Hi and welcome to day 3 of our Pools in Africa blog!
Today was the first full day of volunteering at Greensleeves and what a day we had! To make sure our students get the best experience out of the volunteering, there was a carousel of activities arranged for us.
Group 1 began the morning on the painting task. Their role was to varnish all of the climbing frames so that the children could use them again. A hard task in the hot sun that was made slightly easier by the small children watching and playing next to the group.
Group 2 were responsible for donations. Greensleeves gets a lot (and I mean a lot!) of donations from the local community and beyond. There are lots of really nice things for the children but there are so many bags that it’s not physically possible for someone to go through them all. That’s where the group came in.
Auntie Bridgette spends two days a week trying to tackle the mountain of donations on her own, but she showed us how to do it and so we embarked on the huge task. The bags needed to be sorted into the following piles:
It was a much harder task than we thought. Because of the sheer amount of donations they get, Auntie Bridgette operates the rule “only the best for our children”. The group found this difficult at first but after tackling bag after bag, it became more clear.
The adults bag is donated to the people who collect the bins for Greensleeves. This works as a payment for the bin collection. Those people then sell the clothes on.
The children’s clothes, toys and toiletries are taken to an on-site shop. Here, the children get the chance, once a week, to spend their house points on new items. Sarah introduced this as a way for the children to appreciate the value of things and hopefully take more care of their things when they’ve paid for them on their own. She did tell us that the boys never buy clothes and spend all of their money on marbles, hence why some of them wear jumpers that are halfway up their arms!
The next task of the morning fell to group 3 and physically, it is definitely the most demanding task! Greensleeves has its own sports field but due to the lack of volunteers and money, the field has become overgrown and the children haven’t played on it for months, with the bushes and grass reaching almost halfway up the netball posts. The task for us is to clear all of the bushes so that someone can come on and cut the grass, before we have a sports afternoon and bonfire on Sunday.
Craig, Chris, Charlie, Lauren, Alex, Sam and Sorrell worked tirelessly all morning in the sun with Dan and have made such a huge impact already, despite the fact that Lauren was using her tool the wrong way round to start with! Hopefully the other two groups can follow suit and get it finished in time for Sunday afternoon.
We then had lunch; lasagne and salad, before heading back to our accommodation for some free time. Most of the group went in the pool, except for Sorrell who just put her legs in to cool them off!
At 1:30pm we headed back to Greensleeves for the afternoon activities. Group 1 were heading off to the beach, taking the children surfing with Dan and Adam! The children who had been chosen were so excited and ran to the bus with their towels, drinks and muffins.
The beach was a fifteen minute drive but it was worth it just to see the views when we got there! It was quite windy but still hot, although the children didn’t think so when they got in the water! Dan had arranged to borrow some foam training boards so we could stay near the shore and learn on something a bit more gentle than a wooden board!
A 12 year old called Trevor was really keen to stay in the water and help Ethan learn to surf. Beth and Eleanor were keen surfers too! Some of the children were good and can already stand up on the boards even at only 8 years old. Most of the children got out of the water and wanted to make sandcastle with James, Emma and Tyler. The children then had our students running up and down the biggest sand dunes we’ve ever seen! Safe to say, after numerous trips to the top for James, who was too nice to say no, his legs were aching!
After we surfed and played in the sand, Adam took everyone to the shop and bought us all an ice-cream or a drink. The children couldn’t choose as there were so many options!
After we finished, we headed back to the bus where the children ate their muffins too. Surfing is a hungry task!
Meanwhile, group 2 were in charge of sports and so they began with some games of stuck in the mud before playing (or trying to play) football rounders. Unfortunately the dogs kept stealing the ball so they had to change the game to rugby! Finally, a game of duck, duck, goose was the order of the day!
The children had an amazing time. Group 3 were in charge of leading a lesson/activity for a group of children and so they decided first of all to spend time talking in a circle about life in England compared to life in South Africa.
Next, they all made cards and did drawings before going outside to play with our students. A big game of football was arranged on the field and some of the older boys joined in and were keen to play. Meanwhile, others were mixing and playing with the children.
We then went for tea (or supper as it’s known in South Africa) and had crumbed chicken and cheese sauce (almost like a Parmo) with chips before heading back to Induli to grab some money so we could go to Spar for some optional late night snacks!
After returning from the shop we played some table tennis and cards before most people needed an early night again! The boys had a bit of a scare at bedtime when a big, scary man in the field was coming towards them but thankfully the big, scary man was actually a cow. (Everyone knew this except for the boys, but Adam still needed supervising back to his room in the dark!)
Another fantastic day and so proud of our group and their hard work today.
Speak to you again tomorrow!