This summer, I spent five weeks in Cape Town, South Africa volunteering with Operation HOPE. Prior to arriving, I didn’t know any specifics or what to expect, but I was willing to try anything. I spent a lot of my time at the Cape Town Office, which is located at Tsiba University in a small building called the Ignition Centre. One of the best parts of volunteering there was the people I got to work with. I spent the majority of my time with Elroy and Trudy Fortune, but the Tsiba staff were all extremely helpful, accepting, and friendly.
They work what seems to be 24/7 to help the people of Cape Town learn how to handle their money with the Banking on Our Future program. I got to experience every aspect of how they run the program, from administrative work and volunteer training to the actual teaching of the curriculum. When I left, I felt as if I would be able to start my own Banking on Our Future program in my hometown of Louisville.
Every minute I spent in Cape Town was worthwhile, but the biggest lesson I learned this summer came from the interactions I had with the people around me. Everyone I met was accepting, friendly, and seemed to genuinely care about me, even if it was our first meeting. That feeling of love is worth more than anything else in the world, and by spreading that love with a hug or smile, I learned you can make quite the difference in a person’s life. It is just up to you how to go about doing it, and I found my way through Operation HOPE.