20.09.2010 - 26.09.2010 32 °C
September 20th - 26th
Okay, i'm not gonna lie to you guys, we have to much of a deep-cut routine in this particular camp for any serious spontaneity so you would get bored of reading our day to day happenings, so week to week is best for Makongeni
Monday morning. Early rise. We set off bang on 9am. WHAAAAT?! Stevie lets us discuss times to leave at so we were fully ready. Already things are verrry different. The first different thing is the heat, VERY hot. By 10am the heat is already what it would be at midday in Mwaluganje!
We got an orientation tour round the village by Rosie, our project leader for our time here, and it was really good. We looked round the stalls, went in the school, looked at the construction site, went down to the mangrove projects, went to see the Mama we were building a house for, went in the IT hut, looked round the village "cinema", looked round the local hospital and after lunch we started constructing the nursery. Busy busy busy. Sarah unfortunately missed out on all of this because she got heat stroke and the doxycycline tablet just didn't agree with her yesterday and she had to stay in bed aaaaall day ): poor wee soul! Emma asked the chef to make her some soup so she wouldn't have to eat a big meal, but that was ALL he brought out. A little bowl of soup for all of us after our first day of construction in blistering heat. The sheer disappointment on everyone's faces said it all.. AND THEN DINNER FOLLOWED! Thank. The. Lord.
The rest of the week has been a bit of a mixture of things but we have mainly been working on the nursery, which to be honest, at the beginning, was quite repetitive and unorganised. The local boys which follow us about mainly take over and leave us standing there with nothing to do, which leaves us pondering the thought "what's the point in us being here?". They are clearly eager to help us, but we are all just as eager to get our hands dirty!.. that is what we came for after all.. Teaching in the IT centre has been the same, we turned up to teach students about Microsoft Word and such things and there were no students for us, and we had only been given our teaching materials 30mins before we were due to start which gave us no time to prepare a lesson plan. Rosie then came to sort out the situation, but it turned out she went next door and dragged out some girls who were in a sewing lesson so we would have someone to teach.. We weren't happy, but it wasn't because it was unorganised or anything, well maybe that had a part to play, but more so because we are all here to do something worthwhile, not just for the sake of doing it. We want to make sure people benefit from the things we put effort into.
Dipesh from the Leap came in to check on us, as he does at every new camp we get to, just to see things are alright etc. etc. and i think he may of regretted asking "how are things?". Some 5mins later the whole team were sat down with Dipesh, Ducan (camp manager) and Rosie (project leader) having it out. Not in a really negative way.. but more like constructive criticism.. He totally understood everything we said though, and in fact was really happy we had sat him down and told him what was wrong. He gets that we are a really hard-working group of people, which he says is rare as most people will try and get away with doing as little work and sunbathing as much as possible, and that we want to be doing productive things rather than time fillers! So things are looking up
Building the next couple days were SO much better - we had Rosie on hand to answer questions and Combo actually started to tell us where we were going wrong rather than just fix it himself!
The teachers also came over for lunch so the team could sit them down and ask them what they REALLY wanted out of us while we were here, and it turns out the children have exams soon as this is their last term before summer, so revision is essential! SCORE - we're getting somewhere (: so we are all set up for teaching next week, we have our books, our subjects and now all we need to start are the lesson plans.. job done.
Team morale was quite low on our first week or so here, just things run completely different and the lack of organisation at the beginning threw us all a bit, but now we all know what we are doing and we have drawn up weekly plans - all is well again
Here we have a school sort of set-up.
Breakfast at 7:30am. Morning projects are 9am-12pm. Lunch 12:30pm. Afternoon project are 2pm-4pm. Then dinner at 7:30pm.
This happens Monday - Thursday, and on a Friday we have a half day.. much different to Mwaluganje were we only got a Sunday off!
On Friday i have never felt so good! I did all the odd bits and bobs i had to do, and it was amazing to just relax! Had a REALLY good scrub in the shower, washed all my dirty clothes, sorted out my bag for projects and my bag for the weekends, and then the ultimate - the Love Shaks 'FRIDAY TIDY!'.. that's right mum, I'm carrying on the tradition even when i am on the other side of the equator! New bed sheets were put on, the whole floor was swept of sand and my clothes were re-neatened on my top bunk! Mission accomplished.
On Friday night we decided to have a 'quiet' night out at 40's... oh how wrong we were! We ended up calling Sayidih for a taxi at 2:30am and i can quite blatantly say, it was THEE best night out i have had in a very, very long time. So many funny moments, so much banter... and the Aussies weren't there, so it makes it double the fun! We got chatting to a few British guys in there and they got some of the girls doing the limbo, although i thought (at first) that they where a bunch of prats, that thought proved out very wrong on my part!
The weekend consisted of much of the same; sunbathing, buying things, our all important trips to the supermarket and a nap on the way home on Rusty!
Oh - and all the stealing note, we told Duncan about it and it turns out he know the owner so he phoned him, and he said the staff were trying to steal money by pretending we hadn't paid to cover their bums...
....now we know why it's called "40 Thieves", it's a nickname for the staff....