AfrikaBurn 2023: 24 to 30 April

Best kept secret: volunteering

It is one of the principles: participate, get involved, no spectators, the more you give, the more you get. And that’s the truth as discovered by many Burners.
I had to fish hard for this little jewel, which was told me by an anonymous community member (see English translation below):
“Lost and Found is die heel beste volunteer gig, en eintlik wil ek nie eens hê mense moet dit weet nie. Ons pounce op die leë spots sodra die sisteem oopgaan.
Jy sit in die skaduwee, en die hele burn kom na jou, of ten minste verby sonder dat jy iets hoef te doen. Almal maak ‘n simpel grappie, en hulle wil met jou gesels, of hulle nou iets verloor het of nie. Sodra iemand iets ingee wat verlore is is dit jou duty om dit deeglik deur te gaan om seker ter maak dat jy weet watse drugs daarin is sodat mense duidelik hulle kennis van die verlore stuk kan bewys. As dit ‘n dagboek is word dit deurgelees ingeval dit interessant is.
Een jaar het ‘n man sy linker skoen die vorige aand verloor, en ons het dit gehad. Tussen 13000 ander mense het iemand twee lelike plastiek bekers verloor, en ons het dit gehad. Al wat ‘n elektroniese ding is, partykeer weet mens nie eens wat dit is nie, vibrators, swepies, bongs en alles wat wonderlik is.
Die verbasing op mense se gesigte as ons actually iets het is enorm. Een dag het ‘n man sy Volvo se sleutels verloor met al sy goed in die kar. Toe hy hoor ons het sy sleutels het hy begin te huil. Wonderlik fulfilling job.
Ons bring nou altyd ‘n spaar motor sleutel saam net vir ingeval. Een man het sy sleutel verloor met al sy kos en klere binne die motor. Dit was ‘n geleende kar en hy wou nie die ruit uitslaan nie, toe het hy die sleutel laat vlieg van Johannesburg na die burn.
Die shifts in die begin is bietjie boring want daar is min stock, maar dit raak baie interessanter later in die burn. Die mense maak ook natuurlik al die simpel grappies oor Lost and Found want hulle dink hulle is so oorspronklik. Can you help me, I lost my marbles, I lost my mind, I lost my dignity, lost all my inhibitions en I lost my virginity(kan nie help met daai een nie). Muriel die hoof priesteres van Lost and Found het nou ‘n blik gekry en aanmekaar as sy so stupid grappie hoor gooi sy ‘n klippie in die blik.”

English translation:
“Lost and Found is by far the best volunteer gig, so much so that I don’t want people to know about it. We pounce on available spots as soon as the system opens.
You sit in the shade and the whole burn comes to you, or at least past you, without you having to do anything. Everyone makes a silly joke and wants to chat, regardless of whether they had lost something. If someone hands in lost property, it’s your duty to go through it meticulously to determine which drugs it holds to quiz people to establish ownership. If it’s a diary, it’s read from cover to cover because it could become interesting.
Once a man lost his left shoe and we returned it to him the next day. In a crowd of 13,000 people, two ugly plastic cups had been lost which were also found. All sorts of electronic appliances – we can’t always discern its function – vibrators, whips, bongs and everything that is wonderful.
The look of surprise on people’s faces is immense when we actually have their things. Once a guy lost his set of keys for his Volvo with all his stuff locked inside. When he heard that we had his keys, he started to cry. Wonderful fulfilling job.
Now we always bring spare car keys just in case. A guy lost his keys and all his food and clothes were in the car. It was a borrowed car and he didn’t want to smash the window, so a set of keys were flown up from Johannesburg to the burn.
The shifts at the start are a bit boring because stock is limited but it gets way more interesting as the burn progresses. People also make inane jokes about Lost and Found because they think they are original. Can you help me, I lost my marbles, I lost my mind, I lost my dignity, lost all my inhibitions and I lost my virginity (I can’t help with that one). Muriel (the head-priestess of Lost and Found) has now a tin canister and every time someone tells a lame joke, she throws a pebble in the tin.”

So, people… the cat is out of the bag – have more fun at the next Burn by volunteering. Anywhere, any place for any duration of time.  There are a gazillion options to suit all shapes and sizes – and you can find out all about them over on our Participate page.

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