Friday, 17 October 2014

Franzio's Blog

This week we are giving our blog over to Franzio, our intern from Boland College, who will be helping us in the office in 2015.  Welcome Franzio.  :)

Have you ever had that feeling that you had to be exactly where you are in your life and had to go through all the things you did to find yourself where you are at this given moment in time?  I do.  I know you might have that feeling of “why do I have to be the one who’s life is not that glamorous and doesn't have all the things other people do” well… I've been there, but I managed to drag myself out of that hole and on to the bend of it for now.

I grew up in a family of five, three children of which I am the youngest. Ever since I can remember my parents could never go all out and just give me and my sisters everything we asked for, because they just didn't have the money. My dad had a job (well he had many jobs) but he just couldn't manage to hold on to it for very long. My mother also had a job for a while but her salary had to pay the bills and put food on the table. So I never had anything just handed to me, if I needed money for something I had to work in the garden of our neighbours or wash their car or do an odd job, I've always had to work for everything I wanted, and that’s one characteristic I still own today. With that same mentality and hard work I finished school and passed matric with a bachelor’s degree, the first for our family. I had the capacity and ability to enroll at a University but sadly I didn't have the financial capability to do so.

My first year after I finished school I went to look for colleges that offered bursaries to people who can't afford to go to a University. And I found one in Paarl called Boland College. I went there and enrolled myself. In my first year I finished the year at third best student at the college, putting my stamp down as a force to be reckoned with. In my second year my dad lost his job and my mother was also unemployed, we had it hard at home but I never showed any of it at college because in that same year I finished the year as top student, I refused to believe that I was destined to follow in my parents footsteps. I studied hard even if sometimes there was no power, I had to make a choice “will I just let up and drown in my misery or will I stand up and fight for what I wanted from life, my circumstances fueled and pushed me on to do better and be better than everyone else.

I am now currently in my final year at Boland College and I am the front runner for a number of major awards at the college to name a few: top student at Boland College Paarl, top student of all the Boland Colleges in the Western Cape. But my personal and most prestigious event in the year was when I won a tour with Earthstompers Adventures for being the student that showed the most potential and interest in the Tourism Industry while we went on the College’s annual three day tour. I now have the divine pleasure to spend time in the offices of one of Cape Town’s best tour operating agencies, Earthstompers Adventures.

False Bay
Being granted this opportunity means that I can now start to build my future in the image I want it to be. I went on the tour last week with a number of international tourists and it was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I had to travel from Paarl to Stellenbosch at 05:00 in the morning because my pick up point was at Stellenbosch train station so I had to catch a lift with our neighbour who works in Stellenbosch only downside was that my pick up time was 08:30, which made it a further 3 hour wait. But the day started awesome, the first people I met was an interesting couple from the UK, Shara and Will. I really had my breath totally taken away almost around every corner for the whole duration of the tour, the first time came when we drove through False Bay and saw the beautiful Atlantic Ocean waters, looking across the water we could see Table Mountain and Devil's Peak in the far I was actually trying to control my emotions. And as always in the Cape we saw only a bit of the thousands of plant species we find in the Cape Floral Region.

Hang around with this guy, you will find the whales!
In no time we were in Hermanus doing some whale spotting from the cliffs in Hermanus, wow it was absolutely amazing. After trying to spot some whales I took a walk through Hermanus and took some awesome pictures with the Hermanus whale crier and some soldiers and their equipment who were there for an exhibition during the whale festival, man I have to say I gained a new respect for our soldiers in South Africa. 

Our tour group
The evening we went to book in at Cape Agulhas Backpackers, the most Southern backpackers in Africa. There I started to chat with more of the other tourists, and they were really amazing people, not that different than South Africans actually. I tried to learn the names of all the people on tour like: Katherine, Hendrik, Roy, Amy, Janik, Carlo, Steffi, Danielle and some others as well.

The food we had for dinner was out of this world amazing, I'm a South African and I have never tasted a potjiekos (stew) that tasted that amazing, and I wasn't the only person that thought so - everyone that finished their food said the exact same thing, okay maybe in a different language but it meant the same thing every time “delicious”. The next morning for the first time I woke up with a beautiful view of the pool outside the sliding door of my room, as for someone who has to share a room with someone else every night, that was really amazing to see and experience.  

Karusa Wines
On the second day we went to Oudtshoorn, and it was a long drive but it was really worth it. We enjoyed a nice meal and did some wine tasting at Karusa. After that one of the highlights of the tour took place …the “Cango Caves Adventure Tour”, my arch nemeses. I am not a guy for tight spots where I can’t get out or could get stuck, and the caves are exactly that. So you could say it was a sense of “fear factor” for me, and I have to say it was amazing so “Franzio fear is not a factor for you”. I came out on the other side alive.

Wilderness National Park
I was making good friends with the other tourists and we began to talk a lot more and even started to learn a little bit of German from the guys on tour. We had to do some canoeing in Wilderness and once we reached the top after a little hike we had a swim under the waterfall that flows downstream again. That water was so cold but it was so much fun to just do it.

Bloukrans Bungee
But I have to say highlight for me of the tour was the bungee jumping from the highest bungee bridge in the world, which was undoubtedly the best part of the whole tour I still get shivers when I think about it. After I made that jump I thought to myself “I would have never made it this far if I gave up back when it all seemed to be too much to carry for a young person like me” but I am here and I am fighting for what I want and want to achieve.

I am currently spending some amazing time in the office with two really influential, motivational and inspiring people; they are the owners of Earthstompers Adventure Tours, Hendrik and Chrissy Human. Winning this tour and being where I am right now proves that you don’t have to come from a rich family to gain success in life, all it takes is hard work, dedication, commitment, a never say die attitude, people that believe in you and a dream that’s worth fighting for.

I am Franzio Fortuin and this is my story. 

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