A Perfect combination of city life and wilderness

Hi there!

My name is Felicia, I am from Sweden and I am going to work here at MBC for five weeks and then do some traveling for a couple of weeks until I head back home.

I arrived on Monday around noon after two long flights and I got a warm welcome from the two other volunteers which I am going to stay with. After a quick meet and greet, Felix and Semjon asked if I wanted to join them for lunch in Cape town and five minutes later we were on the train to the city.


They took me to Waterfront where we had lunch with a great view of the harbor and the ferris wheel. Later on we took a cab (which is very cheap here by the way so that’s one good way to get around here in Cape town) to the Company´s Garden; a beautiful garden oasis in the middle of all the busy roads and high houses. This was amazingly quiet and a great spot for just relaxing, laying in the grass and listening to some music while looking at the mountains, palm trees and squirrels running about. This is the perfect combination of city life and wilderness and I am going to enjoy every single second of it.



So, there I was laying in the grass so happy to finally be here in Cape Town after so much waiting, planning and with a lot of expectations and a list of things I want to accomplish and see. Learning how to surf, Shark cage diving and going on safari to name a few.

Yesterday we had our first surfing lesson. I actually managed to catch a few waves and of course accidentally swallowed a lot of salt water (a lot), which I guess is kind of included in the experience. I was surprised that, even though the waves were so huge, I could still manage to get up on the board. But I will admit that I need some more practicing and some patience before I feel super safe on the surf board. It is indeed a project to both manage the surf board, the waves and your own balance at the same time, I tell you!



Now the MBC kids are coming to the office and we are all going surfing again. I can probably learn a lot from them and I am really excited!

See you!


Top tips for tip-top travels

Thinking about becoming an MBC volunteer? Or just looking to travel to Cape Town? Here at MBC, we’ve created a list of top tips to make your travels smoother, safer, and even more fun!

caitlin Name: Caitlin
Been in South Africa: 6 weeks
Position: Volunteer
Advice: There are so many incredible independent cafes in and around Cape Town. I love Bob’s Bagel Cafe in Kalk Bay, Monicle and Mermaid in
Simon’s Town, and Empire in Muizenberg – just round the corner from MBC!


ANT Name: Ant
Been in South Africa: 40 years
Position: Director of MBC
Advice: Stay for as long as possible, there’s so much to do. Just a couple of weeks won’t be enough – you’ll have to come back another time! Make
sure to explore the surrounding area as well, and get out to the Garden Route if you can.


philaName: Phila
Been in South Africa: 19 years
Position: Former MBC member, surf instructor at Learn 2 Surf
Advice: Be safe! Cape Town is an incredible area, but there will be some people out to spoil your fun. Keep your belongings in your sight, be vigilant, and don’t let anybody stop you having a good time


TembaName: Temba
Been in South Africa: 14 years
Position: MBC member
Advice: On a rainy day, Grand West in Cape Town is a great place to go. It has everything, from cinemas to an ice rink to bowling, as well as loads of restaurants. There’s enough there to keep you entertained for hours!


AsiName: Asi
Been in South Africa: 15 years
Position: MBC member
Advice: There are so many amazing surf spots here. Muizenberg is great for beginners, while Long Beach is good for more experienced surfers. The water isn’t as warm as you’d expect, so a wetsuit is a good idea to keep you comfortable

My first week @ MBC

Hey everyone!

My name’s Helen and I’m just beginning my first week of six, volunteering at Muizenberg Beach Club. I met the kids yesterday, and I think its fair to say that they are already better at surfing than I will ever be. They have so much energy!

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I’m really excited to be here. With my endless list of things to do and see, I’m not sure six weeks will be enough. Top of my list is climbing Table Mountain, although definitely using the easier route; shortly followed by seeing the penguins at Boulders Beach.

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I’ve never visited South Africa before, and as someone who was brought up in a comfortable home in England, I was quite shocked by some if the poverty here. It makes me very glad that there are projects like this that are working to improve the lives of kids who have grown up in some pretty tough conditions.

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I have to say, I was struck by how polite the kids are. Each of them was keen to shake my hand and introduce themselves, and I have no doubt that they all have so much potential to grow up to do great things. Hopefully as a volunteer I’ll be able to help give them the opportunities that they deserve; keeping them from getting involved in gangs, and allowing them to get out and enjoy themselves.

Adios for now, I’ll let you know how it goes


A Day at the Caves

If there’s one thing to do when you come to South Africa it would definitely be to hike! Take full advantage of the abundance of mountainous regions and breathtaking views this country has to offer. Table Mountain is obviously the most well known elevation in South Africa; however, there are countless other hiking opportunities available with views that are just as stunning and equally awe-inspiring.

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This week we took the kids up the Trappieskop trail (which is a part of Table Mountain National Park) to explore some caves! From the start the hike was a very steep one with many boulders to scramble over…talk about an intense leg day…but truthfully the path was one that a beginner hiker could easily conquer. The boys were eager to get to the caves and basically sprinted the entire 45 minutes up. The only time we took a rest was when Frankie found a cockroach and thought it would be fun to give us a little scare by picking it up with his stick!

