Sunday, 6 December 2009

Monday 5th - Friday 9th October

Work all week and watched films in the evening. Work starts at 7:30am, but get up at 6am to get a shower etc. We get picked up at 7am round the corner from PEMPS hostel. Teaching finishes at 13:00pm, after lunch at 14:00 I teach Lesedi for an hour and have 2hours off, work in Aftercare which is to look after the kids until they are picked up at the lastest 5pm and working in the Enrichment Centre doing small jobs for Sue (boss) or Ruth.

Sunday 4th October

After a late night out I could not be bothered to do much so watched films most of the day and walked to Chicken Licken for lunch which ended up cold by the time I got it home. After a day of nothing constructive I went to bed early as we start work again in the morning.

Saturday 3rd October

During the day I went into town to buy some food as I have ran out. Tom and Colin went to return the car in the morning. In the evening we went to a 'night club' to go see our neighbours band play live. It was in a small farm hall outside of town. The gig was very good and me alot of new people. After they finished playing some of us went to another bar called Pioneers which didn't turn out to well. One Dutchman went and hit Toms leg after twisted his ankle at the gig. They started to come out with a load of rubbish in badly spoken English, such as this is South Africa not England which was a bit obvious. We had a big guy with us who was defending us and trying to get them to leave. Unfortunatly a fight broke out causing bloodshed, luckily we were not injured. The bouncers did nothing.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Wednesday 30th September - Tuesday 2nd October

Wednesday 30th September

Woke up at about 7am but couldn't use the showers or kitchen as they were being cleaned in 'African Time'. African Time is things done very slowly, or if they miss a bus they will wait for the next bus however long it takes. I’ve been told this by numerous people.

I went back to my reading book for the next few hours until they have finished at about 10am. I got myself ready and walked over to the local café which are approx 6km away, where I ate a chicken mayo pie and read my book. I took my malaria tablet which didn’t make me feel to good. I got back to the hostel and sat on the grass and read more of my book till the sun went down behind the mountains at about 6pm. For dinner I ate cold beans as I wasn’t feeling to good after the tablet.

Thursday 1st October

In the morning I decided I would spend the day walking in the mountains. I chose a hill to walk up not to far away and set off all ready and determined. I walked over to Forever Resorts (approx 14km, hitched most of the way) which backed onto the mountain. However, unfortunately where it backed onto the resort there was a river dividing it. Instead I took a nature walk had a swim, and spent a while talking to the girl behind the food stand to pass the time. Before it got dark I hitched a lift back to the hostel where I read my book for the rest of the evening.

Friday 2nd October

The others came to pick me up after they went to Kruger Park. It took us 3hours to get home. In the evenings I watched a load of films.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Friday 25th Setember - Tuesday 29th September

Friday 25th September

Today we booked ourselves in to do whitewater rafting, costing R280 for 3hours and lunch. We all had a good time although the rapids weren’t very good. Along the river there were many signs about hippos and crocodiles in the area but fortunately we didn’t see any. Once we finished here we drove to Hazeyview where there had been rioting only days before – there wasn’t much here apart from a few cafes so we drove over to Graskop instead, which is internationally renowned for their pancakes. I didn’t try any as they were too expensive.

Saturday 26th September

Late in the morning we drove to our next stop at Blyde River Canyon backpackers which we stayed at for 2nights. Because it was such a hot day we did not do much apart from going to the local shop to buy some meat and get some lunch at the take away, which we waited for 45mins for!! When we arrived back at the hostel we chilled out by the horrible green pool and read my book.

Early in the evening we had to make a braai from scratch as we had no fire starter which was good fun to do! We met some other backpackers who joined in; they were from Norway, Oman and America.

The hostel is split up into sections, we stayed in the 3 bedded shelters which was surrounded by the outback or you could stay in the main building.

Sunday 27th September

We had a very lazy morning today and left about 10ish to go to Blyde River dam which was very impressive and in a very beautiful area surrounded by mountains and dense forests. I have taken some pictures and will put them up on facebook. After going to the dam and the museum we drove over to the animal rehabilitation centre which was very good and interesting. At the start of the tour the guide gave a speech about how all the natural habitat is disappearing and that Kruger National Park is far too small for what the animals need to migrate. The guide went onto to talk about how man has polluted rivers, hunted animals to the brink of extinction, and destroyed their habitat. This did put me off going into Kruger as well as seeing the animals I wanted to see at the re-hab centre and not being able to afford entrance fees.

