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Reisverslag Volunteering for PANUSP in Cape Town
13 oktober 2011
Volunteering for PANUSP in Cape Town
My flight from Jo’burg to Cape Town at 6 AM was nice, but also too short to sleep. And I regret that it was a little foggy, so I didn’t get the full clear view of the land underneath, but still I managed to make some nice pictures. And then I got picked up from the airport by the driver from the hotel, which took some time before we found each other. But that also wasn’t stressing me. I was getting along perfectly. I had an exhausting but good trip, which lasted about 30 hours before I reached my destination here.
So now I have left the airports, and I’m finally really in South Africa, in the centre of Cape Town, at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel at St. George street. It’s very close to St. George Church, where Desmond Tutu used to preach against apartheid. This afternoon we had our lunch at the museumcafe, and we got led around seeing all the pictures and had a really great lunch. It was very inspiring.
All day I have been helping Annie Robb to get everything organized for tomorrow, then the PANUSP conference will start. So we did some necessary shoppings, printed documents, prepared the conference bags, organized the set up of the room, and took care of the arriving guests/participants and so on. I’m Annie’s assistant now. And the next couple of days I’m going to be her write-hand :) So my volunteer work has started right away after arrival, and I love it! I feel good about being of some help to the Pan African Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry.
And I’m lucky again! I was supposed to leave the Holiday Inn hotel for the night, and sleep at Moosa’s place, because I’m not an African user, so there was no room booked for me. I was considering to book one myself so that I didn’t have to leave in the evening, but then it appeared that Sam from Rwanda wasn’t coming due to other important work, and his room has already been paid for, so lucky me, I’m using his room now. It’s because I’m assisting the PANUSP-conference organizers I’m now officially part of it, and got my stay at the Holiday Inn for free!
In the afternoon Annie and I walked around the block, and she was telling me about the things we saw in our direct neighbourhood: St. George Church, Long street, Greenmarket Square, the Human Rights Council, the Parliament building (and one of the recent ANC leaders walking there), the Slave Lodge (of old Dutch times) and the Company’s Garden (the Dutch claimed that they came to SA to grow plants..). These things don’t make me proud of being Dutch, but that history is not my fault. I’m here to help my fellow user organisations, and they seem to really appreciate my support. That makes me feel better.
And it’s interesting to see that South Africa is so completely different from East Africa. It’s beyond compare. Cape Town really feels like Europe, like the northwest of Europe. In Prague the buildings were more neglected than here. I hadn’t expected that. I have been to East Africa, where toilets are just a hole in the ground, and showering is done with a bucket and a can... Cape Town has got good sanitary means, and you can even drink water directly from the tap, without any precautions! And people on the streets are driving in their cars with their windows open, so unlike Nairobi, where crime is really enormous. And I didn’t see armed guards in Cape Town at all, which were all over in East Africa, even in front of phone companies. I really haven’t seen any gun over here.
I could have even brought my rollerblades, because the roads are excellent over here, no potholes. And even the street image is like the western world, with a few beggers and quite regular crime risks... I wasn’t expecting to see such a Europisch country. It’s really impressive to find this in Africa.
And now I do need to get some sleep, because tomorrow I’m going to be noting and summarizing all speakers, and I will write a report for PANUSP. I need to be fresh, and it’s already getting really late again. Because just after a slightly belated dinner, Annie and Gabor and me spend the entire evening talking about all kinds of mental health related issues and empowerment. It was a terrific evening and a great day. So good night everyone! Tomorrow I got work to do.
Foto's bij verslag (2)
13 oktober 2011 05:14 | Door: je moeder
Ik ben trots op je!
13 oktober 2011 07:43 | Door: Tony
Glad to hear it's safer than expected, but please do be careful.
Have lots of fun!