A Gap Year in Cape Town to get out of my comfort zone
My decision to become a part of Greenpop was rather unexpected to myself. Environmental awareness was never a big part of my life. Sure I was recycling and occasionally experimenting with vegetarianism. Although, mostly because it was trendy and not because I was aware of the effects that the meat industry has on the environment. However, I had an opportunity to spend my gap year in Cape Town and wanted to do something outside of my comfort zone. That’s how I got involved with Greenpop.
Being an Event Coordinator
My volunteering experience started with some marketing, but soon I joined the event production team. One of the main events that Greenpop organizes is an annual Reforest Fest; a tree-planting festival lasting over two weekends. Besides tree planting, there is so much more going on. Live music, talks and discussions, various workshops and activities, such as yoga, meditation, etc. I was asked to assist with the coordination of the line-up for the festival. For two months before the festival, my days were spent communicating with artists and performers, preparing contracts, doing research, and working out a final schedule.
Of course, the real fun began along with the festival. Reforest Fest was lots of work, but extremely rewarding at the same time. The location of the festival is just amazing – an ancient indigenous forest two hours away from Cape Town. I got to spend 12 days there. At first, I was a bit apprehensive about sleeping in a tent, not being able to shower every morning, and not having everything with me that makes my life so comfortable. However, my fears were completely in vain. The time in Reforest Fest was a blast and definitely one of the highlights of my entire stay.
Connecting with the people
One of the reasons why I enjoyed the festival so much is the people – in particular, the Greenpop team. I got to know everyone much better and they were beyond wonderful. Every day we were working together, eating together, sleeping together, and partying together. It was a pleasure to work with such a team as everyone was helpful, hardworking, fun and cheerful at the same time. Furthermore, during the festival, I could finally meet the artists and performers I’d been communicating with previously. I showed them around the festival, made sure they would appear on time, and assisted with any arising problems.
I was both happy and sad when the festival ended. Happy because I was tired, dirty and sleep-deprived. But also sad, because despite all this it was an amazing time spent in nature, meeting new people and making new friends. I would love to be involved in the festival again. I hope one day to return to South Africa and attend Reforest Fest as a guest, to take part in all the incredible activities it offers.
Besides Reforest Fest, Greenpop organizes many more events and activities. I personally had an opportunity to go to a school camp: a 3-day event for 8th graders. Here, they learned about the environment and how to take care of it, while playing and doing fun activities. Moreover, I was lucky to go on a plant day in Rainbow Primary School and help plant 30 trees. I also went on a monitoring day and witnessed the beautiful trees that Greenpop planted a few years ago.
Overall, my gap year in Cape Town and my time at Greenpop was great. I met so many interesting, passionate, and inspiring people. I was able to learn and become more environmentally conscious. Of course, living in Cape Town is an incredible adventure on its own. Hands down one of the most beautiful cities in the world, where nature, warm people, culture, and sunshine are abundant.