Hello from rainy, cold and incredibly beautiful Cape Town!
It is hard to believe that I have officially been in South Africa for a month. I feel I have done, learned and seen so many things in the past 30 days that I don’t know how a single blog post will cover everything!
Let me start with a quick update on what I have been working on.
The JET office in Cape Town is very different from the one in Johannesburg. There is only one more intern other than my supervisor who works at the Cape Town office and today is unfortunately her last day of work. We also share the space with a few more freelancers and a travel agency, so sometimes it can be really busy and others it will be quieter. It is also a short 5-minute walk to where I live, so I get the most beautiful Table Mountain views during my morning commute.
I am assisting with the evaluation of a government unemployment program that has reached over 20000 beneficiaries since its launch in 2011. It is a little more complex than that, as there are 2 divisions within the program: one for entrepreneurs and one for job seekers (actually there are 4 divisions, but JET focuses on these 2 for now). Within each division, there are 5 private or NGO partners that receive money from the government to conduct some kind of training for beneficiaries. My job is to analyze survey responses from those who participated in the program, grouping them by division and each of the five partners. I spent the last week coding six open-ended response questions and creating visualization tools. It was during that time that I realized how amazing of a tool MS Excel can be if you know how to use it. I think that during my short time here I developed more Excel skills than I had in my whole life so far! When I am not busy with the survey analysis, I am still working on the design of a new project database for the M&E team. I also attended the South African Literacy Association Conference for a day, held at the University of Cape Town, which was really fun and I got to see one of my favorite colleagues from Johannesburg, Milisa!
Living life in Cape Town!
And now, the fun part! I am truly fortunate to be in one of the most beautiful cities in the world for this internship – I just wish my photography skills were a little better to capture it. By the time I get home after work, it is already dark (ugh winter!), so I don’t really do much during the week, other than going to Zumba class at the community center of my neighborhood and dancing for an hour twice a week. Every Saturday and Sunday morning, I try to check out a new farmer’s market around the city. So far, my favorite is Oranjezicht – it has amaaaazing food, a great vibe by the water and I made friends with some lovely merchants, so I keep coming back.
I also did a free city walking tour around the historical center and that’s where I met another Greek girl in Cape Town, who is unfortunately back home now, and an American MBA student interning here, who has since turned into my hiking buddy. Two weekends ago, we climbed up Lion’s Head, which I thought was objectively one of the most scenic routes in the world. Last weekend, we checked out two coastal suburbs of the city, Hout Bay and Camp’s Bay, and ran into some seals just splashing around by the port (and even surprised us by jumping out of the water!). I have also visited the Iziko Slave Lodge, the City Hall (which is where Nelson Mandela gave his first speech after getting out of prison), the Castle of Good Hope and the District Six Museum. Last week I also went to a very hip place called “Yours Truly” on Kloof Street, so if you ever find yourself in Cape Town, you know where to go on a Friday night!
I am now looking forward to tomorrow because it is the first Thursday of the month, which means that art galleries will remain open until late and host mini festivals. The son of one of JET’s external partners invited me to join his friends, so I am very excited!