Published - 19th February 2015
Our director of PR, Guy, recently joined Novus Property Solutions on a trip to Cape Town. Here’s his story.
I’ve often heard people talk about life-changing experiences. That moment of clarity when you examine your standing in the world and what you can do to change it; how you can make a difference. Well, now I know what it feels like and, man, it’s intoxicating.
Shortly before Christmas I was asked by Novus to join a crack team of skilled tradespeople to document the refurbishment they were going to undertake at the Busy Bees nursery in the Parkwood area of Cape Town during two weeks in February. Novus, in turn, had been asked to undertake the project as part of Stoke-on-Trent College and Sixth Form College’s combined Challenge South Africa initiative, which has now entered its 11th year and gives students an unrivalled opportunity to experience South African culture.
While my primary purpose for being there was to document Novus’ efforts through photography, video, blog writing and everything else in between, what transpired was something that cracked open my cynical heart and filled it with an appreciation for life that I don’t plan on letting go of any time soon.
When looking at Cape Town’s stunning backdrop, which proudly boasts the awe-inspiring Table Mountain, it’s hard to imagine that you’re not in heaven. However, bring your eyes down to the throbbing pulse of the city and you soon realise it’s one beset by poverty and government corruption.
But I found out that the people of this city have a secret weapon. A weapon that helps them forget about the hardships they face on a daily basis. A weapon that exudes a vibrancy and warmth that made my heart swell and eyes well.
That weapon is a smile.
Everywhere I turned I was greeted with a smile. From the residents of the Parkwood Township we visited to the children at Busy Bees, a smile was never far away.
Those smiles got bigger and bigger when the staff and children at Busy Bees could start to see the nursery’s transformation before their eyes and understand what a significant impact it would have on the learning environment of the children.
Everyone at Novus should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved. This project is further proof – not that it was needed – that corporate social responsibility really is part of its DNA.
Meanwhile, teaming up with the staff and students from the two colleges also helped to create this heightened sense of emotion I seem to be experiencing since I got back. The staff have created a programme of events that will unquestionably have a far-reaching and positive impact on the 29 young people lucky enough to be on the trip, while their absolute commitment to putting the students’ appreciation and experiences first is something that will stick with me.
What impact this trip will have on me long-term, I can’t say. But I do know that, for now, whenever I’m feeling hard done by or irritated by a trivial matter, I’m going to look at little Piper’s smile on the picture below and know that everything’s going to be okay.