Living in the host family

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Arriving in a foreign country

A home away from home. The opportunity for volunteers to arrive and feel secure, even if the new environment, culture and mentality in South Africa are unfamiliar at first. Our Makgatho volunteers in Atteridgeville, South Africa also live with a host family for a year during their voluntary service. They have shared some of their impressions and experiences with us.

Our volunteers report from South Africa

I was allowed to live at Mama Mercy's home for one year in 2018/2019. Mama Mercy was a great host mother who took great care of me. She knew that I love fruits and so after a stay in Mpumalanga, she brought me a whole suitcase with the most different, delicious and local fruits. She left some clothes there (with her daughter) just to bring the fruit to Atteridgeville. I went out and about with Bushy, my older host brother, and had a lot of laughs and good conversations with him.
Rebecca Brinkmann
North-South volunteer 2018/19
After my late arrival, I was immediately introduced to the environment and customs as a matter of course, which made my acclimatisation much easier. After my long, tiring flight, the very first thing I was offered was a plate of traditional (for me vegetarian) food. In the weeks and months to come, Mama Mercy fulfilled her "mama" function for me, in the truest sense of the word :). She often had tips and advice ready and offered to take me to events, but at the same time left me the freedom to discover the area for myself and create my own impressions. I am infinitely grateful for this unique experience, which gave me an insight into the everyday life of the family and still regularly influences my life back here in Germany.
Johanna Nürnberger
North-South volunteer 2019/20
Mama Josi and her fun-loving daughter and grandchildren quickly took away the uncertainty of an unknown, new home. Even if (or precisely because) I sometimes wanted to be more turbulent on the road than mum would have liked, the support and experience of a host family is incredibly valuable. I am grateful for special moments of cultural exchange (family celebrations), as well as for the daily arrivals, messing around and eating fruit. For example, I especially remember my host sister's graduation ceremony as one of the top of her class, where I felt part of a proud, supportive family. Besides, nothing helps against homesickness like empathetic and bright little siblings 😉
Henriette Bley
North-South volunteer 2018/19
The host family had a direct impact on my voluntary service. From the very beginning, they welcomed me as a new member of the family. At first I needed time to settle in, but soon it was part of my everyday life to pick up my host siblings from school every now and then and live together. I celebrated Christmas with them, played, did homework, got to know the family, baked biscuits and cooked for them. I especially remember my host brother, with whom I did acrobatics in the courtyard. I was always welcomed with warmth and am very grateful to have been part of this family!
Rhea Schönherr
North-South volunteer 2019/20

Our South African volunteers are also looking for a home! Maybe yours is just right!

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