Cape Town Chronicles

Hi, I'm Hemanth

I'm a gap year student from India, passionately driven to explore the unexplored, documenting my experiences through blogs, and videos, and share them with the world. During my quest for an exciting and impactful endeavour, I discovered the Take Action Lab by Global Citizen Year.

Filled with anticipation, I eagerly joined this program, which offered me the opportunity to travel to Cape Town, collaborate with non-profit organizations in tackling real-world issues, and connect with people from diverse backgrounds across the globe. The moments I've lived here have been nothing short of extraordinary, leaving an indelible mark on my life.

Join me on this blog to witness how I've spent my time as a TAL student, delving into captivating stories and transformative experiences.

Blue stroke

As I sit down to reflect on my first few days in Cape Town, memories rush through me like a river carving its way through a canyon. It all started on March 10th, when I embarked on my very first international flight from Hyderabad, India. The thrill of beginning a new chapter in my life was palpable, but so was the fear of the unknown.

After a brief layover in Dubai, I finally met some of the companions with whom I would be spending the next three months in Cape Town. As we exchanged pleasantries and shared casual chats, a wave of anticipation mounted within us, building to a crescendo of excitement for the adventure that lay ahead. And then, we landed in Cape Town. The beauty of the city was truly mesmerising – the clear sky, stunning views of Table Mountain, and the refreshing sea breeze were all breathtaking. I felt grateful and lucky to have the opportunity to experience such natural splendour.

The Take Action Lab team welcomed us warmly, and I was escorted to my new home – the famous “Big Red House.” It’s amazing how everyone in the neighbourhood knows about it, from the apprenticeship supervisors to the street vendors. It almost felt like the house was a celebrity, and I couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought.

Completing all the necessary formalities, I received my food coupons and set out to explore the neighbourhood with my friends. That’s when we stumbled upon Timbuktu, an Ethiopian restaurant. Hidden amidst a lush thicket of bushes and greenery, it was a challenge to find – but oh, was it worth the search!

The menu was entirely foreign to me, and I had never heard of any of the dishes. However, the kind waitress suggested the Lamb Ribs, a delectable lamb gravy served with a special Ethiopian bread called Injera. Each bite was a symphony of flavours that brought me right back home to India, to the comforting taste of Dosa with mutton curry.

Lamb Tibs from Timbuktu

As the days continued to unfold, I found myself deeply immersed in the enriching orientation program at the Take Action Lab. Exploring the Company Gardens, with its intricate tapestry of history and culture, left me in awe of Cape Town’s captivating charm. And as night fell, we gathered at Wild Fig, where the warm company of the Take Action Lab staff, the CEO of Global Citizen Year, and my fellow peers was nothing short of delightful.

Beauties at Wild Fig❤️

In the days that followed, our hearts and minds were filled with a plethora of new experiences, ranging from sessions on self-care and relationships to engaging in thrilling outdoor activities. The orientation program was an intense yet enjoyable experience that prepared us not only for the next three months but also for the rest of our lives. We delved deep into discussions on global citizen behaviour, exploring the norms, commitments, and values that were crucial to our experience. Bertha House became our haven, where we connected with activists and learned about the LGBTQIA+ context in South Africa. We even did a humorous play to better comprehend risk mitigation, safety, and wellbeing. The scavenger hunt in Cape Town’s bustling city centre was a thrilling way to bond with my new friends, and the following day’s lesson on navigating public transport was invaluable. All of these activities culminated in a feeling of readiness and excitement for the upcoming work at our apprenticeship sites.

But it was our hike to Signal Hill that left an indelible mark on my soul. As we climbed higher and higher, my heart was racing with anticipation. And when we finally reached the summit, my breath was taken away by the unparalleled beauty of the sunset. At that moment, I felt the stirring of something profound within me, a sense of deep gratitude for the gift of life and the chance to share it with such wonderful people. As we savoured burritos and laughter, I knew that these precious memories would remain etched in my heart forever.

As I conclude this first installment of my reflections on my time in Cape Town, I am struck by how much I have already experienced and how much there is yet to come. I look forward to diving deeper into my apprenticeship, learning new skills, and making a positive impact on the world around me. I can’t wait to share my continued experiences and insights with all of you. Until then, stay tuned for the next chapter of my Cape Town adventure!