A guarantee to help you discover more about yourself whilst having fun exploring a new city!
Thashnee completed her Social Science degree in Environmental Management and interned as an environmental consultant in her hometown – Durban, South Africa. Towards the end of that, she decided to open herself to a new experience, even if it was voluntarily. The different culture that was advertised by Greenpop caught her attention and she applied for an Environmental Management Internship in Cape Town.
I initially started as a Horticulture intern but soon it turned out I preferred working on the Urban Greening side as a monitoring intern so I stayed there. I enjoyed working at the office, going out to see the post-planting sites and engaging in data capturing and researching for a Tree Identification Kit. With Cape Town being a tourist attraction I was extremely excited to find out that I had been accepted as a Greenpop intern this June!
From Monitoring and Planting Days to Tree Identification and Facebook
Whilst working in the monitoring division I went out for Greenpop planting days, monitoring outings and site visits. Being an animal lover, my favorites were the monitoring day at Drakenstein Lion Park and site visit at the PDSA animal shelter clinic. Meeting people who take care of the trees that Greenpop planted and ensure the trees are healthy and thriving despite having drought and storm occurrences, was an amazing experience.
My legacy project at Greenpop was to develop a Tree Identification Kit. This enabled me to learn more about the indigenous tree species and how to identify them. Other tasks I worked on over the two months were the Greenpop Treetop Facebook updates and the July Newsletter. I also started with the growth of an avocado tree from a seed. I poked toothpicks halfway into an avocado seed and immersed the bottom half of the seed into a see-through cup of water with the stem side being in the water. The roots and stem should start to sprout after 2-6 weeks. When the stem is 6-7 inches long, it will be cut back to about 3 inches. When the roots are thick and the stem has leaves again, it will be planted in a rich humus soil leaving the seed half exposed and with regular supervision, it will growwwwww…
Learning Different Cultures
Greenpop has an astounding office culture, there is an awesome vibe even on a Monday morning! Staff is friendly and helpful and I met other interns- some local and some foreign- with similar interests as myself. The Friday team lunch was something to look forward to as we all had a turn to cook a vegetarian dish for the team and we could spend time together. Thursdays were also fun as it was food market day and we were able to get a taste of all types of food at the Burg Street Mall.
Being South African, certain things about Cape Town did not astonish me as it would a foreign intern but during my time here I learned more about other cultures from my foreign colleagues at Greenpop. A specific example is with regards to when I paired with Italian intern Ana for Friday lunch. We had beetroots, potatoes, turnips, carrots, broccoli as well as various leafy greens. Together we cooked an Italian dish called ‘risotto’, a rice dish with mashed beetroot and using some of our produce from the Greenpop nursery. With the remaining ingredients, we made stir-fried vegetables and salads. From the pics below you can tell it was scrumptious!
Also interested in an environmental management internship in Cape Town? Check out the internships with Greenpop and Urban Harvest!
With the freezing weather conditions at seven in the morning here it was vital for me to grab a coffee or hot chocolate before heading the long walk to the office. And I must say the quality coffee is incredible in Cape Town; even convenience stores have fancy coffee machines. My favorite, however, is the Expresso Cafe shop- Shop 6, Shortmarket Street. Corner of Adderley street. You are able to grab any hot drink an snack/savory on the menu for R10 each! As they say… Life Happens, Coffee Helps!
Although politics isn’t my favorite, my visit to Robben Island was an interesting one. The rich history and surroundings enlightened me and I enjoyed it. We also visited the Iziko Museum and the SA National Gallery. Another highlight was on Mandela Day where we painted puppy kennels for the animal shelter. It was heart-warming to be a part of it.
The only challenge during my stay in Cape Town was juggling my studies towards an Honours degree and work. But I would definitely advise anyone who isn’t sure about taking a new path to try it. It’s guaranteed to help you discover more about yourself whilst having fun exploring a new city…. or country. I’m sure to come back just to see more!