Saturday, 7 July 2012

Week 11

Monday was our last full day in Kang :-( so we made final preparations with TXY for the meeting on Tuesday then had our last ever Kang’s Kitchen lunch. For the record Kang’s Kitchen does the best fat cakes and soup and just general lunch ever so we ate there every day. 
Tuesday was the meeting .........
The Kang VDC and S&DC came aswell as the Hukuntsi S&DC and some social workers aswell as Skillshare representatives and TXY. Basically, the meeting re-discussed everything the four of us had been discussing with the Kang VDC for the past 12 weeks only with more witnesses. However, not to put a downer on it, hopefully the fact that there was more witnesses and more official people present the things promised will be fulfilled and TXY can be a fully registered school within the next few months - which would be fabulous! After the meeting me and Esther got the bus back to Gabs and bumped into Rodgers, one of the teacher from Matsha. I have to say it was the funniest drive ever! The driver left behind the bus conductor and we had to wait about a half hour for him to catch up on foot. It was lovely to see the Maun volunteers again, especially David as I hadn’t seen him for 12 weeks! We got back to the guest house and me and Neel went out to buy some Vin CoCo and Twiser (the best drink in Botswana!) - basically we spent every night of de-brief drinking Vin CoCo and playing card based drinking games, it was fab.
Wednesday and Thursday were just boring debrief where we had to share our experiences with each other and its clear everyone did so many amazing things whilst we have been on placement. 
Friday me, Neel and Callum got up at half 3 in the morning so that we could climb Kgali Hill - the highest natural hill thing in Botswana! It was proper sketchy at first as it was dark and all we had to light the way was cowpig and Neel’s torch so it was pitch black and we were basically climbing a mountain :-S We stopped half way up for a cup of green tea and watched the stars, there were so many shooting stars and Gabs looked so beautiful from all the way up - it has to be the smallest capital city in the world?! We got to the top about an hour before sunrise and at first we were so excited to have gotten there - so we had another green tea. But after like an hour it was foofing chilly!!!! However it was way worth it. Sun rise was amazing and the view was phenomenal. On the way back down we found an actual path - we had scaled the side of the mountain literally climbing over rocks (epic fail!). The army were running up and down doing drills so we followed them for a bit but got distracted by a pretty view and got left behind. After getting lost for an age we finally found the bottom and sat watching Baboon’s for ages, there was really cute baby ones bouncing around all over the place and one hefty male who waltzed past us and actually posed for a picture! In the afternoon (well actually it was 10am but it felt like mid afternoon for us) we went to Otse to an amazing school for disabled children which also has its own businesses - pottery making, candle making, crop growing, orangery (which makes the best oranges ever - we may have acquired a few for tasting purposes) and loads of other things. A man showed us how to make a bowl out of pottery. He was so skilled and wipped up this bowl like it was cutting up an onion (which incidentally I have great difficulty with being incapable at almost any cooking based tasks!) but he was super speedy and made it look easy. We had the most amazing lunch in the whole time of Botswana at Otse - and then had some pretty emotional speeches from Rob, Wairimu and BK as it was Robs last day in Botswana today. There was such drama on Friday aswell ..... Callum got told that he needed to get a visa stamp in his new passport otherwise he would be arrested as it looked like he had been in Botswana illegally :-O so with about 15 minuets to spare before the immigration office shut we had to speed through Gabs so he wouldn’t go to jail. To cut a long, dramatic and at times harrowing journey down to a few words .... we missed the office!! But thanks to our sweet innocent English faces and some man taking pity on Callum’s sob story he got a stamp so didn’t have to stay in Botswana forever as an illegal immigrant!  That evening we made fire, which took about an hour just to take as the wood is nay as good as in Kang! David and Kesh (who had finally graced us with his presence after hiding away in Maun for an extra two days) cooked us some lovely food and we all sat around the fire eating and drinking ---- of course Vin CoCo; what else!
Saturday was our last full day in Botswana :-( so it was today that most people set aside to buy presents for people at home! It was just a stressful shopping trip trying to find something for my Dad who had demanded a present for his birthday, one for father’s day and a general African present - after spending ages looking a bought him a musical instrument plingy thing which I regretted about 5 seconds after giving it to him as all I have heard for the past few days is ‘pling pling pling’ from him playing it!! I spent the afternoon trying to cram everything into my suitcase without it popping/ without breaking all my presents. To mix it up a little me and David got cider this eve - turns out lemon cider is peculiar! We decided to have a light night as we had to be up early in the morn for our flights.
Sunday was so emotional. We left the guesthouse at 9ish to go to the airport. After arriving late and the plane being delayed in our honor it had to be delayed even more because me Callum and Kesh’s passport got voided and they couldn’t get our boarding passes. Never before had I been so scared that I was going to be stranded in Botswana! After what felt like forever the airpeople gave up and wrote us handwritten boarding passes (lol) and just let us through. They had to ring ahead to Nairobi to let them know we had ticket qualms so they could sort it for us, then we got on the plane. I no this will make me sound like such an epic fatty but the plane food was amazing! We also saw Kilimanjaro through the window - it was on the other side of the plane to us but a kind Indian man let me basically straddle him trying to get a good look and a picture. We then had a 8 hour wait at Nairobi airport. After sorting out our boarding cards .... Kenya was able to give us actual ones and thankfully our passports were unvoided (PHEW!) we went for food. I had my first proper coffee in three months - to be fair it wasn’t the delight that I had built it up to be :-( Nairobi was fun - Callum accidentally stole, we drank a litre of vodka, I flew up the escalator with Emma pretending to be superman, we tried to play in the kids playroom but some selfish children were already in there - to be 100% honest I can’t really remember that much more as I woke up to sunrise about 2 hours away from England! Apparently I was fair rowdy but being the shy and retiring person that I am I cannot imagine that at all :P
We got back to England early monday morning and said goodbye. It was so emotional and sad to leave everyone. So now I am back home in chilly willy England, wishing I could be back out in Botswana. I have been in and out of my old school this week sorting out some History teaching resources to send out to Matsha to help my form 5 classes - hopefully its stuff they will be able to keep and use for later years aswell. I definitely want to go back out to Botswana as soon as I can afford it! I’ve already been making plans and hassling people for money and sponsorship so watch this space! I am going to continue this blog now I’m back so I can keep you all posted on how my fundraising is going. I am hoping to climb Kilimanjaro to raise money for the organisation run by BK and Wairimu back in Botswana and to continue sending stuff out to Matsha. So if anyone knows of anything about climbing Kili then please let me know!

