In July 2014 our intrepid senior and Sixth Form girls headed off South Africa to take part in a 16-day volunteering expedition with Mozvolunteers.
July 16th 2014
First day in Underburg
July 17th 2014
After a long lie in (much needed after the long drive yesterday!) we learned about what our project work would be, and were taught some basic Zulu.
We visited the school, which is called Beersheba school, in a village called Mhwaque and met some of the children. Some of us tried our hands at pumping water from the village well, it was hard work.Later, we walked to a local house, where we tried mat making, which is a traditional skill. In Zulu, this is called making a thansi.Everyone gave the children some small gifts and it was amazing to see how excited and happy they were. We’re waiting for dinner now, it’s called potjie, which is a traditional South African dish.
Play hard, work hard
July 18th 2014
We started off the morning with a game that helped us get to know the children a little better and of course, improve our Zulu. It was like a treasure hunt, and we’re now waiting for Alex to tell us the winner so we can claim our prizes!
See you tomorrow, for more updates!
July 19th 2014
This morning we woke up early to prepare for the day. After a breakfast of boiled eggs and ujeque, which is a Zulu bread, we shared some of the gifts we had brought with us with the children from Quathlamba, which is the small village closest to our accommodation.
Painting and more painting!
July 21st 2014
Today we made so much progress and finished painting the white half of the classroom, as well as most of the lower blue part of the wall.Everyone made an effort to help, and we made quick work of the walls. We can’t wait to finish off the first classroom tomorrow!
July 23rd 2014
So we have nearly finished one classroom – it looks SO much better than before! It’s amazing how much difference can be made in such a small period of time. The teachers are really pleased with the outcome too! We’re sure you’ll agree, it’s looking great!
We have started the second classroom that we are hoping we will be able to complete, and are half way through painting the walls.In the afternoon, we were invited by the headmaster to talk a little bit about ourselves and show the children at the school some of the pictures of things associated with home that we had brought with us. This was great, and the children and staff all thought it was really interesting.
Into the heart of the Drakensberg Mountains
July 24th 2014
Today we had a rest from painting the classrooms and playing with the children and set off into the Drakensberg Mountains to hike to see some bushman paintings and the amazing scenery.After a quick stop at Spar to stock up on some snacks we headed into the mountains and began our climb.We stopped for lunch by some natural springs and pools, and refilled our water bottles. What a great day, with great views. Now off to bed!
Finishing off and mural painting
July 25th 2014
Today flew past! We finished off the second classroom and neatened up the edges in the first classroom and they are looking great!Libby and Shannon started off the work on the mural, which is the school’s logo, this will be finished off tomorrow, but is looking great already.The day was finished off with a meal at a local homestead, where we were invited to enjoy traditional food and had the opportunity to ask any questions about Zulu culture.
Last day at school and all goodbyes
July 26th 2014
Today was our last day with the children helping at Beersheba school. We completed the school mural on the wall, which you can now see for miles around – it looks amazing! We also gave the children the opportunity to create some artwork using all kinds of inks and crayons and glitter that we brought with us from England, they had such a great time and Erica was fabulous at showing them what to do.We said goodbye to the children and the school, and took some last pictures of the work that we have achieved over the last 10 days.The finished classrooms look great too!We finished off the day with a traditional South African braai, as a celebration for Christmas in July.
We’re now looking forward to visiting the children at the Clouds of Hope Orphanage, tomorrow and an early dinner at a restaurant in Underberg village, before we head up the coast for our game drive and other, animal-spotting activities!
We’ll keep you posted!
Goodbye Underberg, hello St Lucia
July 27th 2014
Yesterday we visited the Clouds of Hope Orphanage, and had some time to spend playing with the children. Some of us managed to find pen pals and are looking forward to keeping in touch with the children.
Unfortunately we can’t put photographs of the children on social media sites, due to child protection regulations, but here’s a lovely one of the colourful sign wall.We spent the rest of the day looking round Underberg and enjoying pizza at The Grind Cafe, a local Italian restaurant.This morning we left early and we have now arrived safely at St Lucia. This evening we are going hippo and crocodile spotting on the lake and for a night time safari. We’ll update you more tomorrow!!
St Lucia adventures
July 29th 2014
Since arriving in St Lucia, we have had our fill of animal adventures. When we arrived, we went on a two hour sunset boat cruise, and saw many beautiful birds, hippos and crocodiles.
It was all go, as later that evening we also went on a night safari to see the nocturnal animals. We returned back to town late, around 11 pm, and then had a short night’s sleep before heading out for our full day safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi park, where we saw a proportion of the Big 5.We had a delicious dinner at Ocean Basket, and are now excited for our morning of shopping and sunbathing tomorrow before we head to Durban for the last leg of our trip.
July 30th 2014
So we arrived safely in Durban and enjoyed an African themed dinner at Moyo restaurant that was right on the pier, adjacent to the beach. Today, we have been looking round that uShaka marine world, which is Southern Africa’s largest aquarium, and learned about the underwater world of the Indian Ocean.
Last day in South Africa
July 31st 2014
Today is our last day in South Africa, and we are going to be enjoying Durban, and making the most of our final day. We have had great fun in Durban, which is the largest Indian community outside of India, and have enjoyed being lovely and warm by the Indian Ocean.