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When we got to the first set of caves, the boys were so excited to start exploring…but our new volunteer leader, Ryan, insisted we keep moving because there were bigger and better cave formations not far away! Once we got to the right set of caves it was a scramble to take out candles and torches and go exploring. The boys had a blast trying to scare one another by blowing their candles out and went deep into the caves, they even used the wax to mark their names on the stone to prove that they had been exploring there. Hiking with the boys is hard work but so much fun we cannot wait to explore new territory with them!!

The Kids Conquering the Cave

The Kids Conquering the Cave

-Alisha and Pria (Canada)

Movie Night with MBC

MBC’s motto is “Respect for nature, self and others”, one of the ways MBC promotes the expression of these characteristics among the boys is with the Star Chart program. The Star Chart allows the volunteers to award a star to each child who attends MBC activities and displays good sportsmanship; cooperation; effort; teamwork, and in general, good behaviour. Stars can be taken away for behaviours such as fighting, swearing and poor attitudes.

This past Friday we had the opportunity to take 4 of the kids who achieved the most stars to the cinema to watch the latest installment of The Amazing Spider-Man!! Phila, Themba, Siya, and Frankie were the boys who displayed the most consistent behaviour and had earned the most stars this past month. We picked the boys up at 8:30 and could tell they were excited and ready to go, wearing “special” clothes, accessorized with bright smiles! Phila was decked out in his fresh digs and stylish hat, adorned with a newly pierced ear!! (We soon found out it was only magnetic)

Themba, Siya, Frankie and Phila!

Themba, Siya, Frankie and Phila!

Just from observing the kids the moment they got into the van to when we finally took our seats at the theatre, we could tell how happy they were to be out on a Friday night watching a movie with Ant, Maddy, and all of the volunteers of MBC. We all had a really fun night and it was a well deserved treat for the boys and all they’ve accomplished over the past few weeks!



-Pria and Alisha (Canada)

First Impressions: Muizenberg and Meeting the MBC Boys!

This is my first time in South Africa and the first lesson I have learned is to not let anyone’s opinions deter you from travelling to this beautiful country. Muizenberg is the epitome of a beach town; the views of the ocean and mountains are fantastic and the people are chill and friendly. My first week here has already flown by far too quickly…Each day I’m beyond excited to surf and meet the boys for their Muizenberg Beach Club activities. The boys have such amazing spirits and seeing them laugh and play gives me hope that the MBC is truly making a positive impact on their lives. It is such an inspiring feeling to know that you have the potential to change someone’s life for the better and helping to keep at-risk youth away from gangs, violence and trouble is truly rewarding, just being around the boys is so much fun, their laughter is contagious and each day is something new. I am so excited to be spending my time here with MBC, I cannot wait to have more adventures and spend more time getting to know the kids.

A misty mountain top view of Muizenberg!

A misty mountain top view of Muizenberg!

-Pria (Canada)

First day at MBC!!!

Hello! We are Nico from France and Jasper from the Netherlands. Nico studies Marketing and Communication at the ISC in Paris and is here to volunteer for 2 months. Jasper studies International Marketing Management in Utrecht and is here to do his month internship. We are both really looking forward to our time here.

On Tuesday it was our first day at the office. We started the day with a surfing lesson with Alfonso! He is a really good coach, such a nice guy and he made our first surfing experience in South Africa really enjoyable! The waves were perfect for learning to surf and both the weather and the wonderful view looked like paradise! We had a really good time and it’s just the beginning!!!

During our surf lesson we met another volunteer, Ailsa. She is really aware of and involved in MBC projects and it was really cool for us to speak with her. She took time to answer our questions about the kids and the project. The more she spoke, the more excited we were to meet the kids!!

Ailsa and Jasper

Ailsa and Jasper

Nick, who was the kids’ surf coach 2 years ago, happened to be visiting Muizenberg from England. He decided to stop by and come with us to pick up the children. When they saw the bus coming they were really happy to see us! They jumped on the bus and started their show!! They are so funny!! To see the huge smiles on their faces for the first time was really special!! Everybody should live such a moment one time in their life! It took a couple of minutes for the kids to recognize Nick since he had cut off the dreads that he used to have, but eventually they did. They were really happy to see him again! Phila kept saying, ‘This is so awesome, man. This is so awesome.’

For me (Jasper) personally the bus ride was a funny experience. After the question ‘Am I a girl?’, an interrogation started about why I had long hair if I wasn’t a girl! The interrogation ended with 5 kids pulling my blond hair.

There is a rule on the bus which says that the kids must speak English at all times so that everyone can understand each other. When one of the kids screamed something in Afrikaans Ailsa wanted to know what they meant. Because Afrikaans and Dutch are so similar, I (Jasper) was able to tell her. The kids were stunned – how did I know? After enjoying their stunned faces I told them that Afrikaans is derived primarily from Dutch. The kids didn’t believe me so they asked what my name is in Afrikaans – when I could answer them, they were even more surprised!