Week 10

This was our last full week in Kang so was a week of tying up loose ends and saying some very emotional goodbyes! We were drastically trying to sort out things for a meeting and inspection at TXY. The first half of the week was spent stalking people from the Brigade to sort out some kitchen shelves..... we had arranged with them to come almost everyday for the past 3 weeks and everyday they came up with some stupid excuse. So on Thursday we basically cried in Malatsa’s office then frogmarched him and Baruti to TXY and watched them put up the shelves. 
Wednesday we all had to get up super early to be at Motaung by half 7 for an assembly where we would say bye to the kids. It was all fine until Emmanuel told us how much he was going to miss us then we all shed a small tear. On Thursday we had a children's tea party planned at TXY so we could say goodbye to the kids there. It was so much fun, We made English style party food like sandwiches, crisps and fatty treats then attempted to get them to play pass the parcel..... they were so rubbish Patty ended up pretending to pass it from each child, opening it for them then just giving them the sweets! However, once we got into musical statues and musical bumps everything got competitive and Massi got so into it she ended up beating a small 4 year old girl! Thursday was also our leaving party from Kang - one of the teachers from Motaung is an actual DJ so as our leaving present he set up all his DJ equipment on our porch and provided the music. We actually had a DJ on our porch at our party it was epic! 
Friday we all turned up to TXY a little worse for wear - Massi included, and started sorting the finance reports from 2011/2012 which was such a ball ache and basically took all weekend.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Week 9

