Cape Town, South Africa

It is with a heavy heart that we are now wrapping up our various projects at the Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit, while pouring out the last bit of energy we’ve got to attain professional and personal goals. As I find myself running left and right these days, wanting to achieve as much as possible, I found myself impressed by the wide range of roles I have taken during my time in South Africa.

Here is a non-exhaustive list:

  • Writing ethics protocols
  • Writing ethics protocols in a very short period of time
  • Designing screening questionnaires for sexual and other types of sexual and physical violence
  • Making coffee
  • Summarizing oral and written submissions for a report on the implementation of the Sexual Offences Act
  • Collaborating with donors to elaborate a study design
  • Monitoring the pilot study through communication with the donors
  • Serving coffee and tea
  • Writing literature reviews
  • Scanning documents
  • Copying documents
  • Recruiting study participants
  • Following-up on participants to incite them to take part in the study
  • Elaborate a training course on Gender, Violence and Research
  • Delivering a training course on Gender, Violence and Research in a HIV clinic in a township of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Buying coffee and milk
  • Designing Survey Monkey questionnaire
  • Insisting strongly on donors to get feedback from the study process
  • Insisting strongly on relevant individuals to take part in our study
  • Answering the door of the office
  • Setting up databases
  • Dealing with IT problems
  • Providing emotional support to colleagues
  • Eating Indian food
  • Collaborating on a scientific article
  • Collaborating on book chapters
  • Making career plans

Moreover, I worked on many other skills during my free time in Cape Town:

  • Hiking while utterly unprepared (bad shoes, not enough food/water, without a map)
  • Bundu Bashing (Hiking off-trails)
  • Coaching the University of Cape Town swim team
  • Writing a book chapter on Sport Psychology in Southern Africa
  • Wine Tasting
  • Using pepper spray
  • Cliff Jumping
  • Napping on the beach at any time of the day
  • Swimming in ice cold water
  • Swimming in very strong current
  • Braaing

The legend says that the South African soil is red because once you have set foot on African soil, a part of your heart will always remain long after you leave. While I know I am leaving a part of me in this city, South Africa stays with me in the perspectives it gave me. This internship provided me with exciting learning opportunities, both in and outside the office. I am grateful for the work that I have been involved in here and more importantly, for the inspiring people that have crossed my path here.