Four months in Cape Town: What am I doing here?
To everyone who asks this question (sometimes even I ask myself); I have something to tell you.
Elementary school in Cape Town
I am sitting at the desk of Trinity Children's Centre (TCC), an elementary school. It's 2:00 p.m. and the children have just finished school. A few minutes ago I finished my last reading support session. I do it through a computer program in individual sessions. During the day, seven children come to the desk to read and that's every Tuesday and Thursday.
My tasks in the project
Actually, besides that, I don't have much else to do with the children's education. As I work in an elementary school it must seem difficult to you, but it is the truth. As the months went by, my tasks gradually came up. I do administrative tasks. It sounds boring; at least to me, and at first, I thought it would be too. After I completed my business studies, when I volunteered, that was the last thing I thought of. To my great surprise and relief, it turns out that it is something I enjoy. I make sure that TCC runs and that does not just happen with classes. In school, people teach, learn, write, paint, play, cook, live. I know the school's store from the inside out, I distribute the necessary materials to the classes, and I order the new purchases. I am responsible for going to the door when someone rings the bell, most of the time to answer questions, let people in and out, or receive deliveries. I maintain order in student files, create Excel lists of candidates, and update parent contact information.
Yesterday I spent half the day reviewing documents and shredding the unnecessary ones. There was another day, I checked and restocked all the first aid kits. Last year I spent a week reorganizing the warehouse, labeling the boxes, and at the same time, doing the inventory. And sometimes it happens, we get a pile of old wood in the school yard (known as "Woodonation"), and it takes us almost two days to clear up the chaos. Well, maybe that's not so common.
Colleagues and staff
Does it still sound boring to you? Maybe a little. The part I like best about working here is not the chores, but the people. The kids, of course, with their ability to sweeten the darkest days, but also the collaborators, who accepted me and joined me into their team immediately. Who make me feel useful and who even though they don't always love their work, are willing to sacrifice themselves, to give the children the best possible future.