Peter N.’s South Africa Experience

Peter N.
Volunteer Name:Peter N.
Project Attended:Wild Coast Computer and Arts
Country Attended:South Africa
Why did you choose this project? I decided to volunteer for the simple reason that I wanted to use my skills to give something back to the communities who needed it the most and to experience something completely different from anything I had ever experienced before. Being a computer programmer, when I found the Wild Coast Computer Literacy project in South Africa, I knew instantly that this was the right program for me.
Did you have any worries before you travelled? One of my main concerns before embarking on my volunteering experience was that I would not get along with the other volunteers in the volunteer house, and that they might all be really young. However, all my worries were wiped away almost immediately when I arrived as the experience of living together and all sharing the common experience of volunteering caused everyone to bond very quickly; even after a few days we were all close friends. And, by the time I left, I felt like I was leaving family, not only with the volunteers but also with the staff at the house and the office. Not only did I find it very easy to get along with the volunteers at the volunteer house, I also was amazed about how easy it was to meet different people at the local backpackers where the volunteers often spent our evenings. I loved the friendly atmosphere and spent many evenings mixing with people from all walks of life. The friendly atmosphere was not limited to the backpackers; I found all the locals in Chintsa very friendly and the town was a small, beautiful, intimate place in which I really felt like part of the community. Even the local shopkeepers knew my name and would always take the time to have a conversation with me even if I wasn’t buying anything. I found it refreshing to spend time with such different people than those I would normally hang around with back home in England; the new friendships I forged whilst in Chintsa are one of the highlights of my experience.
What was the highlight of your trip? My main highlight was undoubtedly working with the children. I was completely taken aback by the fact that they were so alive, happy, and full of energy despite the fact they had nothing. Their boundless energy and enthusiasm meant that it was impossible for me to feel even the slightest bit down whilst being in their company. The fact that the children really appreciated me being there was an immense feeling and witnessing the children progress even in the short time I was there made the whole experience feel all the more worthwhile. There was no doubt in my mind that the work being carried out on the project would have a positive impact on these children’s futures and I was pleased to have been a part of making that difference. It wasn’t just the people that I met that made my time so memorable, the beauty of the area and all the wildlife I encountered whilst there made my experience even more enjoyable and unique. Going outside for a 15 minute break between lessons and seeing giraffes, zebras and ostriches wandering past was a completely surreal experience.
How do you feel at the end of your experience? Overall, I feel that after you have volunteered something inside you changes. I feel more alive than before and hungry to go out into the world and experience more of life. I believe my whole perspective of live has changed. This experience taught me so much about myself; learning not to put myself first was one of the biggest things and I definitely think that the experience has turned me into a more considerate person. I am already saving for my return visit and I am hoping that my company will donate a satellite terminal for them to use on the mobile computers project.


Testimonial


“It wasn’t just the people that I met that made my time so memorable, the beauty of the area and all the wildlife I encountered whilst there made my experience even more enjoyable and unique. Going outside for a 15 minute break between lessons and seeing giraffes, zebras and ostriches wandering past was a completely surreal experience!”