Nondumiso Phenyane (SAWIP alumnus 2012)

Standing: Gwen Bole and Kay O’Brien (SAWIP host families 2012), seated: Nondumiso Phenyane & Parveen Paleker (SAWIP alumnus 2012)

It was after a day spent marvelling at the beauty of the Washington National Cathedral that Kay O’Brien and Gwen Bole (SAWIP host families 2012) informed Parveen Paleker (SAWIP alumnus 2012) and I that they would soon be visiting South Africa. They were the highest bidders for the South Africa holiday package offered on the SAWIP fundraising auction; needless to say Parveen and I were ecstatic with joy as we had built such strong relationships with our host mothers.

What was more exciting than hearing about their impending visit was actually seeing them three months after we had left DC and realising that the affection that we had for one another was still alive. Upon arrival, the ladies were treated to a tour of the Winelands as well as a wine tasting at one of the estates. The following day Parveen and I joined them for dinner at one of the best restaurants in Camps Bay. We had a splendid time, indulging ourselves with sea food, eating “cookies” and gelato while reminiscing on the good times spent in DC. The following morning we all went on an informative tour of the city of Cape Town where we learnt significant historical facts and spent the afternoon eating lunch at the Waterfront. It was good to be back in the familiar comfort of Kay and Gwen’s presence. After dinner at Parveen’s home and a morning on Table Mountain it was off to Stellenbosch where Kay and Gwen got to meet up with Makhosazana Sika (SAWIP alumnus 2012) and Shannon Lambrechts (SAWIP alumnus 2012). They then flew off to Johannesburg where they went on a Safari for three days. They spent their final day in South Africa touring the city of Johannesburg with the lovely Sally and Brian Currin (SAWIP volunteer and Board member).

Nondumiso Phenyane & Parveen Paleker (SAWIP alumnus 2012)

Perhaps one of SAWIP’s greatest features is the linkages it creates between the Team members and their host families. Nothing beats entering another person’s welcoming home and sharing in their daily life in such an intimate way. It opens up your eyes to other realities in the world, realities that could change your life forever.