Friday, 20 July 2012

Day 7 - 20th July 2012

Hello everyone Abbie here again I hope everyone’s okay back home still and I’m still having an amazing time still getting on really well with the girls and Dan who I have to say is going to be a new man by the time he comes home.

Well just to fill you in on my own personal experience since I last spoke, on Tuesday we visited the centre for Hands for their one region and was talked through the hands model and ideology of proving and assisting through care workers in their home community three essential services of; safety, education as well as food via feeding programs for the children in communities who are recognised the most vulnerable. This was useful as it explained how hands try to tackle these problems on the ground with care workers behind them giving me a greater understanding of how hands work. Following this then when to meet Petros who has been ill recently but is an amazing man who whilst still not being well champions people in this fellow community to go into his village and the surround villages and try to assist them providing services to the children who need it most, all whilst he and this family live in the same poverty same kind of dwelling his youngest girl being on the most vulnerable list, this care for others whilst being in the same situation himself and trying to make a positive change to his community rather like Ralph I spoke about before just amazes me. Anyway to cut a long story short we then met the chief of the village at the feeding program due to his interest in our visit.

Then Wednesday came and we went to Share a region who’s program with hands has only really just begun here we met the care workers and in the morning we did home based care in which I went round with Anna who has three children 11, 6 and 4 years as well as a husband but still goes out into the community despite her other commitments to help the others, as well as another care worker, and Emily who is a trainer for hands for the care workers who looks after her niece and nephew. The first house we went to was with a young man called Lucky who was sixteen when his parents died in 2006 and ever since then has been looking after his three younger brothers who are 12, 13 and 20. Even though he’s twenty two that to me is still young to look after and provide for your family especially if at almost the same age as me he was pleased with that pressure, no disrespect to my lad mates I love them all but I couldn’t see or imagine them last year having to be the soul carer and provider for their family of three younger siblings no matter how lovely they are. To add insult to injury despite graduating high school like many people is struggling to get a job even though he was so intelligent and polite and spook perfect English, also there home, which was not elaborate and was somewhat newly built and the back of the building had collapsed so that the rain got into the room sand flooded and there was not security there being missing half a wall also at night I think it gets freezing, let alone how they feel when my baking is to them a cold winters day. After him we met Tabo (I think it’s the one who Hannah will talk about on her blog) his grandmother who was looking after him and where it cost twenty Rand to monthly take him to the hospital and who her son and daughter in law live with her to. After this we then did a feeding program with some of the children, but there wasn’t so much time to personally get to know individuals it was just a lot of play.

But the next day we then got to go back and spend more time doing the Homes Based Care Visit and then with the feeding program spend a long time with the young people and children who are regarded as most vulnerable or in need in that community. In the home based care we first went to visit a woman called Bosani who has three children two girls and one boy and who are 14, 10 and 6 years old the boy and her share a room and the two girls share another with then one other small room in the house, she showed us round and she was lovely showing us the girls Sunday best which stuck me as region is so important she had made sure that despite the state of the other clothes which compared to my wardrobe is slightly lacking she had ensured that they would look nice for church, the girls also shared a room and a mat, and Bosani also then showed us a mat she was currently weeding which was just a simple mat which she was now going to sleep on with a blanket with her son, with how cold it is I don’t know how they do that. She was so lovely and so proud for the little she had which just reinforced how ungrateful we all are for the opportunities and the clutter of stuff we have.

The second house we visited contained 8 people in one house that consisted off the one woman who was ill, then her three children aged; 18, 17 and 13 and then her sister Setsuwini with her three children aged; 7, 3 and 1, the three and the one year old we met and were shy but so so beautiful and I’m not just saying that.

Now don’t worry I’m finally coming to and end of the stories my family will not hear the end off but then after this we then did the feeding program again, this time I got to speak to some of the young people and I got talking to Sharon who’s the same age as me and likes business and wants to be a business woman when she’s older we got talking and I found out she lives with her older brother as her mom and dad both died as well as her younger sister, Issha, who’s twelve who I also met, once again she was so funny and intelligent and her English rivalled mine. Her and her friends, Dumisile who’s 18 and since the age of fifteen has lived with her brother who’s twenty also and her younger sister Cleverness since her mother died were talking to me about school and home and so touchingly which actually reminded me off my friends back home, asked me what I was doing Saturday. I didn’t want to say we were going to Kruger (which we did today and saw the big 5), as for me I just felt it insensitive, so I just said I couldn’t go when her and her friends asked if me and the rest of the girls wanted to come with them to ‘watch’ the boys play football, or just ogle them in other terms which made me laugh and reminded me of my friends but it was so touching they asked and both them and myself seemed rather disappointed when I had to decline.

