Thank you for checking out our blog! This is a blog about our two month trip to South Africa and we are Willemijn (18 years old), Tijn (19 years old), Quinn (20 years old) and Declan (24 years old). Declan is the group’s facilitator.
All 4 of us were ready to go on Friday, October 14, 2022, but our flight was rescheduled 2 times by KLM unfortunately. After the second time, we decided to cancel the flight ourselves and booked a flight via Brussels.
So now almost a week later we all leave for Brussels by train. Everything went smoothly, it only was a long journey. We left home about 1:00 PM and arrived at our destination in Johannesburg South Africa at 10:00 AM the next day.
After doing some shopping that day, we recovered from the long journey and unpacked our suitcases. The next day we had an appointment with Barrie and Jacque, the supervisors and managers from South Africa. We had discussed how everything will go for the next 8 weeks and what we want to get out of our trip.
In the weekend we went to the Sterkfontein Caves close to where we are staying. These are caves created by nature itself, but also exploded by humans to extract raw materials and minerals from the caves. We have also been invited by other volunteers to go out for dinner to get to know them.
We have also oriented our accommodation well and got to know all the people here. We stay here in LIV village for orphans, who got a new family here. There is also a crèche and a baby home on our site, where children also come from a slum. The slum is not far from here and LIV supports this slum called Joslovo. LIV is a non-profit organization mainly focused on helping children. There is also a large garden on the property from which a lot of fruit and vegetables are obtained, which is also used to support the people in the area.
We are therefore here to help LIV and to volunteer. You can work in the garden, the crèche, maintenance team and in the office (administration).
After the weekend it was time to get to work on Monday. We immediately started our joint project. This project is inventing and making a meditation garden. We were immediately taken to a dream location where we could get inspiration from. Immediately our creativity started to work and the ideas started to come. When we came back from the dream location we immediately started our plan.
Willemijn has been in the crèche almost every day since Monday to help. In addition to working on the plan for the garden, Tijn and Declan also helped with the maintenance team. Among other things, they have a large place where all loose dead bamboo has been removed and given to people in the area who could use it. Quinn has only been concerned with the plan for the meditation garden.
Quinn’s experience this week
On Monday, the site-manager of LIV, Dan, took us on a small tour around the area. First, we started off with a place called Casa Linga. It’s a gorgeous place that doubles as both a garden and a wedding venue. It’s very spacious, and vibrant of countless colors. Think flowers, statues, trees, and all kinds of other decorations. We absorbed everything we saw, and boomed with inspiration for the meditation garden. Personally, it felt really good, feeling my brain do some work while brainstorming. After grabbing some ice-coffee, we got up and took a drive around the area, where Dan told us a lot about the country, similar gardens, and other places of interest. I found it pretty pleasant and relaxing. We were told there would be a variation of wildlife, but unfortunately, we didn’t get to see too much. We got back and took a look around our garden, and started planning.
We had a LOT of ideas, but realized that, unfortunately, we would have to stay for a couple more years to finish all of it, which felt really unfortunate, but I don’t think I have that time at my disposal. So we started thinking a little smaller, and focusing on one smaller part of the garden, in which we felt would have the most impact. We chose to choose this part (picture). Because it already looked nice, but was also easiest to access.
The biggest requirements were:
- Build a peaceful place to sit down and get some rest
- Increase the crop yield by 300%
So we started brainstorming, and I made some pictures around the place, and wrote down what we wanted to do with it. But then I was thinking, that it might be good to take some pictures from above. So we asked around, and turns out, we found someone that had a drone. We had to wait a while before we could actually do it, unfortunately. But it was the start of a great project, and something I was very looking forward to.