We recommend browsing from our website to ensure the most relevant information Go to site
Continue browsing here
Volunteer and Intern Abroad since 1997
New Program! GVI's Business Internships in Cape Town have just launched. Find out more here.

T I A - The Way to Survive and Thrive

By 6 years ago
Categories Cape Town

As this is my last day in Fish Hoek, this blog is more of a reflection rather than a specific event or topic. I have been trying to write this for days now and I cannot pick out just one piece of my time here. This experience is all about evolution. The evolution of your relationship with the children, housemates, and yourself. You get to learn who you are and what you are actually capable of when faced with 30 screaming toddlers and babies.
When sitting down with Cynthia (the owner of Jabulani Daycare and everyone’s South African mom) the other day during naptime, she asked me what I had learnt from the experience. I realised that when being thrown into this type of work you learn to go with the chaos instead of against it. We come here trying to be the person that makes that big change and since we are adults we believe that automatically gives us the respect and cooperation of the children… but hello, they are all under the age of six, what did we really think was going to happen?
I found my “ah-ha” moment during Morning Ring (morning sing-along) a few days into working at Ibis (Jabulani’s babies and toddlers center). As usual the children were screaming bloody murder and I had a flash of panic and self-doubt, then I thought about the one thing that used to soothe me as a child, the song: “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” from The Lion King. I softly began singing it and the children all started to settle. Then I crouched down, put my finger to my lips, and told the kids that we all had to be really quiet so we would not wake up the lion. I began singing it again, with each chorus the children got more and more focused on the goal to not wake up the lion. That night when I got home I realised that I had found my secret weapon, “The Lion Song” (as the kids call it). Instead of hiding behind my yelling voice and threats of the naughty corner, I played along with them.
Everyone here has that moment where they find something special that works for them. One volunteer, Hillary, uses her incredible voices to tame the kids, whereas Becki uses her amazing imagination to create arts and crafts projects that keep the kids entertained for ages. Coming to South Africa there is the saying – T I A (This Is Africa). I have learnt here to embrace the chaos of the children and also to embrace the shenanigans that go on in the house because “This is Africa”; this is why it’s so hard to leave.
Carly McCormick – Fish Hoek Volunteer