Oh wonderful South Africa, where do I begin!?
It was my first time traveling all alone, so I was very nervous when I arrived. The program starts with a three day orientation package, and its very well organized. The orientation gives you a little taste of Johannesburg, the culture and the people, and you stay on a very nice backpackers-place in the city where you can meet other travelers. Then you move on to Soweto, a township right outside of Johannesburg, and you also get a little tour around which helps you feel more comfortable in this new place.
Then you start your first day at school. The teachers are such great people, and they are so friendly to the volunteers. You will not have an entire class all to yourself, you will be assisting another teacher with one class. At first I didnt know what I was doing there, I had never really worked with a big group of kids before. But after some time I learned by watching the teacher, and the teacher often trusted me to be alone with the class and teach them all by myself.
When I was there, school was finished around three in the afternoon, and then I was free to do whatever I wanted. But there is a park next to the place you will be staying, and there are always some kids playing there. With help from the wonderful owners and staff of Lebos backpackers, I did a little afterschoolprogram where I did some arts and crafts with the kids in the park. If you like you can play games with the kids, do sports or arts like I did, you decide!
Another great part is that evenings and weekends are free. There are tons of activities to do in Soweto and Johannesburg, the atmosphere is just wonderful. Some weekends I stayed in the city, I went to markets, art galleries and museums, I saw a rugby match for the first time in my life (I dont know the rules but who cares!), and had a good time with the friends I made. One Sunday I went to church with the teacher I was assisting, and it was so powerful and intense, all the people singing and praying, I have never experienced anything like it.
I would definately recommend this project. I could go on and on and on about Soweto and Johannesburg and how wonderful it is, but i guess you just have to go there and see for yourself!