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 cafĂ© ‘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.