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