Volunteer for Community Aid and Development
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The Ho Chi Minh Community Involvement placement starts off with four days of Culture Week, a fantastic opportunity to get to know the other volunteers we would be living with for the next three weeks. This involved language and culture classes, a tour of the city and its major historical sites, cooking class and Vietnamese towel folding class (the last two of which caused a LOT of laughter!). Then we all started work.
I learned a lot about the culture in Vietnam and was able to explore the famous places in Ho Chi Minh as well. Apart from the amazing time I had during the cultural week, I was more keen for my week of volunteering to come, as that was my main purpose of enrolling myself to this program. I’ve never been happier that I chose to work in a school as I; myself enjoy having children around me.
I couldn’t imagine how those township kids’ childhood would be until I participated in their life. We had a totally different life with them. Finally I realized how happy and lucky I am and I’ve never felt regret to join this volunteer experience. I could deeply felt the happiness during my trip and I felt that it’s more blessed to give than to receive. I did learn a lot and also received a lot during the volunteering trip.
I sort of became the head teacher there quickly. And the kids listen to me and trust me – and I learned a little Xhosa (pronounced kosa) too. I’m such a mess right now because I love them and I feel awful leaving them. In a perfect world I would stay and make sure I saw them all graduate from high school.
Exploring the vast, ancient city of Jeresh on our first day was an incredible introduction – the city of a thousand pillars didn’t disappoint! You wouldn’t expect an ancient, Roman city quite like it, so far east and so well preserved; but it certainly was impressive, sticking out like a sore thumb against the backdrop of the modern, Middle Eastern apartments only a stone’s throw away.
When I arrived in Cape Town, I was positively surprised by how welcoming not only the staff but also the volunteers were. I had no problems at all finding new friends and engaging with everybody around. The average age was about 21, even though there were exceptions with ages ranging up to 65! I was immediately briefed on the project and on what to expect from it and never felt lost at all.
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