A long, hot, tiring and emotional week in South Africa, delivering Christmas gifts in the townships and catching up with friends.
The food and drink here is amazing with a bottle of wine costing less than a small glass of wine in the UK and Dubai. A meal less than the price of a coffee.
Life in South Africa is extreme. I've been staying with friends, who feed me, loan me their cars and braai for me. I've had Starbucks which is considered expensive here compared to the local coffee chains and I've visited children living in extreme poverty whose parents have insisted on feeding me also.
Peter arrived on Thursday and we're spending the weekend in a safari lodge.
*Braai - BBQ
335 Sunday Arrived at Johannesburg Airport at 10am, collected by my friend, went out for lunch and then taken to another friend's for the night.
336 Sunday Up early, car packed and off to Soshanguve, a township in Northern Pretoria for 3 celebration parties, handing out Christmas gifts in orphanages. We came across a family living here, we did what we could, but chucking money at the situation wasn't going to help. The older sister was recovering from a hang over.
337 Monday Having spent the night with another friend, I set off back to Soshanguve for the final celebration, this was a day care centre, the parents pay a very small daily fee to send their children there from birth to age 6 often 10-12 hours as it takes 2 hours by bus to travel into Pretoria or 45 minutes for me by car.
338 Tuesday I packed and delivered cartons of boxes to a couple of other volunteers ready for their celebration days, then headed off to a local mall for a Starbucks and to do some shopping, then visited a friend in the afternoon with her 6 week old baby.
339 Wednesday The day finished with a Braai at a friends and several glasses of wine, however it started with 3 x 30km trips to collect 473 donated Christmas gifts and deliver to stor_age whilst we decide what to do with them. There are many children left to receive but each box has to be checked and contents added, that will have to be the work of others.
340 Thursday I sourced and packed for 11 teens in an orphanage that a friend asked me for and sorted through a pile of 2nd hand donated items to give them also, in the afternoon I went out for coffee. They're load shedding in South Africa, as they've run out of coal and this means the power is switched off for 2-3 hours every day. No traffic lights, no power to the supermarkets. They remain open but I can't help thinking the freezer and fridge contents are suffering. There's also no power to the personal security with housing, leaving you feel slightly vulnerable at home.
Peter arrived in the evening and we Braai'd with our hosts.
341 Friday Peter and I drove round our old haunts then drove up to Hammanskraal. We're staying on a game reserve for a few days until I fly home on Monday night. We've booked a game drive on Sunday morning and ironically we were asked if we wanted to do a township drive into Soshanguve.
342 Saturday Had a leisurely breakfast, read our books, sat outside and chilled out till 2pm before heading off for 30 mins to a friends house for a Christmas Braai and a few drinks. Two of my South African BFF's.
On the blog this week:
Celebrating Christmas in the Townships
My Blogmas Christmas Tree
Reusing and recycling waste in South Africa
It sounds like you have had such an amazing and emotional week! It sounds like you have been well looked after. How lovely!ReplyDelete
You are fantastic handing out the gifts in the orphanages. You are a hero!
That is so interesting about the power being switched off for a few hours each day. It is slightly worrying though.
there's lots going on here in SA that are slightly worrying and will be a long time before any changes are madeDelete
Sounds like you've been doing some good work with the gifts and orphanages. I'd never thought abot power being turned off like that.ReplyDelete
so much happening here that i just dont understandDelete
Sounds like a week of contrasts. We had no idea how lucky we are. Glad you’ve got to catch up with friends with Peter too. Safe trip home #365ReplyDelete
it was lovely to catch up with friends with Peter there alsoDelete
What an amazing week! I can't believe the contrast between the shopping centres and the extreme poverty people are living in. I know we have reasonably big contrasts here, but it's nothing like that! The South Africans love their barbecues, don't they? Some of our best friends (who have sadly moved away, so we don't see them much now) are South African and they barbecue pretty much every day, even in winter!ReplyDelete
with all the load shedding the only way to eat is with a BraaiDelete
What a week of contrasts, from shopping malls to orphanages. You're an inspiration, doing all the volunteering and bringing gifts to children in need.ReplyDelete
The tree in the airport in beautiful, is it a baobab?
Power cuts are probably a partial solution. What about the hospitals, do they also get power off?
Lovely selfie with your friends.
thank you, it is so extreme over there. Some shops and most hospitals will ahve generators, but often these get stolenDelete
a big round of applause to you and all the other volunteers who do such amazing work, well done on cheering so many children up. The world is a very uneven place and this is so evident in shanty towns and slum areas, the likes of which we here in the UK can not even begin to understand.ReplyDelete
Glad you managed to have some relaxing time with Peter. You say the cost is cheaper but relatively it probably isn't, I am sure their wages are much lower than ours.
Thank you Elaine, wages in general in SA are much lower, when we left 4 years ago, we just about broke evenDelete
Such a busy week and well done to you and the others on all your efforts to help. It's hard seeing the luxury that some live in and then the picture showing extreme poverty. Wish there was a way to get rid of poverty throughout the worldReplyDelete
I'm with you on that, more needs to be done to bridge the gap between the rich and the poorDelete
I had no idea that there was poverty like this in SA, how kind of you to donate your time to help spread some Christmas happiness #project365ReplyDelete
the gap between the rich and the poor is one of the biggest in the worldDelete