Monday 28th September

Late morning we headed over to the reptile park which was very good! We saw lots of snakes, crocodiles, turtles etc, and had a lot of talks about different types of snake and what to do if you’re bitten etc.

After this, me and Colin were in desperate need of an ATM and the closest one was 15Km away, and that been stolen – literally, the robbers blew it out with dynamite! So still very low on cash.

In the afternoon we went to ‘Forever Resorts’ to camp there for the night. We stood out big time! I probably being the poorest person their, all the other campers were rich Afrikaners with their big tents, and generators, while we had a 3man tent between 5of us! In the evening we went for a buffet which fortunately takes card. At the resort they had many activities to do such as 3swimming pools, one being heated, mini-golf, trampolines, paint balling, and family activities in the evening.

I decided to sleep outside as there wasn’t much room and it was pleasant weather. Slowly the weather worsened, was becoming cloudy, and very windy. The wind was making beautiful sounds down the valley brushing past the trees. Eventually it got to windy so I slept in the car which wasn’t very comfy!

Tuesday 29th September

We woke at 4pm as the others wanted to go to Kruger National Park early and to book accommodation for 3nights. They dropped me off at the backpackers where I slept in the kitchen till I cook check in. I got my room in the chalets and went straight to sleep! It was a lazy day, most of the time I was sleeping and read my book. I took a walk over to my local shop and café which is about 6km south. I brought some beans, bread and canned meatballs which tasted foul. After getting back I went to sleep again, read my book, had dinner of bread and beans, and didn’t wake up till the morning.


Saturday, 24 October 2009

Saturday 19th September - Thursday 24th September

Saturday 19th September

I have also noticed people are discriminating because they think because they are white they will get mugged/stabbed etc. Or if they get a mini-bus taxi they will be beaten up or even killed. However, I have not had any trouble with them…yet. I have found the whole social side to South Africa so far very interesting even though I’v only been here for 3weeks. I have the rest of the year to decide my social idea of the country.

Wednesday 23rd April

1st day of our holiday! We set of for Sabie which took about 4hours with photo stops along the way. For the first 30minutes it was a desert color, the grass was dry, sandy etc. And the next moment the environment and suddenly changed to lush green grass, trees, valleys and mountains. We drove through the magnificent mountain range and impressive forests. They mountains and the lush green forests went for as far as the eye could see. It was very beautiful!

Once we arrived we drove over to the three waterfalls – horseshoe, Lone Creek and Bridal Vail. Photos have been taken. The waterfalls were absolutely beautiful however we had to pay R10 (90P) entrance fee. In Sabie, we stayed at the backpackers called BillyBongos. At BillyBongos the owner had his own pet crocodile in the garden! I was also told of riots happening in the centre of Sabie where a security guard was killed by rioters from the townships complaining about services. The day before we arrived apparently there was a march of black demonstrators in their hundreds marching past the hostel. Also the rioters blocked off the Hazyview entrance to Kruger National Park with glass and burning tires.

Thursday 24th September

In the morning we went to MacMac pool which is a natural made pool. The weather was very hot and sunny. Many people there were having braais with their family and friends, and it was a very nice atmosphere. We just had an apple and an orange to eat. The water was very cold so no-one swam, so we decided to go in. After spending a few hours there we traveled over to the Pinnacle which is a giant rock standing up tall in the middle of the valley. Photos have been taken. The views were very impressive!

After the Pinnacle we traveled to ‘God’s Window’ which had even more impressive views up the side of a mountain. Although it was a bit cloudy at the top we could see for miles in a 360degrees view. There was a high density of trees all over the valleys with random patches of open land.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Blogspot on my phone

I have just found that i can access blogspot on my phone and will be able to do updates from here. However it will not pick up on mistakes. It is much cheaper to use internet on my phone that to go to an internet cafe!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Friday 18th September

Friday 18th September

Final day of school before the 2 week holiday. Most of the day the kids were playing and not doing much, as well as free ice-cream was being given out. After work, some of the teachers plus us went to the bar for a drink where we saw a completely different side to the teachers. At school they would act professional and the moment they’re out they are ‘more relaxed’ about what they say.

