A Travellerspoint blog

Where has this month gone!?

The first thing I have to say on this blog is that my host brothers name isn't Joseph but is actually Patrick! I have no idea where I got Joseph from. I am convinced that is what he told me but apparently not! So yeh, my host family consists of Ma, Baba, PATRICK and Onea.

I have now been in South Africa for nearly a month. Which feels very strange to write as it really doesn't feel that long and I am not sure where the weeks have gone. One thing I have learnt so far is that South Africans are very loud! Our Ma knows everyone in the village and shouts hello and has full on conversations with everyone who walks past the house, even if they are right up the street. They also love loud music. Patrick has a massive sound system in his bedroom and plays music 24/7, even when he's not at home. And the TV is always on. There is no such thing as an inside voice and as soon as one person is awake, everyone's awake.The music at church is also deafening. Piano, drums and microphones are turned up so loud you can hear the sermon from all over the village. The vibrance and energy is catching though and makes everyday exciting and interesting.

During these past two weeks we have continued to help out with the computer classes, after-school programme and Scouts. We have run sessions on culture, gender, sustainable living and the importance of water, which the children all seem to have enjoyed. The majority of the community here do not have running water so rely on the local taps for clean water. However, these only work for around 3 days a week so the families have to stock up on water and use it wisely. In a place where it has been as hot as 43 degrees, this lack of water isn't great but the local people have learnt to get by.

We have also been clearing a plot of land to create a vegetable garden for the organisation. This was very hot and hard work and involved lots of interesting looking creepy crawlies but it will help the organisation cook for the children and have an income from the vegetables they sell. After three days we cleared the land and we are now waiting for the materials to be delivered so that we can put up a fence and start planting the seeds.

Another project we will be starting next week is to create a jungle gym for the children. We have been donated the tyres for swings and decoration and are now just waiting for the proposal for the other materials (eg; poles, slide, nails, cement) to be approved so that we can start building. We will start by clearing the land next week. It will be great for the children to have something they can actually play on rather than just dirt, rocks and sticks.

When we haven't been working, Sne and I have been getting to know our host family. Onea is 12 yet she seems to do all of the work round the house and most of the cooking. In Venda, women do all the work in the house and show respect towards men and their elders. Baba works 6 days a week and gets in about 8pm. He is a very lovely man and is helping us learn Venda, but he won't ever serve his food himself, Ma or Onea will lay it out for him to have. Patrick seems to be a law unto himself, doing what he wants, whenever he wants and the house is always full of his friends. They are all very nice but very, very loud! Ma is great and is definitely a social butterfly. She knows everyone and is also a local football referee. We went to watch two local games with her the second Sunday we were here and she got very animated. She also showed me her right to use firearms certificate so I won't be messing with her!

Last Saturday we travelled for an hour to Thohoyandou where I got to eat a pizza, buy chocolate and use a flushing toilet! It was amazing! I feel that I have adjusted to life here and am really enjoying the work we are doing. But it has made me realise how truly privileged we are to lead the lives we do back in the UK. We can have clean, fresh water whenever we want it - that's pretty great.

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Posted by Ruthiebrady 13:20

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