Home Stay and Volunteer Work

Alexander Paone
March 1, 2013

We are well into the semester here in Cape Town and we’ve been non-stop with activities. The weeks are really starting to fly by!

This weekend we had our home-stay in Tambo Village in Gugulethu, a township not far from Cape Town. My roommate Ryan and I stayed with Mama Pinkye and walked with her oldest son to her house where we met her daughter and her 2 year old grandson Siya. Siya was shy at first but actually ended up breaking the ice for us to get to know his mother and Mama Pinkye. Ryan and I told them we are learning Xhosa at UCT, and they spent some time with us going over pronunciation and useful phrases. Exhausted, we said ulale kukule and went to sleep.

In the morning we went to church then walked to Mzoli’s Place, a combination butcher, bar and restaurant. We bought our drinks and soon were presented with a tub filled with an assortment of grilled braai meats and a heaping bowl of pap (a sticky dough-like porridge made from maize flour). Chaos ensued as we dove in on the meat like a pride of lions, claws out and no utensils. The food was delicious and we spent some time enjoying the music and township vibes before we piled into a minibus twenty-four-strong to head back to Cape Town.

SHAWCO is a NGO run by UCT students that has a variety of after-school programs in a few of the townships around Cape Town. This week I had my first taste of the volunteer work I’d be doing with SHAWCO for the semester.

On Monday I chose to volunteer at the school in the Nyanga township tutoring grades 4 through 6 in literacy, which was actually much more difficult than I had expected. The kids were so excited that we constantly had to focus their attention back to their workbooks. We resorted to playing name games and hopefully in the coming weeks we’ll be able to get some work done!

On Wednesday I went back to Nyanga to volunteer with grades 1 through 3. We read picture books and played some games outside to get to know the kids we will be working with for the rest of the semester.

Problem solving at Egoli

This week we also began some of our IES volunteer work at the Egoli settlement. We dug two trenches to uncover water lines and install two new taps. After some chaos and flooding we were successful at the end of the day and plan to return soon to install a third tap.

Uncovering a water line to install a new tap for residents of Egoli


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Alexander Paone

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Alex Paone is a junior at the University of Vermont, majoring in Anthropology and double-minoring in African Studies and Geography. He enjoys photography, cooking, hiking and has a passion for travel. Alex is looking forward to calling Cape Town home and also exploring more of Africa beyond Cape Town and South Africa.</span></p>

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