At their flat I had my 2nd dinner which is becoming more common now to eat at theirs, which was Wors (sausage) and pap. My day of food usually consists of cereal for breakfast, pap and vleis for lunch at work, dinner in the hostels and most nights have some very good food at Bonay’s flat. I never go hungry!

In the evening Colin + Tom from Potolkwa (something like that) came down to stay the night. We all went down to Bonay’s flat for a few drinks (and didn’t get drunk), her brother also had some friends round. By the time we went to bed it was 2am the next morning.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Sunday 13th September - Wednesday 16th September

Sunday 13th September

Today we went swimming at the PEMPS pool at 11am which was good fun. Went with the hostel kids and had to act as a life guard as the teacher didn’t have a clue on how to save someone which is understandable. Fortunately no-one drowned.

After lunch I took the kids to go play football, cricket and basketball. Even the girls joined in for the first time because I’m a guy from England. By the time the kids ran out on energy it was dinner time.

Monday 14th September

Today I was working with the small disabled kids. I am starting to feel that I cannot be creative with them because they are either to disabled or because of the system in place. Hopefully I will be able to do arts, craft and sports with the hostel kids at the weekends and during the holiday.

After work I caught the mini-bus taxi back to the hostel which was good fun. Although they speed like crazy down the less busy roads. All the white people I have spoken to say never to catch the taxis because the taxis are very dangerous; however in Jo’berg and Pretoria many of the white folks get the taxis. I think it is do with race problem. The teachers were advising against it, and exclaiming they weren’t being racist over catching a taxi, bit odd hey?

I am currently in search of buying malaria tablets without prescription. Need to go find a chemist now, bye bye.

Tuesday 15th September

Today at the enrichment centre as the main activity I helped the kids to cook keish which turned out very nice. The rest of the school day went as normal. Starting with maths/literacy, going on to saying good morning and talking about the weather, then the main activity of the day, break time and ending with playtime.

In the evening we were told to help out at the school play backstage and look after the kids until their parents picked them up. The aftercare part was very hectic as the kids had been eating a lot of sweets so they were 'bouncing of the walls’. Keeping them in one room was impossible so I just let tire themselves out running around the field. After a couple hours most of them ran out of energy.

Wednesday 16th September

After work we organised a meeting with a guy named Tiaan Nel who got in contact with the interviewers daughters friends friend. He has offered to take us around and has contacts in many useful places. When we met him he took us to the pharmacy where he new a guy and managed to get us malaria tablets without prescription. He then took us down to the café ‘mug and bean’ where he introduced us to his friends. He and most of his friends are solicitors or training to be. After having a very nice iced coffee with cream he took us back home and asked us to come for a braai on Saturday.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Friday 11th - Saturday 12th September

Friday 11th September

Day before weekend! I was at the guys flat last night and they invited me to a 6pm - 6am walk for cancer. Fortunately I had the afternoon off which gave me a chance to get ready. I had a good time, met lots of new people and the food was very good. We walked around the school field which was marked out by paper bags filled with sand and a candle to show respect for those who died or suffer from cancer. Altogether it close to a thousand people had turned up . Towards 2am the temperature dropped significantly.

At 4am when I woke we all took a candle each and the power was turned off. The scene was spectacular! All you could see was the flickering glow of the candles. Its hard to explain the atmosphere at the time but you really felt you part of something.

Saturday 12th September

I arrived home at 6:30am with very little sleep and we straight to bed. At 10am I was woken up by Tom and Colin taking pictures of me. Tom and Colin are also PT volunteers based an hour’s drive away. When I eventually got myself ready we started to plan our holiday to Kruger National Park and the surround townships.

We then walked to Savannah so the guys could use the internet. From here we caught the taxi over to the airport to hire a car for our holiday. Its costing us nearly R1000 each for 10days. This is about 10pounds each.

Now I have a better idea of the way round Polokwane I can describe to you what there is around here and where things are situated. Starting with PEMPS hostel, which is situated between two one-way roads. The safest route to Savannah is heading against the traffic for 6blocks (about 30mins walk). Savannah is a expensive shopping mall but have very cheap internet and cinema plus books shops, cafes, supermarkets, phone shops and amusements.

The safest way iv been told to get into town is walking the opposite way to Savannah. So to get into towns have to turn left out the hostel and down three blocks. In town there is everything we need, nandos, clothes shops, video shops, butchers etc.

