I just got news that I’ve been awarded a grant to do an internship with a grassroots rural development project this summer in the Western Cape province. It will be in a fairly small remote Tswana-speaking village a good ways out of Kimberley.
Basically, there is a retired American couple who stumbled into this village through a complicated series of happenstance events, and they started working with the traditional leadership, which is very interested in development. The village (around 1,000 people) is very poor, but relatively organized and forward looking. Everyone has a lot of ideas, but nobody has any actual development experience and so they are not quite sure how to plan and manage such projects. This is where I come in. They are working on a larger health project, but feel they don’t have the capacity to pull off such a large project now. I will go in and help them manage a sort of trial-run community education project, and that will hopefully give them the experience and systems they need for larger projects in the future. It will be good practice for me, as I have been studying development management, and this is a chance to use those skills to actually make an impact in a community that is willing to work towards a common goal. It’ll also be good to learn about another part of Africa.
I’m counting on having around a month in South Africa before my project starts. I won’t have a ton of money, and South Africa is looking relatively expensive to travel in. Any suggestions on how to do things on the cheap? What are the don’t-miss locations? Any other advice? How hard is it to travel to neighboring countries, and is it worth it?
The bad thing about this is that I’m a hot weather fanatic, and I’ll be there for winter . No summer for me this year! But I bet it’ll be worth it.