2nd Update 8 weeks expedition South Africa 2022 Thank you for checking out our blog of our trip to South Africa. If you read the previous blog, welcome back and if you didn’t be sure to check that one out first. Then you can follow our hole story from start to finish.
In week 2 we were kind of getting in a routine with the work we were doing. Quinn worked mostly on our garden project, getting our ideas on paper, getting the details about what and how much materials we need and getting an overview of the land we can use. We got a friend of Barrie and Jacque to assist us with an aerial picture, made by his drone. That really helped us because with that we can get a clear view of what comes where and we can make a 3D map on top of the pictures. Tijn and Declan also helped Quinn sometimes with the thinking and getting the details right.
Tijn and Declan worked with the maintenance team when they weren’t helping Quinn with the garden project. They removed an overhead metal structure, because it was in the way of the garden project we are running. They had to dig a 40cm hole around a concrete block that was at the bottom of the metal structure (the concrete was there to keep it from falling over). That wasn’t an easy task because the ground was hard as a rock. So they had to use a pickaxe to loosen the ground, so they could shovel tke the ground away. They also helped with removing the big concrete blocks with a sludge hammer and bringing the metal structure and roofing to the other side of the village, where there is a storage for these kinds of materials. Because they can use them for something else in the future.
Willemijn spend most of her time in the preschool again this week. She has the kids from the age of 2 until the age of 3. She also had an event for all the grandparents in the area, it is called grandparents day. But you’ll hear more about this at the end of this blog, because Willemijn will share her experiences from this week.
In the weekend we went out with just the 4 of us to a nice restaurant called Social on main. It’s a nice-looking restaurant with young audience and it is really affordable. We enjoyed it a lot and the food and drinks were amazing. The next day we went out Chameleon village, which is a nice place with an African market and some nice restaurants. You can also go-kart and swim there, but we just walked around and bought matching necklaces.
Week 2, for me this was a week of reflection. I’m starting to get used to the first impressions. I started thinking about certain questions. Why am I really here? Do I like volunteer work? Do I miss friends and family? Do I get energy from the people around me? How am I doing, am I happy?
Most answers were positive. It helps that my roommates Shell and Steffie have welcomed me warmly and that I get on well with Declan, Tijn and Quinn. Nice bonds are also starting to grow with the teachers and I enjoy the children at the preschool. Still, preschool is a place I sometimes dreaded spending from 7:30am to 3pm. Mainly because I was mentally challenged little. The tasks such as feeding, cleaning their faces, straightening tables and chairs and so on, did not challenge me and that is precisely why it sucked my energy. I noticed that I was not happy with what I did, but with who I did it. This made it difficult at times when I realized it was only week two. I started looking for solutions. Where can I apply my knowledge and skills? I realized that the simple knowledge can be important in a preschool like this. I told the preschool how to make all colors with blue, yellow and red paint. In the short term this had a nice effect on the art the children made and in the long term this will have a positive effect on the school’s expenses. Ideas that I received in the past, such as printing leaves in paint with a tree and then printing it on paper, impressed the teachers and kids. We did this in the African colors, it looked cool!
Last week we had grandparents day at preschool. Tijn and I baked a cake. At every event we make sure that there is more than enough to eat. And we had! At least that’s what I thought. The grandpas and grandmas ate a lot and took food home, which is a custom here. Within half an hour the whole table was filled with food and almost empty.
When asked how much someone had to pay if she wanted a homemade cake like this for her son, I realized that I couldn’t just say “For your son’s birthday I’ll bake it for free!!”. If you say that to one, you’ll have a whole row with the same question before you know it. That is why Tijn and I charge the price of the purchase, even if you prefer to give it for free. Unless not requested. For example, we already baked cakes for Patience (teacher) and Mesi (teenager at LIV village), because it was their birthday. I’m starting to find it easier to decline certain questions, such as the free cakes. In the Netherlands I sometimes have trouble with this. One of the first days a teacher asked if I could buy some chocolate so she could eat it on the way home. I didn’t dare to say no because I was not used to such a direct question. So the next day she did indeed walk home with my chocolate bar. Although I totally agree with her, she has to walk home for 45 minutes every day. From that moment on she kept asking every time and I learned to say “no”. When a teacher asked: “Can you give your shoes to me so I can remember you when your back in the Netherlands?” I replied laughing: “no, I’m sorry, you must do it with the good memories we have together 😉 ”.
Okay enough about preschool for now. I continue on the great weekend. We had been to Social on main. As Declan mentioned, the food was very tasty and also affordable. For Tijn, the bill was a bit disappointing, he had now tasted every cocktail on the menu. It made for nice conversations in the uber.
The next day we went to Chameleon village. Not a convenient place to take me. Quickly view all markets, once food is ordered, quickly view all markets and when it is time to go, just to be sure, quickly view all markets. The word “fast” no longer has any value for the boys either. They even came up with the idea that I should sign a contract that says “own responsibility if I get kidnapped, if I run away without saying again or run into a store”. Okay but long story short; I enjoyed myself here and the boys had a good meal, which means that they also enjoyed themselves. And believe it or not, I got them on the chains from the market. Which they wear every day.