I (Jasper) had only learned how to surf that morning so I was hesitating whether or not to join the kids in the sea. I had been told by Ailsa that they always like it if volunteers join them in the sea, so in I went! Despite the fact that the weather wasn’t that great, Siya, Phila, Yamkela, Frankie, Asi and I went into the sea. The kids are actually quite good at surfing. And just by looking at their faces you can see that they also really enjoy it!



Surfing was the plan for the afternoon but I (Nico) caught a stupid cold during my journey to South Africa so I decided to stay on the beach with Ailsa,Yanga, Siminkiwe, Godfrey and Mike. When I asked Mike why he didn’t want to surf, he answered me, ‘I am a soccer player, man!’ It was so funny and I was glad to hear that! I planned to take pictures during the afternoon but the kids were really excited by the fact that I liked soccer so we started to play on the beach and it might sound weird but it was maybe one of the most wonderful days of my life! Playing soccer on the beach with the kids smiling was really cool!! I will never forget this day!

Yanga, Siminkiwe, Mike, Godefrey and Ailsa

Yanga, Siminkiwe, Mike, Godefrey and Ailsa


By Jasper, volunteer from Holland, and Nico, volunteer from France


As well as being busy during the week with MBC, I have done so much at the weekends during my time here in Cape Town. One thing I was keen to do here was see a rugby game. South Africa has produced some of the best players in the world, won two world cups and their rivalry with the All Blacks is the fiercest in rugby history. I really like watching rugby at home and it is such a huge thing here that I thought it would be awesome to watch a local team.

The Rugby Union league here is Super Rugby, the biggest in the southern hemisphere. Fifteen teams from three countries – South Africa, Australia and New Zealand – take part in the league. I went online and found that Cape Town Stormers were playing Highlanders at their home stadium Newlands.

We got the train to Newlands Stadium. Walking up to the stadium was a really cool moment because I watched the movie ‘Invictus’ just before I came out to SA. In the movie the Springboks drive up to the stadium and I said when I watched it that I’d love to see a game at Newlands.

Newlands Stadium!

Newlands Stadium!

There was a fantastic atmosphere outside the stadium. There were so many people, all in Stormers shirts and buzzing about the game. The Castle brewery is next to the stadium so they had set up an outdoor bar in a park. It was a really great location because we could see the mountains whilst we enjoyed a beer before the game.

The Castle outdoor pub

The Castle outdoor pub

The game started at 3pm and I found it so bizarre and also funny how many people were still casually finding their seats after kick-off. People talked a lot and weren’t really concentrating unless we were just about to score a try. They also made a lot of noise when the kicker was getting ready. I found this so strange, because supporters in England, as well as having fun, take it really seriously. Everyone is in their seats by kick off. They watch the play intently and respect the players when they need to be quiet. I was chatting to a South African supporter who also told me that people here always lose interest in a team when they aren’t doing well, but when they start to win games, suddenly everyone is a fan. I found this funny too, because rugby and football fans I know at home, support and adore their teams regardless of how well they’re doing. However, I wasn’t at all surprised, I learnt very quickly that people here are very very chilled about life!

A sea of blue flags in the Stormers stand!

A sea of blue flags in the Stormers stand!

Stormers had been doing fairly badly, leaving them 15th in the league…out of 15! So we were pretty much prepared to see them lose, but with a try won within the first minute of the game, things were looking good! The Stormers stayed ahead for almost the entire game. Things got close but really exciting towards the end, with Highlanders almost scoring a try in the last few minutes, but Stormers won the game 29-28.

Myself & Stormers player Jurie van Vuuren!

Myself & Stormers player Jurie van Vuuren!

It was so great to be cheering in the stands with all the local supporters, for the team of the city I have grown to love so much over the past month. I am so happy to have been able to see a game whilst I’m here. I spent the day with two of my housemates who’s last day it was, so I’m really grateful to have this awesome memory with them.

Outside Newlands Stadium with my housemates Nils & Charlotte

Outside Newlands Stadium with my housemates Nils & Charlotte

By Ailsa, Volunteer from England

Breaking Bad Habits

“Good habits formed at youth make all the difference” Aristotle

Although I have been in South Aftica since May and surfing for nearly two months, today I had a beginners lesson and went back to basics. MBC is linked to local surf school, Learn2Surf, and with two solid hours of instructing it was exhilerating to break the bad habits.  The beauty of it was, I had no clue that I locked my legs or looked at my feet instead of to shore – and now I feel like I’ve had a surfing break through.

I, myself, believe that I have broken many of my own bad habits since coming to SA – and not just surfing ones. I no longer shuffle along, looking at the floor when I walk on my own, oblivious to my surroundings. There is something about traveling that makes you more confident and self-assured. Perhaps it is because you begin to learn more about yourself.

In my time here, I have also been taught many skills by others – I can observe better, surf better, eat like an American and even clean a wetsuit properly.

I hope I set a good example to MBC Members, maybe they will follow my lead in learning, growing and breaking bad habits. After all, the good habits formed at youth make all the difference.