work was not routine as it composed office and field work. I learned a lot from this work and it has enhanced my organizational and leadership skills.
The culture in South Africa is different from what I’m used to, from the day to day activities to the traditions practiced. I went through a cultural conflict due to the different cultural values, beliefs and common practices that I wasn’t used to. As time passed, I unconsciously adapted to some of the practices that made me blend in with the larger community.
One of my biggest challenges when I came was the language barrier because English is a common language used for communication and I was used to German as a primary language.
My highlights for the volunteering year ranged from a positive, inspiring, fun, thrilling and mind blowing moments to negative, sad, touching, and eye opening moments. Working on the peace and music project was one of my highlights at work. The talent of our learners aged between 12 and 15 is incredible. I never expected kids that age to write lyrics and make their songs sound so good. I was especially impressed at how they were able to use Nelson Mandela as an inspiration for their lyrics and coming together to work as a team.
This for me was a great opportunity to learn a different culture. I would highly recommend this to anyone who’s interested in learning different cultures and is willing go through the different challenges.