Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Kameeldrift Trauma Support - Rape care kits

I'm sure you'd be more interest in this blog post if I posted about a cake. I did recently on facebook and received a lot of attention with likes and comments. I posted a photo of a rape care kit and I guess people just scrolled right past, pretending not to see it as they didn't know what to say.

Anyway I digress.

I'm visiting South Africa our former home and supporting friends who work with various charities and projects throughout the year. I'm no longer affiliated with any of the charities here, but I help out with things online and some fundraising throughout the year and when I visit, I tidy, clean, pack and physically get involved hands on.

Over the weekend my friend Lee-Ann, took me with her to a community in Pretoria North to hand out rape care kits on behalf of Kameeldrift Trauma Support, who she is involved with throughout the year.

These kits aren't handed out to women who have been raped, they are handed out to women for when they or a family member or friend is raped.

1:3 women have been or will be raped in South Africa, with 150 cases reported daily. Many do not report because a) it is a way of life for some and b) too many women are afraid of reprisals for reporting their rapist.

In the UK statistics for the same period were 1:200.

Of course these figures can't be relied on and they do not include the rape of men or children, nor do they include other forms of sexual abuse.

But the reality is in South Africa it is going to happen, just when is the only unknown.

So how can a rape care kit help women in crisis.

Each kit contains a brown paper bag to place underwear in, a plastic bag can contaminate the DNA. The advice is to put it in a freezer asap for the best forensic results.

There is also a note pad and pen to write down what happened in detail.

Everything else in the pack is for personal hygiene and comfort.

In the recent kits being distributed there have been donations from Isabella Garcia with facial wash and body creams and from Reitzer Pharmaceuticals glycerine soaps.

All other items have been donated by individuals by adding a few extra items to their shopping trolley each week and through cash donations.

This is not a sponsored post, I'm advertising the services of Kameeldrift Trauma Support as I believe and support fully the work they are doing. The two companies tagged will hopefully share this post on their social media and I'm hoping it will lead to further donations from them and other companies to support this worthy project.






Monday, 20 May 2019

Maintaining contact with family as an expat

I was chatting with my niece online yesterday and showed her some of the photos we have round the house of her children. The Things 1, 2 & 3. There are also hundreds of photo's of our 5 kids and other family members. It's important to us to be part of the family and watch them grow and hear about their achievements when we're away from home.

Two of our children have lived abroad with us, another now lives alone in Australia. They've all been out to visit as have both our mothers, but in between us going over there, we're pretty much on our own. Our kids have little contact with one another, both our mums live near one of our nieces, but they can all get together, they all have support if they need it within an hours drive (excluding the one in Australia)
We have fairly regular contact online via facebook messengers, we can see photos on FB and instagram of what everyone is up to and at the end of the month I'll ring round using up the last of my monthly phone credit.

When I visit the UK I will leave gifts and cards with my mum to post/distribute during the time till my next visit and I regularly post physical photo's, small gifts, novelty items to the kids. I leave these parcels with my mum also and let her know when I want them sent. I also send regular letters and post cards from Dubai, but sadly either not many get through, or I'm not informed when they do arrive.

I keep a copy of every letter I send and receive, it makes a fab way of keeping a record of our lives abroad.

It's a way of letting everyone know we're still thinking of them, still want to part of their lives, that we're around in mind, if not physically, for the whole year.

It's going to get as lot harder for us though after September as we're going to be grandparents and as Skype, whatsapp calls and facetime is currently blocked in the UAE, we won't be able to interact with our grandchild as he or she grows

Saturday, 18 May 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 20 South Africa

I'm back in South Africa for 10 days, our former home of 4 years, before moving to Dubai. We made lifelong friends when we were here and I go back to visit once or twice a year.

I'm staying with 3 friends and their families this week, with use of a car so I can get out and about during the day.

When we lived there, I was involved in working with several charities, although I have no direct link with these charities anymore I do support the work my friends do throughout the year. I work behind the scenes online to help out, raise funds and when I'm visiting I get involved hands on in with a Christmas box initiative and visit facilities in townships to support education.

You can read about my last visit in December by clicking here.

132 Sunday Landed in Johannesburg around 5.30am, had 5 hours sleep on the flight, got changed, had coffee, sorted out local sim card. Collected by my friend, back to hers for a natter, wine, food, then over to Pretoria to the family I'm staying with while I'm here, another friend came over for the evening.

