Today I…

Past volunteers will know that myself and Alanna made a ‘Today I…’ board in the volunteer house for volunteers to write down their daily achievements. When volunteering it is so important to celebrate the small victories as well as the big ones. This is somethings I wish I had done when I first arrived in South Africa but it is never to late to start so here it goes:

5th Nov – Today I… Learned how to say ‘I Love You’ in Zulu ‘Ngiyakuthanda’.DSC05044

6th Nov – Today I… Inducted the last volunteers for the year telling them about our projects.

7th Nov – Today I…Scaled a 20ft ladder, locked the keys in the car, jump-started the car, made bread rolls with Nonhlanhla and had five new friends join me on a run to the estuary.

8th Nov – Today I…Spent my first morning in Khula Clinic with volunteer Niels.

DSC056549th Nov – Today I…Ate magnum ice-creams in the car with Nonhlanhla and met the most beautiful girl called Lungelo who I read with at DSC05162Reading Club.

10th Nov – Today I…Went on a game drive in Hluhlwe Umfolozi and saw wild dog, hyena, rhino, buffalo, elephant and giraffe. After I watched Ireland Vs South Africa with volunteers and friends at Reef & Dune.

11th Nov – Today I…Kissed a Rhino.

12th Nov – TodDSC05192ay I…Spent my afternoon at Ezwenelisha Afterschool Club drawing and dancing with the children.P1080379

13th Nov – Today I…Spent my graduation day at the doctor/police station in Mtubatuba but celebrated with friends and drinks at Reef & Dune. Thank you little one for making my hat and scroll.

14th Nov – Today I…Celebrated World Diabetes Day 2012 with volunteers giving an informative speech at Khula Clinic on the condition followed by Ezwenelisha Support Group at yoga instructor David’s house.

15th Nov – Today I…Went on a hippo hunt.

16th Nov – Today I…Was in toucIMG_1397hing distance of a pride of lions.

17th Nov – Today I…Spent the evening at Boys Club.

18th Nov – Today I…Saw my first black rhino driving through iSimangaliso Wetland Park on our way to spend the day on the beach and braai-ed at Cape Vidal.

19th Nov – Today I…Went to Ezwenelisha Afterschool Club and read some very moving poetry.

20th Nov – Today I…Spent the morning with Zakhele and we completed church painting.547029_10151315821781047_903172130_n

21st Nov – Today I…Weeded AMREF Garden with volunteer Gabby.

22nd Nov – Today I…Went to Miriam’s THAF Quiz Night and our ‘I Quized a Girl and I Liked it’ team won first prize thanks to our knowledge of Santa’s nine reindeer.

23rd Nov – Today I…visited Big Mama, Becky Zulu and Skinny Lady on Home-Based Care.

24th Nov – Today I…Went for a 7am run to the beach with volunteer Jenni here we saw hippos as we walked along the board walk.

25th Nov – Today I…Got charged 35R Corkage fee for eating ice-creams in Reef & Dune after one of the most hilarious lunches with Alanna and Miriam.

26th Nov – Today I…Ate pineapple from a bag while waiting at a road block in Mtuba. This was followed by me steering/doing thDSC05483e peddles while Miriam changed gears.

27th Nov – Today I…Got told by the Induna of Khula Village that he loved me.

28th Nov – Today I…Kept the children outside Malibongwe Creche entertained while volunteers taught HIV Education inside the creche.

29th Nov – Today I…Had a great afternoon on Garbage Pick – Up in Khula.IMG_6195 (2)

30th Nov – Today I…Celebrated World AIDS Day at Khula Clinic.

1st Dec –  Today I…Went shopping in Mtuba with Alanna without Nonhalnhla and on the 1st of the month.

2nd Dec – Today I…Hurt someone that I really care about and hope that they will forgive me.

3rd Dec – Today I…Did face painting at Snenhlahla IMG_2319Creche. There were lots of Spider Men and butterflies running through Khula when we were finished!

4th Dec – Today I…Received an advent calender in the post from my mum and the most amazing Christmas parcel from the EJ Babes.DSC05636

5th Dec – Today I…Built a garden for Cute Baby Mama and planted beans and peanuts.