Day 6 - 19th July 2012

Hey it’s Izzy, I had a great day today. Probably my favourite.

We went to share to do some HBC (home based care) and I went to see two houses. In the first house the mother Bosani was making a mat out of very thin straw like bamboo things to sleep on with a blanket on a cold stone floor. Their whole house was the size of my living room and there were 4 of them living there. She showed us her garden full of cabbage, tomatoes and beetroot.

In the next house there was a mother who was sick looking after 3 kids but she was only allowed 1 grant for 1 child in the family. All together there were 8 living in one house and it was only a tinny bit bigger than the first one we visited.

Back by the HBC centre Joe and Shane were painting a sign on the wall because the building was new. We waited for the kids to arrive and we had some pap, cabbage, beans and chicken. Pap is very filling. Afterwards we got out hula hoops, balloons, bubbles and the parachute. I was blowing bubbles for the kids and then giving it to them to try and they loved it! This boy called Manz Obedient was really funny and he loved the bubbles he was only 10. He thought I was 19! :D He couldn’t believe it when he found out I was only 14 he spent about 20 minutes asking me over and over again and asking other people if I was telling the truth. I didn’t want to leave because I had only just started talking to him properly and he wanted to take lots of pictures with my camera.

I’m having such a great time here and I really want to come here again.

Lots of love from Izzy xxx

Hey everyone its Hannah. Today was a really tough day for me today as we were back in Share. Yesterday I made a really strong connection with this 13 years old boy called Tabo an saw him again today. From a young age he had physio that stopped working eventually, which he no longer has. He has issues with his neck shoulder and left hand. Tabo was in grade 5 and I taught him how to swing a hula-hoop on his arm. As soon as I saw him today I was given a huge hug off him and greeted with a huge smile and it was really hard to say goodbye. Tabo lives with his grandmother who some others met when they went on home based care in share the first day. Hopefully he will continue to do well and keep making progress and hopefully if I get the chance to come back I shall meet him again in a few years time.

I’ve loved it here and cannot believe we have been here a week now, feels like I never left.

Miss you all,
Lots of love,
Hannah xxx

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Day 5 - 18th July 2012

Hi it’s Daniel,

Today is Walky Talky Wednesday and for the first time ever, I tried a chickens head and foot and it was “delicious”. It looked really unusual but the head; well lets just say you can see the brain. We went to Share village and we did home based care in the morning. We also met this care worker called Nhlnhla who had one of the best singing voices I’ve ever heard because it had so much passion in her voice. After that we did a feeding program for the kids and unfortunately we didn’t have time to play with them but luckily we will have a party with them on Thursday. When we got back to base, I decided to have a hot chocolate and when I cleaned the spoon in the sink, I broke the tap and water came spurting everywhere. Luckily for me, Sean came to the rescue and in the end the whole village had no water for an hour but its all good now.

Love to all my family and friends (especially Tina)


Day 4 - 17th July 2012

Hi its Daniel and Lex!

Today we went to Dellani and out of the ordinary we met the Chief of the village, which is a huge honour so we were all excited. We started the day with all the adults going to meet Petros and pray for him and his family and when they came out, we were told that we were off to meet the Chief and his wife! We arrived at the Chiefs house only to find that he wasn’t there, so we sat with his wife and had a few pictures. Afterwards we went to the church for a feeding programme and the meet the Chief himself. We played with the children and then we had pictures and a chat with the chief. We all went off and spoke to different children and played with them and Lex got called ‘Big Momma’ which apparently is a compliment…but we’re not so sure…

Speak soon!

Lex & Dan xx

Monday, 16 July 2012

Day 3 -16th July 2012

Hello everyone Abbie I'm going to try to keep this short and sweet as I do like to waffle and I will be here night if I have my way. Anyway I hope everyone’s okay back home, I'm alive and fine mom before you start worrying and having an amazing time as to be expected. Firstly I would like to say that everyone is doing so well out here although they are really really doing amazing they’re all loving it and doing so well and you can see change already.

