The city that stole my heart and now feels like my second home
by Karin Holmgren

Cape Town is a special place for me. My first time here was when I did my internship here. I studied to become a social worker at Umeå University. I had no expectations at all before coming here but I was excited for the internship and the reason I chose to come in the first place.
I had some classmates who were here before me, doing there field studies and told me it was beautiful and that I would like it. I had no idea how much until I landed. From the first second I arrived I felt a wonderful feeling of being here.I was placed with my classmate who joined me on the internship, at a house filled with people all around the world. There were three houses and we all hung out together and had many adventures and explored the city together.

After a week in the city me and my classmate started our intership at Saartje Bartmaan, a center for abused and raped women and neglected children. The center is in Manneberg, a place that locals don´t even want to go to. But I was proud during and after to have been there. Yes, it is a tough environment but it is also the reality there. There were other interns at the center, mostly South Africans. I learnt so much during my time there, and as it is sometimes I realized more and more after my time there how much experience I`ve gained.  One thing that really got me during my time there was the strength some of the women had considering a hard life. I was amazed. One day we had a day for the children at the center, since there was a shelter and a kindergarden there. The children painted on t-shirts, expressing their thoughts and feelings and it was emotional and beautiful at the same time. There was also a magician (trollkarl), we painted childrens faces and had fun. It was also nice to work with locals and share experiences and life stories together. We had a really nice time and were there for each other. The system is so different from Sweden and you just have to accept that even if it’s frustrating. But I would also like to say that it´s also important to see that we all have problems and why. We have problems in Sweden too and all over, the difference is the conditions.
What I also enjoyed about my first time here was going to the townships, meeting the children, going to orphanages, visiting and helping out at the soup kitchen and meeting the homeless people in obz in another environment. I wanted to see both sides of Cape Town and I did. I had a lot of fun here. We were going to restaurants, went dancing, meeting people, climbing mountains, went shark cage diving, skydiving, Garden Route, vineyards etc. It is a city that has everything for everyone. When I was leaving Cape Town the first time I left friends and a place I really enjoyed being in. It hurt the whole way home so…

I came back after six months, mostly for a holiday and to  meet my friends but also wanted to visit my intership, the soup kitchen and the children’s home. That is what I like, to experience everything. If you have never seen a township when you are in Cape Town I personally feel you have not seen Cape Town at its fullest. I went back home for my second time, as I had to finish University.
But Cape Town had become a part of me, it was still on my mind every day. I finished school, I was now a social worker, but started to work in Sweden. The reason I did not escape to Cape Town was because of different reasons but mostly because I wanted to see how it works in Sweden, that is my homeland and I need to know how it works there to. Now I have experience working as a children administrator, it is tough but I am glad that I have that experience. Though I wanted to change city and try another job, so I quit my job and moved to Stockholm. I had three months leave and during my time looking for job, Tania asked me to come and work/help her, CJ and Siba with African Sunrise Volunteering that is their own and new organisation that is already going really well. It was perfect timing in my life to come and something I really wanted to do. So now I am here once again, growing as a human being, meeting a lot of interesting people and just living. I always tell people around me to come so they will understand what i am talking about and see this beautiful city for themselves. I will tell you all now, come and explore one of the most beautiful cities, yourself, people from all around the world and also be apart of something amazing. African Sunrise will help you all the way  – come and see for yourself.

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