Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A day in the life of a volunteer

While rewarding, a day in the life of a Project HOPE volunteer is also very long. In the following blog New Yorker and first time volunteer Eric Dinally offers a glimpse into his schedule while volunteering in South Africa.

A hectic day.

My alarm clock buzzed at 6am—I jumped up to begin my morning routine. The bus arrived about 7:30. The other volunteers and I jumped in to start our journey to the squatter village where we conducted our surveys.

12:00pm: The sky was clear and the sun was blaring as I walked down a red dirt road with my translator. It was filled with puddles from the rain the night before. I tried avoiding the puddles as I counted shacks. We finally got to a shack that met the criteria for a survey. A short heavy lady sat by the entrance to the shackhand washing clothes. She wore in piercing yellow shirt and dirty denim pants. She was middle-aged with streaks of gray hair. She stopped suddenly when she heard someone approaching the yard. She looked up and squinted to see who it was. My translator greeted her and I waved. My translator began to explain the purpose of our visit. After of a few minutes of translating, the middle-aged women looked over to me and smiled. She gestured for me to enter her shack.

7pm: The other volunteers and I enjoyed dinner that was prepared by the guest house. We sipped on smooth tasting South African red wine as we discussed our presentations for the following day.

10pm: I put the final touches on my presentation and set my alarm for the next day….


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