Anyway on Saturday we went to Belfast and there was this little girl Tambuko and she was just beautiful I can’t explain how lovely she was, she was around 3 and tiny, she lives with her grandmother and her older brother of around 8 and her younger sister of around 2 but unfortunately I do not know their names. She was holding my hand and showing me round and kept wanting to be picked up and when I had her she didn’t want me to let her go, the worst part due to it being the saddest for me personally was when she called me mom, I put her down for a spilt second and she just looked up at me with her big brown eyes and then lifted her arms up and went ‘moma’ my heart bled it was heart breaking that she was doing that and then she wouldn’t let me go. Carleigh a Canadian woman who’s been staying at Hands for a while told me normally she was really bubbly and hyperactive but when I had her she kept on coughing and was all lethargic. The only thing that seemed to make her have the hint of a smile was if you tickled her a little.

At one point two of the boys stole her lolly pop and she was crying and crying so I rocked her to sleep singing in my awful singing voice and then she just fell to sleep on my lap for a good hour or so, when we had to leave she turned around and waved at me with the rest of the children the same age or younger she was walking home with. Much to my delight we went back to Belfast today to do the de-worming project and my lovely little Tambuko looked at me and ran through the fence, it has to be said she seemed lot better today which was an obvious relief and although she dropped her food on the floor (rather a replica of my clumsy self) and cried we soon calmed her down and she actually ate some things today as apposed to the other day where she didn’t touch her food. I know I’m waffling on now but she was so so beautiful, if I had it my way mom we would be having another child in the house.

Anyway I’m going to go now got lots of thing to do, love you all stay safe

Ab xxxx

Hey it’s Jess F or mouse, as Shane would say,

Today we went to a place called Sommerset in the morning to do home based care. Before we went off with our groups we played a game where you had to say to the person next to you saying “Mrs Mumba, Mrs Mumba, where’s Mr Mumba?” but without showing your teeth, I was actually crying with laughter. Then we went off in our groups with care workers, I was with 3 care workers called; Gladness, Martha and Linah. My group only ended up actually visiting one house and I was really surprised by it, as it was a really beautiful house. The woman we met who lived there was called Emelina who was 65, she had 2 sons, 1 daughter who sadly passed away and 3 grandchildren. She had many ornaments in her house, which looked like she had been collecting them for many years. She was making these really cool mats with bamboo sticks and she taught us how to make them, which I was quite proud of!

After doing home based care we went back to the same place in Belfast as the other day. We took the parachute for the kids to play with and it was lovely to watch they all looked like they was having so much fun. Then we everyone started dancing, but to be honest none of us really could and one of the kids showed us how it was done. I then met a little girl which was called something along the lines of Sing but I didn’t quite catch it and she was so sweet she kept coming up to me hugging me and telling me she loved me. It was quite sad when we had to leave as we won’t be visiting there again and the kids were all so lovely. When we were saying bye a lad about my age kissed me on the hand, which I found extremely cute!

Anyway I’m going to go now, miss and love all my family and friends

Jess xxxx

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Day 2 - 15th July 2012

Hey guys, its Lex again…

Today we went to the local church and I have to say, I don’t think I have enjoyed myself this much in a long time. We sat with all the local people, we sang, we danced and we were welcomed with open arms by everyone there. Everyone there had the biggest smiles on their faces and the passion they all have for life was inspiring. Some of the people I spoke to have a lot less than I do yet they are so happy and full of faith and love and they all wanted to share their lives with us. The way that these people express themselves is truly amazing, they sing song after song (with the most beautiful voices ever!) and dance around and make an effort to talk to people, which isn’t something I have ever seen or experienced before in my life. I can’t wait to go again and be a part of it all..
Speak soon,
Lex x

Hi its Daniel …
Today was a great day for me. Firstly we went to a local church and it had the most passionate and loving people I have ever seen in my life which was really inspiring for me because some of them are living in poor conditions yet they still have smiles on there faces. Their singing was absolutely incredible and when we joined in with them in the dance; it was definitely an experience that I would never forgot. I’m so excited to go again next week.
Love to all my family and friends (especially Tina)

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Day 1- 14th July 2012

Hi everyone, it’s Izzy (Stirk) and I'm really enjoying it here! I’m not missing anyone too much yet but then again, it is only my first day. We went to Belfast today and made peanut butter and jam sandwiches. All the kids got a sandwich, some cheesy crisps like big wotsits and a very large orange with a very hard skin.