133 Monday Woke at 6.30am to the sound of the hadedah's, they're the size of a chicken and sound like someone is being murdered. Spent the morning washing teddy bears that were left over from a flamingo project that you can read about here. Took myself off for a walk, had coffee, spent time in the garden reading and blogging.
These are Jacaranda trees and in Autumn they turn purple.

134 Tuesday Visited the Irene Mall and had lunch with a friend then off to Rietvlei Nature Reserve for a mini self drive safari.

135 Wednesday Off to Menlyn Mall for the day, some shopping, walking around and coffee. Spent the afternoon sweeping out the storage unit, sorting through donations since I was there last in December and flattening boxes.

136 Thursday Met a friend for breakfast with her mother and baby. Spent the afternoon typing up name lists for the Christmas gift website and off to Ridgebacks for dinner and jam jars with friends.

137 Friday Visited Brooklyn Mall, in Pretoria, then back to the storage unit to finish cleaning it up. Was collected by my friend to spend the weekend at hers.
This is Grace, she's 4 years younger than Bob, but rescued from the same area, she has to be related.

138 Saturday Up early and off to a rural town in North Pretoria to deliver rape care kits. These kits aren't for women who have been raped, but for when they get raped. Statistically 1 in 3 women will or have been raped in South Africa with around 150 cases reported daily, many don't report for fear of reprisals. On a lighter note the afternoon was spent at Hartbeesport markets and lunch out.

On the blog this week:

How the Mike Bolhuis Flamingo Project is supporting orphans in South Africa

Safety and Security differences between Dubai and the UK


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Wednesday, 15 May 2019

How the Mike Bolhuis flamingo project is also supporting vulnerable children in South Africa.


I came across Mike Bolhuis and the Flamingo Project through a friend in South Africa. I’m here for 2 weeks working with volunteers who support children’s charities year-round. When I’m not in South Africa I work behind the scenes, promoting, fund raising and online support. You can read about my last visit in December 2018, supporting a Christmas Charity.

After recent droughts in South Africa Mike took it upon himself to try and rescue hundreds of dehydrated and starving flamingo chicks, which hatched back in February in Kamfersdam, Kimberley.


These chicks have now been released back into their natural habitat, but Mike was left with 100’s of teddy bears the public had donated for the flamingo chicks to snuggle up to, to keep warm and to play with.


I spoke to Mike this week to thank him for the teddy bears, which are now washed, repaired and waiting to be rehoused to 300 vulnerable children living in poverty or in orphanages in and around Pretoria.


You can read more about Mike’s Flamingo rescue on his face book page.

Flamingoes are one of my favourite birds and I often visit Ras Al Khor bird santuary where I live in Dubai and I went in search of the flamingoes in the Western Cape in July 2015.

I'm, pleased Mike and the volunteers have been successful with their project, just a shame I didn't arrive earlier and I could have volunteered.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Differences between the UK and Dubai - Safety and Security.



'Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore'

That's how I feel when I leave Dubai and visit the UK.

In Dubai I can leave my engine running, hand my card over for 'tap' payment at the petrol pump without getting out the car and leave my bag, laptop and phone on the restaurant/cafe table while I go to the toilet. I can leave my door not only unlocked but on occasions open when we go out and not worry about anyone breaking in or having my car or personal items stolen.

I often visit Pretoria in South Africa. Life over there isn't particularly safe. My personal safety and that of my belongings is paramount, there's a risk of car jacking when sitting at the lights and junctions.
I've experienced theft in South Africa personally and the biggest risk I faced was an armed robbery at a place I volunteered in. I'd opted to stay and eat with a resident, rather than joining everyone else in the staff room where they were held and robbed at gun point.

I've also camped in a township, travelled solo around the Western cape and caught the Shosholoza Meyl train with one of the teens to Cape Town and have holidayed in Durban. Life is slightly different in Cape Town and Durban to the Gauteng region with little visible security.

I used to post often about life in South Africa during the 4 years we lived there and when I travelled to the UK, I felt safe. But having lived in Dubai for 4 years, I now realise when I return to the UK that the feeling I had in the UK was compared to life in South Africa and having been out of the country for almost 9 years now, that I should treat visits home as if I was visiting a new place and should take better care of my personal safety and belongings.

It was pointed out to us in a UK pub when we went to the bar that 'we're not in Kansas anymore' and shouldn't be leaving our personal belongings unattended.

I'm currently back in South Africa, I visit my friends once or twice a year. It's an automatic reaction to fall back into line with the security aspect now for me.

How safe is it where you live?


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