To get to PEMPS swimming pool we have to turn right and right again then go up one block then one block to the right. I will be adventuring around more and will try and keep you up to date with what I find.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Sunday 6th - 10th September

Sunday 6th September

Today was a chilled day. In the morning I woke up at 7am to watch a and eat breakfast while the girls were still asleep.
After breakfast I started to clean the kitchen which was disgusting!!!! The bench and draw handles were all dirty. After giving them a wipe down the cloth was black with dirt!

After showering I took the computer down to see if Rogan could connect the computer with his so I could put my blog on an usb stick but unfortunately that did not work. We can only use floppy disks that a lot of places do not use anymore. Hopefully work use floppy disks.

Most of today I have spent downstairs in the guys flat while the girls relaxed up here. In the afternoon I helped the girls to finish cleaning. Now it’s a considerable amount cleaner than before.


Monday 7th September

This week I will be working with Lesedi. Today was just a normal day, however at 10am Vanessa Haywood who plays the main role in District 9 which is a South African made film that has gone world wide. She came to see Lesedi because they are friends. She has been to the Mitchell House Enrichment Centre when it first opened a few years back. For the rest day of the day it was back to normal.

Tuesday 8th September

In the morning there was a reporter from the local newspaper came to take pictures and interview us. We will hopefully be getting it in the next few days.

Thursday 10th September

In the morning there was no electricity in the black due to an apparent car crash making things feel interesting and back to basic as we had to do everything in the dark because the sun had not risen.

Work was good fun as the kids were more cheerful and full of giggles from the LO (Life Orientation) lesson. The topic we covered today was about telling your parents about boy/girlfriends. The teacher made me put my views forward, which the kids found strange but amusing.

Once school finished at 1:30pm it was my turn for aftercare (looking after the kids until their parents picked them up). By the time I got it was about 5:30 which is much later than normal. I ran into the kitchen to ask the awesome chef whether I could have my dinner in my flat, I then went to pick up my new Samsung phone + sim which I brought on Wednesday. However, the network was down so I had not registered my phone. I got down to Rogan’s flat and dragged him out to come with me. We ran 4 blocks to the shop with 5mins to spare.

In the evening the girls went to see the play Joseph. I spent the evening writing up my blog and down at the guys flat. When the girls returned we watched the new Star Trek film on dvd.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

28th of August - 8th of September

Note this blog is either written on the day or the day after so tenses may change

28th of August 2009

On the 28th of August 2009 my fellow comrades and I caught the 9:15 plane from Gatwick airport. This being the start of an adventure of a life time!

The flight to Dubai being the first half of the journey took 6hours 55minutes with about 50 project trust volunteers. Some were going to Thailand, Botswana, South Africa, and south American countries.

When we arrived it was 7am local time and already it was 32 degrees. The moment you walked of the plane we could feel the sheer heat in the Middle East. However, the airport was very cold, even though it was in Dubai!

After arriving in Dubai we had a three and a half-hours wait until the next flight to South Africa. While wandering around the massive airport, which compared to the London ports makes them tiny! On the other side of the port we came across a McDonalds which didn’t take much different from a western McDonalds.

29th August 2009

Today we caught the plane to Jo’berg and arrived at the airport about 3pm. We met our representative and continued to the hostel by taxi. When staying in the hostel I got talking to a guy who came from Woodbridge (the town I live in). Most other PT (Project Trust) people didn’t seem too interested. However, me and Danny (the other guy from Woodbridge) thought it was surprising.

30th August 2009

Today we all took a taxi tour to Soweto where the black students up-rise against the government and the educational system, which led to the first shooting of a child in a miss fire by the police. Along the journey we through the ‘rich’ area and past Nelson Mandela’s former house and Desmond Tutu. Only a few hundred meters down the road we came to the poverty stricken areas, where there were dirt roads and huts made from corrugated iron.

We continued onto the Soweto museum, which was very interesting, and also met Mandela’s photographer and the taxi driver was very knowledgeable about the subject of the apartheid.

When we returned we had out and currently chilling out by the pool in the winter heat writing my blog.

31st August 2009

In the morning we left Jo’berg to catch the bus my two partners and two other PT volunteers to Polokwane. What was meant to be a 3hour journey ended up taking 6hours.