At first the kids weren’t really taking to me but when we had to split up into teams to go and fetch tools and manure for the garden they want to grow, I stayed at the youth centre to try and bond with the kids. There were a few that I picked up and they liked it when you spun them round and things. It’s really nice seeing them smiling and laughing J When I got my camera out the one boy was really eager to take pictures but he had his fingers over the lens but I do have a few of feet and half of my face.

I really enjoyed the prayers and singing today even though I’m not religious. Their voices are just so good (makes me jealous) and when everyone’s clapping along and really getting into it, it really gives you goosebumps and it gives you a chance to step back and really look at where you are and what you are doing.

Everyone there today really loved having us there and they even wrote ‘I love you’ on the minibus window in the dust. I am getting along really well with everyone and I have just come in from sitting on the trampoline singing songs. We played a one line game and all Daniel could come up with was ‘L---E----XI’ it’s very funny.
Night xx
<3 Izzy (S)
P.S everytime I smiled the kids stared at me because of my braces and one girl asked why I had earrings in my teeth :D

Hey, Jess (Burton) here J I had a great time today in Belfast. At first it was awkward because I didn’t really know what to say to the kids but they were really friendly and some of the girls were the same age as me. After we got back from collecting the mealy meal bags and manure for the garden they’re creating, a small boy ran up to me and hugged me. So I picked him up and rested him on my hip. It was a great feeling to know that he came to me for affection and he clung to me for the rest of the time we were at the village. It was great to know how much everyone appreciated us being there and I was sad to leave luckily we’re visiting again Monday.

I had a great night tonight we sat on the trampoline and sang songs and looked at the stars, it was lovely socialising with everyone and it feels like we’re getting closer already.
Talk soon x

Friday, 13 July 2012

2012 Schools Team Arrive at Hands @Work

Welcome to the 2012 Link 4 Life Project Schools Team Blog.
The 2012 Link 4 Life Schools Team as they left from Great Wyrley High School on Thursday 12 July 2012
After a  long journey via Dubai the Schools team have safely arrived at the Hands@ Work base  in White River South Africa.
There were some delays in sorting out the car hire in Johannesburg, but the journey went well and all the team are safe and well in Sanderson House, which will be their base for the next 9 days,. Andy Evans one of the team leaders sent a text message to tell us that they had arrived and were settling in- about to have the evening meal which had been prepared for them.

Sanderson House
It will take them a day or two to sort out their own internet connection via a mobile phone connection- but when they do we  look forward to reading about their visits and the people they meet.

We will all be thinking of them and praying for them as they visit communities in the Bush Buck Ridge region of Mpumalanga in the NE of South Africa.  Much of their time will be spent alongside care volunteers who visit and support orphaned and vulnerable chiuldren-These are the people who Hands@ Work are supporitng and who we are trying to build strong ties with.

Well done team! We look forward to hearing all about that you see and do.  God Bless you all

Richard Westwood (Back in Great Wyrley) 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

At the airport

Jess B here from the 2012 team, just at the airport waiting for the delayed plane. can't wait until we arrive in South Africa. I'm looking forward to all the scenery and meeting the children. When I get back I hope I will have a better understanding of the cultures of South Africa, I want to feel as if I've helped to make a difference no matter how small, I would also like to realise how lucky I am and be a lot more grateful for everything I have. I only have one worry which is that I will miss my friends and family but I'm sure as the two weeks progress I will feel as if I have a second family and a lot more friends. :)

Lex here from the 2012 team
sat on the floor of the airport shaking with nerves and excitement! Ready to go and start what we have been working towards for the past 12 months and learning so much more about the local cultures and lifestyles...when I get home I hope to feel like I have helped to make a difference and made new friends. I'm going to miss all my family and friends so much and I will be thinking about them every step of the way.

Hi Jess F here sitting around waiting in the airport! as nervous as I am I'm so excited, I can't wait to experience a new culture and learning a completely different lifestyle. I'm really looking forward to making new friends and hopefully friends for life! Going to miss my friends and family so much but they'll always be in my thoughts.

it's izzy, i really don't know what to write here apart from how excited I am! I can't believe I will be in south Africa for the next two weeks without family, good thing I have some great friends around me xxx :)

its Daniel , I'm really looking forward for this trip, this will be one of the best experiences ever, can't wait for this!!! love to all my friends and family xxxxxxx :)