I can´t remember what it was like to explore the world for the first time when I was a baby, but I guess that I have learnt nearly as much in the past eight months as I did in my first year of life. Working for WhizzKids United has taught me a lot.
Firstly, I got to know myself better. Through interactions with my colleagues I was shown where my strengths and weaknesses are, which means a lot to me as it helped me to make use of my strengths, improve my weaknesses and use them to grow as a person. The Henrike who will go back to her home in Germany in September will be a different one than the one who came to South Africa in December.
Secondly, I could not have chosen a better country than South Africa to volunteer in. The diversity of this country has impressed me. Sure I have found some things difficult: I have often struggled with situations where racial differences were obvious, but still, many times I was also impressed by the society. Having so many groups with such different cultural backgrounds in the same place, working together can be challenging; yet, you guys manage well. I will take this mindset back to Germany and show my friends there how it can work. It is definitely one aspect where I see a need for action in my home country. The German society could learn a lot from South Africans.
Finally I noticed how important it is to me to have a direct impact on the community with my work. Having the chance to support WhizzKids United´s achievements in Edendale makes me grateful. I haven´t got in contact with most of our clients, but the few I got to know are enough. I can see how much they can gain from both our health services and all the other activities which empower the youth. By coming to WhizzKids the adolescents can be helped, have fun and grow.
That´s what I enjoyed most about volunteering for this great organization.
Even though my time in KwaZulu Natal is limited, my biggest wish is to stay involved with WhizzKids and keep supporting my colleagues to give Edendale´s youth a brighter future.