When we arrived in Polokwane we met our host called Sue who took us to our flat. The flat consists of my bedroom in the back and very small, there are two beds in the room as there is a fourth volunteer coming out in January. There is a lounge which I set up so I we can now watch tv, dvd’s, listen to music and a computer running Windows 95 with no internet but will be useful for writing up my blog. There is also the girl’s room that is massive but they need to share rooms, a kitchen, toilet (which didn’t work at the start), bath and shower. Our host went through the entire do’s and don’t such as don’t get drunk.

When she left we rearranged the flat, I threw my clothes onto the next bed as the shelf is very dusty. We don’t have any cleaning equipment yet so everything is dirty and dusty. The girls went and organized their room and put up pictures.

Because we are living in a hostel food is provided for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, breakfast is to late in the morning to eat as we have to leave for work at 6:45am but we have been given some cereal. Dinner is at 5:40pm, which is very early for what I am, use too but the food is very filling!

In the evening we chilled out in the flat; the girls went to finish putting up their pictures and I went to watch ‘This Is England’ as all the other films are girly.

Not long after the film finished I went to bed as we had to be up at 5:45am!! I need to get myself ready before the girls as they take ages hogging the bathrooms.

Night night.

1st September 2009 - beginning of Spring

It is our first day at work and am looking forward to it and meeting everyone there! My job today is to look after a boy called Lesedi who is 17years old and cannot walk, talk properly, or write so I have to scribe for him. I was working along a local named Hope, who was showing me how to look after him and what to do at the Enrichment Centre.

Lesedi goes home at 1:30 so until about 5oclock I have to do after which is just looking after the kids in the primary school until they go home, and odd jobs around the place. We have a time table to follow but I haven’t learnt mine yet.

When we got back to the hostel one of the younger teachers who lives in the hostel invited us back to her flat for a beer where I met her family. She has two brothers, one recently turned 19 and the other is 21.

2nd September 2009

Today I worked with the young disabled children. In the morning we started of with them introducing themselves and we went to watch the ‘Joseph’ production which was very good. After this we returned back to the enrichment centre where they had playtime. The playground is very well designed; they have sandpits, trampolines, ‘jungle area’ small bikes and hammocks. They do have a hot tub but that wont be in use until next year.

When break ended we went to the kitchen where I helped them bake flapjacks which turned out very tasty.

On our way home from work we went to Savannah shopping centre to buy a sim card and food. Buying sim cards is the most challenging thing to do in South Africa, as you have to register them, to do this you need to take a load of documents, such as ID, passport, written document as proof of where were staying. We had none of them so we went back to the flat which is about 5 blocks away (25min walk).

September 3rd 2009 – nothing interesting happened today

September 4th 2009

Went to work and was the same as the other days. In the afternoon we got off early and went to the centre of Polokwane with the teacher living in the hostel. Town centre is only about 3blocks away (15min walk) to buy a sim card. We were told because we are not South African citizens we don’t need to register our sim cards, however, we arrived at the shop I had my ID but they wanted a written statement of where I lived. The teacher works at the hostel (which is part of the school next to it) told the woman behind the till the address and number of the hostel, but she didn’t accept it as it was not in written form. IDIOTS! So am hopefully going to be able to go buy one tomorrow.

In the evening we went to a South African nightclub – sounds dangerous but it was safe.

September 5th 2009 – Weekend! :D

Had a long lay in and watched a film. After lunch will be off to buy a phone and sim card and have been invited to Braai.

September 7th 2009

Today it was a normal day at work but had the afternoon off from 3pm. The Africans I work with took me back on a mini-bus taxi which has a very high reputation of being dangerous depending upon who you talk too. Fortunately the mini-bus taxi I was in was safe and the Africans made sure I got off at the right stop. There have been stories of when they have driven them around without a steering wheel, doors, and holes in the floor. The governments have recently but a large amount of funding into the taxis to make them safer. When I returned home I took a walk into town to by biltong (raw meat) and some clothes. In the evening I played guitar hero with the guys in the flat below.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

2days to go!

Only two days to go until the start of an amazing adventure to the Republic of South Africa where I will be teaching and working with disabled children at a centre in Polokwane (Northeast South Africa, approx 100miles south of the Zimbabwae boarder).