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.
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.