After a packed schedule, NCS Manager Vicki Burton finds the time to update us on the past couple of days in South Africa.
Hello and welcome to a double dose of our Pools in Africa blog, covering Day 5 and 6! We had such a busy and tiring two days that I just couldn’t find the time to write Day 5!
Day 5 (Sunday) was our last day at Greensleeves and was much cooler than the previous two days. Before we went to Greensleeves, we were invited to Church with the children. An early start meant we had to meet at 7:15am. Church was a really lovely experience; the pastor had been told we were coming, and he welcomed us in front of the congregation as we got lots of waves, smiles and nods. Mass was slightly different to in England; there was a band at the front and lots of hand movements and passion was displayed during the hymns. Thankfully there was a screen with the words on so we could join in!
After Church we had breakfast and groups set to work on their tasks. Group 1 were on the landscaping task and, because of the fantastic work Groups 2 and 3 did on clearing the sports field, they were able to move on to the next task.
In a few weeks, Greensleeves are getting a new container delivered and their current entrance is not big enough for the truck to get through. As a result, Group 1 needed to clear a huge amount of overgrown bushes in front of the fence, to allow Greensleeves to just cut the fence so that the truck can get in.
Ethan, Eleanor, Beth, James, Emma and Tyler worked so hard and got the whole thing done, despite a bit of a distraction in the middle! The distraction came from the boys on the horses. The children at Greensleeves get so many fantastic opportunities that they wouldn’t get if they didn’t live there, one of which is horse riding lessons. Greensleeves has 5 horses of their own and the children are quite happy to race around the fields together, bare footed of course! One of the boys fell off his horse right next to where Group 1 were working. Thanks to some first aid and a bit of TLC from Ethan, he was fine and was back on his horse in no time.
Meanwhile, Group 2 were responsible for finishing off the painting task, painting a large storage container that is on the field at Greensleeves. The aim was to make the outside of the container bright and child-friendly. The group did a fantastic job, painting the alphabet, lots of bright pictures and a little memento for the children to remember us by. Group 1 and 3 members came to help out at the end of their tasks to make sure we got finished in time! The children were quite keen to help with painting but we said anyone under 12 had to stay behind the rope while the painting was going on. A few of us began a game of hide and seek to occupy the children. Hide and seek became a game called ‘hide and seek 1-2-3 block’ which is basically hide and tig but the seeker must race the hiders they find back to base to ‘1-2-3 block them’ before they can ‘1-2-3 block themselves’.
Group 2’s task for the day was to finish the donations with Sarah. She told us that they can’t remember the last time that the clothes donations had been sorted. She was so pleased with all three groups. Group 2 had enough time to ensure every child had a really great item that suited their style and personality, and also enough time to write names on each individual pencil case that Sorrell and her mum has prepared for the children.
Once we finished the painting, we headed for lunch: mac-n-cheese! After lunch we had some time back at Induli.
The afternoon’s tasks were next and Group 1 were in charge of a lesson/activity for the children. Thanks to a good idea from Adam, the group had prepared some hard-boiled eggs and proceeded to have an egg hunt around the field! After the egg hunt, the children decorated their eggs. The only problem was after the decorated them, they decided to eat them, so there wasn’t much to show for their work by the end, but they definitely had fun!
Group 2 headed off to the beach with the children but it was very, very (very!) cold in the water, but the waves were great! It started to rain just as we were leaving so we didn’t take the children to the cafe for an ice-cream like the previous two days, but instead stopped at the shop on the way home. Our students split up between the two buses so they could travel with the children; this proved to be great fun!
Group 3 were really lucky having sports on the last day. Thanks to everyone’s hard work, they were able to utilise the sports field and netball posts. The children were impressed by Chris’ shooting, referring to him as ‘The Magic Man’. Safe to say, he was rather pleased with himself!
Once Group 2 returned from the beach, it was well and truly pouring down! All the groups then went in the dining hall with the children and Sarah brought the gifts through. I made a little speech, thanking the children and Aunties for their kindness and hospitality during our visit, welcoming us into their home and showing us that family doesn’t always mean parents living at home with their children. Dan and Sarah do an amazing job to give the children happy and full lives, full of love and opportunities.
There were lots of tears from both our students and Greensleeves children, as well as lots of hugs and special moments with new friends. We got lots of photos with the children but due to their circumstances, we cannot publish photographs showing the children face on to the camera. We will however be printing them off and sending them to the children as memories of the time we spent together.
We left the dining hall and headed over to the other side for our supper; another braii. It was like being in England, you know, like when you plan to have a BBQ and it starts raining so you have to eat inside.
We then headed back to Induli and packed our cases ready to depart the next morning. Unfortunately, there was nowhere to dry the towels so there were some very heavy cases on Monday morning!
Monday was the start of the travelling aspect of our trip and involved our longest drive as we headed to Jeffrey’s Bay along the Garden Route. The views were incredible and via the walkie talkies, Dan told us to look out for the elephants. We later found out he was bluffing after we spent ages looking for them!
Lots of music and quizzes and revision later, we arrived at Jeffrey’s Bay, apparently one of the most beautiful beaches on the Eastern Cape. The only problem was, the weather was still not the best so we just had lunch instead! After burgers and a toilet stop, we continued on to Plettenberg Bay where we checked in to a 5-star hotel! Everyone was over the moon with their rooms. Eleanor and Hannah headed to the gym, while me, Craig, Beth, Chris and Sorrell went in the games room and Adam, Ethan and Luke headed into the pool with the slide and waterfall in! There is also a mini golf course on site!
At 7pm we headed to Spar and Surf Cafe for some late-night snacks and our tea. We were treated to a fajita buffet which went down a treat! After a bit of a detour back to the hotel we had a chill out and an early night ready for the Game Reserve on Tuesday morning.