The experience of Carmen Mateo


Hello! How are you? My name is Carmen and this is my adventure through South Africa 🙂
I had already volunteered and I really wanted to repeat the experience. I wanted my vacations to be different, to know new places, to disconnect from the routine of the whole year and to do something that said: this year’s holidays have been worthwhile. So as soon as I got to know this project and they gave me the information, I launched.

It is true that South Africa is far away, that it is another culture, that you can hear that it is not safe, but from time to time it is okay to leave your comfort and prove yourself. To others, Carlos and Ignacio make everything very easy and they are pending for what you need laughing.

Day by day Volunteering

The first day we were taught the community, Hanberg. In this visit they put you in a situation of how everything works, the problems that exist and of what life is like for people. Walking through the favelas is one of the things I liked the most, both for the impression it makes and for seeing that what little they have makes the most of it and they teach it to you with a smile on their face.
After this visit, the party begins. As there were volunteers from previous weeks, we were coupled to the projects they had in hand to be able to follow them when they left. During the fifteen days I was there, the children were on vacation, so we finished painting games on the floor so they would have them ready when they returned.

Another of the activities we did was the Football Days. For two days, we were in the field helping the coaches with the activities they had planned and they left us a part for us to think and propose ideas. We were very involved in the project and it was something key, because they are very respected in the community and that facilitates the entrance when it comes to proposing new activities both in the school and the parents.

One of the things that strikes you the most when you get to the community is the amount of garbage that is everywhere. They do not have wastebaskets and the garbage bags leave them in the street and every so often a truck goes by to pick them up, but it accumulates and eventually they just throw everything to the ground. So one of the things we did was going through all the favelas with the children one morning, picking up all the trash and making them see that the cleaner the better and the more comfortable you are.
And if on top of Hout people Bay sees you, shares it in a Facebook group and one of the restaurants in the area sends out pizza for the children, everything is perfect!

In addition, we have made excursions such as climbing Table Mountain, planting flowers and vegetables in pots made with plastic bottles to raise awareness of the importance of recycling and that everything has a second use, teaching them the games we played as children and to be with them as long as possible, which in the end is what they most appreciate.
They have tried to teach us Afrikaans, but with me personally it has cost them a tad more;)

Helping at Hout Bay has been amazing. The way they have to thank you for what you do for the children is brutal, they do not have much of anything but they give you everything to make you feel at home and make you feel at home.


Cape Town is a very curious city. It has everything for everyone, and although they say it is not safe, everything transmits good vibes and makes you want to kick it up and down.
There are two things that I liked very much:
• Markets: street markets in the city, where there are all kinds of products and they have a lot of color.
• Lions Head: it’s a short walk, but when you get up there and you see the sunset it’s worth it. It is one of the best I have ever seen.
Of course, you can not leave without seeing Bo-Kaap, Boulders Beach, Cape of Good Hope and clearly, Table Mountain.
In addition, there are many places to go for a drink and see how it is to the environment. It is amazing the style and the roll they have, but do not try to imitate them because that is something they carry in their blood;) besides being super friendly and close.


And if you have reached the end, I hope I have helped you a bit to take the step to launch the adventure, I stood alone and it is one of the best things I have done. Life with the rest of the volunteers is great, they end up becoming your family and they are there for whatever you need. I’ve taken people very top and without a doubt, one of the best experiences of my life.
The good vibes and laughter are assured and there is nothing that is not worth it. I miss sitting every night to see how the day has gone and how to improve, with that I say everything!
So do not hesitate, it’s a pass and it will not disappoint you 🙂