The Crazy Third Year Volunteer Life

By the nature of the education sector in South Africa, my first two years of service were pretty structured. I went to school five days a week, from 7:30-2:30, roughly. What I did at school was sometimes far from structured, but I was there. I had a schedule, and rarely was a not around during the workweek.

For my third year of service, I switched from the schools to working with an organization that promotes rural development. I wasn’t really aware how much things would change in the structure of my service. I didn’t realize that I was getting myself into a whole new service dynamic.

The structure schedule I have been working under for the past two years has been entirely thrown out of the window. I still haven’t had a normal workweek. Usually, I spend M/W/F at the Trust, and T/Th at the food security project. But this week alone, I spent Tuesday in town working on getting an invoice to purchase materials for a seedling nursery at the food security project. Then today, Friday, I spent the morning having a meeting at a nearby primary school to discuss the creation of a garden there. And on Wednesday, though I was at the Trust, the day was insane because we handed our food parcels to 90+ of our OVCs.

I’ve tried crafting a schedule, but things haven’t settled into a normal. I suppose this is my new normal. I’m in a quasi-supervisory position at the Food Security Project, so my responsibilities are a bit different than a normal volunteers. Plus, I’m starting for form partnerships with area schools to help develop gardening schemes there, which will mess up my non-existent schedule even more. At any rate, it all keeps me on my toes!

I’m still in the process of getting my programmes up and running, but I’m seeing some positive trends, even if my life happens to be a bit chaotic. The meeting at the primary school went remarkably well, and I’m excited to work with another PCV to establish a school garden there!
-Jen

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