3rd Update 8 weeks expedition Young Leaders South Africa 2022

Awesome that you are reading our next week blog! If you didn’t check out our previous blogs of our South Africa trip, please do that first. Then you have our whole story and some things make a lot more sense if you read all the blogs in chronological order. 

The beginning of week 3 started with a tough task for Tijn and Declan. They were helping the preschool with their garden in front. It was just an open space with rocks around it at first, but Tijn and Declan turned it into an amazing looking garden with beautiful plants and pebbles. There are 5 sections with plants and those sections are surrounded by beautiful red colored pebbles. A big middle section is surrounded by big rocks and in that section the words “Jesus at the center” is written with all different colorful pebbles. And all the dead space is filled up with white and gray pebbles. Getting all the pebbles from one place to the garden was the hardest part of the job. But we got it done and it looks great and the principal of the preschool agrees with us.

Quinn worked in the office again on our project and on his business. He has his own business he is still running from here in South Africa. So he was working a lot with his computer. Willemijn made all her hours again working in the preschool. 

We thought we can also share are ‘normal’ activities during the week. For example, every week on Wednesday a bus from LIV is going to a mall. This is for all of us to do our groceries (all volunteers, not just us 4). We have a schedule of who does the dishes, one is doing the dishes each day. And almost every day we all help with cooking, but Tijn and Declan cook the most. 

On Friday we had a big event with everyone at LIV Village. We all got together in the big hall we have on the premises. All the kids, parents, teachers, people that work for LIV and all the volunteers were there. We were split in 5 teams and we competed in fun games against each other. We also danced together, ate together and painted each other’s faces. And last but not least we had a jelly fight with everyone outside.    

On Saturday we went out to a botanical garden near us, with a beautiful waterfall. We walked around for a bit and afterwards we went out to the gym nearby. The next day we went out to the botanical garden again, but this time we went with Jacque and Russel. Jacque also had his kids with him, Amelia and Joshua. This time we went up the mountain next to the waterfall and we even went off the hiking path. We jumped across a river and went up the mountain to get an amazing view. 

Declan’s experience

I realized I’m starting to get into a routine during this week. Waking up early, doing volunteer work, eating lunch, cooking, eating, sometimes going to the gym, doing fun excursions during the weekend, etc. And I realize I’m really enjoying all of it, especially seeing Willemijn, Tijn and Quinn having fun and working hard.   

The first day me and Tijn started on the garden in front of the preschool it rained a lot. So it wasn’t that pleasant at first, but we just did it and in the end it wasn’t that bad. We got our job done for the day and we were proud of ourselves and each other. The next days we went out and finished it. It was heavy labor we had to endure, but the result was worth all the effort. It turned out to be a beautiful garden and the principal was very happy. 

I’m very happy that we can go to the gym, it really makes me feel better (physically and mentally). I usually take around 2 hours in the gym and the others are waiting for me to finish. So when I’m done, they are a little bit annoyed most of the time. I’m grateful for their patience because I really enjoy the long gym sessions.

What I also enjoy is cooking, so I gladly volunteer to cook most of the times (if I’m not too tired). Tijn has the same, so we cook the most of us 4 (but the others always help a little bit).   

The big event on Friday was Awesome! I really liked how lively it was, everyone seemed happy and we all were competing in the challenges with full conviction. I also enjoyed seeing everyone dance together. After we ate some food and got goody bags, we started the jelly fight outside. I really saw all the kids get competitive and a lot of passion in their eyes. I enjoyed being a part of this amazing event and in my eyes it brought all of us closer together. I also got to know, some people I didn’t really speak to before, a lot better. 

Our first visit to the botanical garden was already amazing, but the next day with Jacque, his kids and Russel was even better. With Jacque, his kids and Russel was on a Sunday, so we first went to Church from 9 until 12. After that we went out to a grocery store and bought food and drinks to have a picknick together. Then we made our way to the botanical garden and picked a nice spot in the park just before the waterfall. We ate some of our food, drank some water and played soccer with the kids. After that we went out on a hike and like said before, we went of the hiking path to see if we could clime a mountain. And we did, we went all the way up. I really enjoyed that, because I’m adventurous, I like to go to places where there is a nice view and getting there is not an easy task. We also saw a scorpion, porcupine coil, big ant nests and a lot more interesting insect (some way bigger than others). Overall an awesome day with awesome people!

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    Lisa Pedersen


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