Another busy, tiring and sweaty week in Venda!
Monday 18th July - HAPPY NELSON MANDELA DAY! The big guy turned 93 today, a great day to be in South Africa! Today we stayed at Vhutshilo to talk with Suzi, the founder of the school about how she would like us to help her. She’s asked us to help out in a variety of ways! Firstly, we are helping out the ARV workshop group, which is a group of around 14 HIV positive young people who are all on ARV medication. As mentioned in a previous blog, they are going to be putting on a play at the local HIV clinic. Suzi also would like us to teach computer literacy to the children, and also to a local women’s support group. In addition to this, we are going to be helping out with Vhutshilo’s income generated projects which we will have more info about soon! After the meeting, we met all the kids at the school for the first time and spent all afternoon playing! We met another 2 volunteers today, Nancy and Tricia from the US. Nancy runs the great Hope For Limpopo website and has known suzi for many years. They gave us lots of great advice and help with lesson plans!
Tuesday 19th July - FIRST DAY OF TEACHING AT JUMBO. Tough day... All of us are shattered after our full first day teaching! The first day is always hard though when you’re trying to gauge the level of English in the class. And you’re also trying to work out what they know and what they don’t know about their other subjects like maths. Resounding sense of trepidation in the camp tonight, about the week ahead.
Wednesday 20th July - The original plan for today was to teach at Jumbo School until 12, then visit a Resource Centre with our NGO this afternoon, however the Caregivers at the resource centre were at training so we had the afternoon off! The teaching this morning went better than yesterday as the volunteers began to adapt to the situation. In the afternoon we just got the shopping then chilled out! I thought the volunteers deserved it after being dropped in at the deep end at Jumbo!
Thursday 21st July - VENDA TOUR DAY. Every year our favourite tour guide, Mr Fobbe takes us on two trips, a day trip around the historical sites of Venda, and a weekend in Kruger Park. Today we decided to do the Venda tour, as it’s one of the few days Fobbe was free, and we’re working on a Saturday this week so could take today off. It was a great day!! First stop was the Vondo Dam Viewpoint, up in the hills. Beautiful views of Venda and Mr Fobbe told us all about the political history of Venda, its place in apartheid and so on. Next stop was Lake Fundudzi, where we had to greet the lake the traditional way by turning our back to it, then looking at it through our legs! This is because in the olden days people only wore flaps of fabric on their lower halves, so the motion of swinging your head between your legs would lift the back flap up, exposing your bottom to the god of the lake, and making yourself vulnerable, as a sign of respect towards the god of the lake (who is a half man half snake by the way). Next on the tour was the Thathe sacred forest, which is home to a white lion god, and is the path by which the dead bodies of the kings are carried through before burial. Last stop was the potholes, a very nice setting for our braii lunch. We headed down to the water while Fobbe cooked up a wonderful meal! a few of us braved the FREEZING cold water for a swim, but most were content just dipping out feet in!! After lunch we listened to Fobbe impart more of his endless wisdom(what a guy) then headed home.
Friday 22nd July - Unfortunately I took ill today so spent the day in my bed, but the volunteers all headed off to Jumbo for a day of teaching and activities! They are all getting into the swing of things with the teaching, and the kids all love them!
Saturday 23rd July - Wee lie in today! Then the ARV workshop kids arrived and we got started painting the backdrops for their play! we split into three groups for 3 backdrops, the house, the traditional healers house, and the hospital. The kids designed what they wanted to paint and set to it! We were so impressed! they came up ideas that we never would have thought of. We headed into the classrooms to paint, with lots of music blaring, it was a really fun morning!! Such a great bunch of kids. We then got given a massive lunch by the ladies at the school of rice, chicken, beetroot, butternut squash and coleslaw. Big yum. We had the afternoon off to clean up and catch some sun!
Sunday 24th July - sunshine! We all read our books, wrote our diaries and listened to music all day!
It’s been a great week!
Non- project stuff.
· We’ve started racking up a fair few films watched with our movie nights. So far we highly recommend Precious, American History X and of course, Mean Girls.
· Sam and Rebecca have developed an unhealthy addiction to the soft drink TAB.
· We’re all getting really good at the accent out here- top of the impressionists is Hannah by far.
· We’ve discovered that no fast food restaurant in Thohoyandou will deliver out to our accommodation.
· We finally found something that almost resembles jam and we are single handedly doing great things for the peanut butter industry in South Africa.
· Mosquito nets are a pain in the bum.
· Katie should have her own tv show- “Katie says the funniest things”
· I bought an “original venda hustler” tshirt on Wednesday-best 130 Rand i’ve ever spent.
That’s all for now!