6th Dec – Today I…Went on my last Garbage Pick-Up.

7th Dec – Today I…Had my last afternoon on project. It was an amazing afternoon at Reading Club and DSC05663of course ended with a dance.

8th Dec – Today I…Had a Christmas Party in Papaya with friends from St Lucia.

9th Dec – Today I…Cuddled with little one, Alanna and Sofie. Lots of spooning with Alanna.

10th Dec – Drove our last volunteers of 2012 to the airport.DSC05784

11th Dec – Today I…Sat at the kids table and played ‘I Spy’ with the little one, Shwele, Nonhlanhla and Zakhele at the Induna’s Braai.

12th Dec – Today I…Said goodbye to my good friend Alanna and packed up my room.

13th Dec – Today I…Learned that jump-starting our NHL with Sofie is a great way to pick up men. Had our Christmas party with the AI Team and had to say a number of very sad goodbyes. AND had TOO much fun with little one.

14th Dec – Today I…Had my last day in St Lucia. I spent the morning in Mtuba with the little one where we hitch-hiked a lift back to St Lucia before spending the day at Cape Vidal.DSC05862DSC05826

15th Dec – Today I…Surprised a friend for her hens party followed by the hardest goodbye at Durban airport.

16th Dec – Today I…Surprised my family and came home for Christmas. Take a look: http://youtu.be/ZcdD0XHufs8

Thank you to everyone who made my seven months in St Lucia so amazing.

I have learnDSC04099ed something from every single volunteer that I have met and 178244_4098816703769_1862527541_oI think you are all extremely special people and I admire your want to help others. I hope you all loved your first time volunteering with African Impact as much as I did and I hope to see you all back. The people I have met on the projects in St Lucia are wonderful and the projects themselves are incredible. Like every volunteer I hope I have left a little bit of myself in the projects.

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The people that I mDSC05538et in the town of St Lucia you are all awesome. Thank you very much for making me feel so at home and I hope to stay friends with you all for a very very long time.

Alanna, Sofie, Stef393833_10151162739076047_1895424331_n, Kassie, Miriam and Sonja you have been the most incredible team of people to work. I love you all so much. I will never forget everything that we have been through. Thank you for everything and all the best f0r 2013.

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So tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book and I plan on writing good one…

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Celebrating World AIDS Day 2012

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Shwele, Me, Zanele, Miriam and Nokwethemba at Khula Clinic on World AIDS Day 2012.

To celebrate World AIDS Day Miriam kick-started the morning by making a cooked breakfast for everyone to prepare them up for the long day ahead. Myself, Miriam and the volunteers walked from St Lucia to Khula Clinic which would normally take an hour our so but on the way we stopped into the local business in St Lucia and along the main road to Khula to take photos of as many people as possible with our AIDS awareness posters so that they too could show their support for World AIDS Day 2012. Furthermore we were armed with condoms to hand out to people as we passed them on our travels and reminded them ‘No Condom, No Sex’.

Take a look at what else African Impact did to celebrate World AIDS Day 2012 this year:

http://africanimpactstlucia.blogspot.com/2012/12/celebrating-world-aids-day-2012.html

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A five month reflection.

A secret I want everyone to know about but fear few will believe. A realisation that such paradises really exist and a mentality that questions perceptions of normality. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend one week in Ndola, Zambia with Habitat for Humanity and five months in St Lucia, South Africa with African Impact working in the local communities. Along the way I have met an enigma of characters, had many intoxicated and philosophical evenings, heard and shared inspirational stories, witnessed breathtaking surroundings and experiences that will stay with me forever.

The beauty of Africa.

Authors dream up such places on digestible pages of make-belief, but few, can make the tangible essence of such fantasies. A place where you can dream, imagine, believe and be yourself. An ambience to fuel such feelings and amazing people to ignite it. No matter how many times I remind myself of where I am it doesn’t seem real. I feel blessed to have experienced the beautiful continent of Africa and to have had amazing people to share it with.

A place I feel at home.

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