Postcard from Spencer Holk – United States

Volunteer trainer in several communities – 20 July to 15th September 2008

Spencer Holk with YellowMy name is Spencer Holk and I am from Kansas City, KS. I have been in South Africa since July 20th and will be here until September 15th. Over the past 3 weeks I have had the unique experience of visiting several different communities in South Africa. My volunteering, thus far, has consisted of visiting Homestays throughout the country and training the Kamammas. I have trained the Kamammas on ways to control their costs and to efficiently run their homestay to make it a successful business. My last four weeks will be spent in Oudtshoorn where I will volunteer at the local primary school and the HIV/AIDS clinic. In just 3 weeks I have visited community in the Western and Eastern Capes, Free State Province and the Northern Cape.

Before coming to South Africa, I definitely felt nervous to travel so far from my home for such a long time. However, once I arrived at the Dreamcatcher headquarters, I felt like part of the Dreamcatcher family. This feeling has not changed in the three weeks I have been in this beautiful country. Each Kamamma I have stayed with has treated me like one of her own sons. I have thus far stayed in seven different communities. Each community has their own culture, landscape, environment and way of life. The one clear similarity in each community is the love each person has for their family and the people of South Africa. No matter how little they may have materialistically, their heart is still full of love and hope.

Spencer Holk with KamammaTravelling throughout the country of South Africa allowed me so see the many landscapes of the country. I began my trip by seeing the beautiful coastlines of Stilbaai and Knysna where there were whales and waves crashing onto the shore. I continued to the Western Cape and Free state where I was surrounded by endless mountains in the communities of Qua-Qua and Stutterheim. Now, in the Northern Cape, I am in the desert where I can see for miles and see the most gorgeous African Sunset. With the vast difference in landscape and culture, this is truly a “world in a country”.

The people in the Dreamcatcher communities in South Africa want to improve their country and their way of life and they need your help. Volunteers are the inspiration that keep the people’s hearts full of hope. In each community I have visited, I have been greeted by children running to me to give ma a hug and men and woman who are eager to learn how to better their life. However, many people are still faced with poverty and disease and need the assistance of volunteers. Volunteers can help these people through helping to teach English, working at a clinic, local crèche, non profit organisation working with children and youth at risk, those who are physically challenged and many more. Or simply giving a child a hug and giving them confidence.

Spencer Holk having dinerIn only a short three weeks of being in South Africa, I believe that this experience has changed my life forever. I came to South Africa believing that I would be making a difference in people’s lives, but I believe they have made more of a difference to mine. The love and hospitality each person has given me will never be forgotten.

Spencer Holk.