Monday we were in Gab’s for meetings sorting out our ideas and applying for our partner costs. Partner costs is the money we get from Skilllshare that goes to the organisation we work for; in our case for TXY. We had to propose our ideas then say how much we wanted then see if it was viable. Patty and Massi had said how much they needed stationary for the school and gave us a list of the things they needed most. TXY has about 5 pencils that are about a few centimeters long, 1 small piece of rubber and a sharpener that doesn’t work. So off we went into Gabs to compare prices for various items and try and blag some discount. We had to wait until Tuesday to go buy everything as the banks were closed so we couldn’t cash our checks. Tuesday morning we went to the bank and got 1500pula cash ..... I felt so rich with this big wad of money however its only about £140! We went back to buy all the stationary we had sorted from the day before then Wairimu took us shopping for warm clothes as all of a sudden it has gotten freezing! I know its Africa and it’s meant to be hot but seriously its nippy! I found some leggins for 15 pula and they looked passable so I got them..... however when I tried them on at home they are horrific! They are shiny grey with stirrups and do not even cover my arse, I spent the whole of Wednesday flashing my arse to the whole of Kang, pulling them up every 2 steps!
Wednesday at TXY me and Esther went shopping for the materials needed for the kitchen shelves and some paint to finish the sick bay. So next week if the Brigade fail us again were getting on DIY and fixing shelves then attempting to be artistic and paint a sea scape on the floor. In the evening we went to this guy called Aslan’s farm for brai (BBQ). He has a trophy head of a Gemsbok on his living room wall so we all posed for photo’s with it then he wipped out his gun. The delight on Faye Tray’s face when he offered it to her for a photo was hilarious..... let me say that we all make fetching hunters! We chilled around the fire and ate food. The stars and sky are so amazing out here, you can see all the galaxy’s and tonnes of stars. Me and Faye saw a shooting star on our way to the toilet! We’ve become such geeks just stargazing every night but you can’t imagine how beautiful it is until you have seen it yourself!
Thursday we had a meeting with the VDC to give in the report about the past TXY pupils and how they have progressed through the local primary schools. Hopefully we will be meeting them early next week to formalize a contract between them and TXY for future support for the school. We helped in lessons again today, maths and english. Esther gave Massi a yogurt that she didn’t want and all the kids lined up so that they could have a taste of it. TXY can’t afford to feed the students everyday so on these days the kids that can afford it bring their own food; the “rich ones” as Patty described them. Its easy to tell on days like these which are the Basarwa children (who get schooling for free as they are traditionally hunter-gatherers and bushmen who don’t go to school, so education is offered to them through TXY for free to encourage them to go to school) and the children who pay to go (just normal Kang residents). Two little Basarwa kids sat either side of one girl and every time she looked away stole a handful of her food. We sat with the kids while they ate their lunch in the playground and I was surprised by how they shared everything so the kids who didn’t have anything to eat still ate. 
Friday we did the regular stuff at TXY. On the way home from work we saw men slaughtering goats for the funeral of one of our neighbours on the Saturday. Emma went over and offered to help skin the head, it was fairly disgusting and I was swiney because on thursday a chicken coughed at me at TXY so left her and went home with Faye. About half an hour later Emma walked through the door with goat balls in her hand and went “if I cook them will you eat them with me?”! She came back about 15 minuets later with these goat balls on a plate...... we all tried a bit. For future reference goat ball tastes like tough chicken and the middle bit like boiled egg yolk! In the evening we went back to Abraham’s game reserve again. We toasted marshmallows on the fire and made schmores. Then went jackal hunting with Stefan and Christy, unfortunately we didn’t catch anything because I was in charge of the gun and was to busy staring at the jackal to pass the gun :S however I did look down the barrel of a gun at an African Wild Cat.  We saw the cutest baby Springbok just walking down a track .... it beast Bambi hands down! Again me and Faye Tray were massive geeks and star gazed .... we saw so many shooting stars! There is nothing like sitting in the middle of the Kalahari desert on a jackal hunt watching shooting stars, I will definitely never forget tonight.
On Saturday Christy woke us all up with tea and biscuits in bed. We then went to the cattle post to catch the horses so we could go on a horse ride around the farm.  It was fairly sketchy at first as I’ve not ridden a horse for years but as soon as I was sure the horse wasn’t going to throw me off or gallop away it was actually really fun. We trotted along with the dogs and watched an Eagle hunting. The farm has some camels; one of which is tame and called Lulu. When Faye and Christy went on their ride first me and Emma pretty much crept up on the camels trying to get good pictures - we were scared it was going to attack us or something then as it walked towards us ran and jumped over the fence to safety and hid. Then Christy got back, hopped off her horse and sat on its back; we had no idea it was tame until then..... our explorer style video we made about the savage camel isn't so cool anymore! Lulu the camel was such a joker and helped us get some hilarious camel based pictures. We sat on her, made her wear a hat and then she spat in my face and started to lean on me, then gave Faye a hug. Seeing as England were playing South Africa at Rugby (and the guys are South African originally) we went on a game drive in the afternoon. This time we saw ground squirrels, loads of eagles, springbok, jackals, bat eared foxes, wilderbeast and some gemsboks. I also caught a poacher! I made Christy stop the truck as me and Faye had spied something, we stopped and I wipped out the binoculars, saw it was man and went “oh its just a person” really disappointed that it wasn’t anything exciting. Christy was like “WHAT!!!” so we radioed in then had to speed back to the house. Me and Faye were like little detectives after that as we found the footprints in the sand and followed them. Unfortunately I don’t yet know what happened with the whole poacher as we had to go home that evening but I will keep you posted! Neal, the most hilarious man in the world, who lives at the game park made us Blue Wilderbeast horn napkin holders so hopefully I will be able to sneak them through customs.
Sunday we were woken up about 8am by rowdy boys knocking on the windows trying to wake us up! They all had these home made guns so we were hiding inside scared we were going to get shot at! There was one little boy sat on his own outside and after like an hour of watching him being like “have you seen the spike on the end of the gun!” and stuff Emma went to talk to him. It turns out the guns don’t actually fire so we were safe and just being dramatic. Him and his Dad made the guns and he gave some to his friends who took them then said they didn’t want to play with him so Emma invited him in and sat drawing with him for a bit. He was the sweetest kid ever, we went into the lounge and he went to put something in the bin then we heard him sweeping the kitchen floor, he said it was to say thank you for the sweets and drinks! In the evening we went to Gitu’s house as him and his wife made us an Asian feast :) It was amazing!!!!

Week 8

Adele had bus qualms again today ..... we missed the first one, then as she went to get on the second bus she cut her finger open and had to get off! So she came to Motaung with us. There was no lessons today so we went with Mr T to help out with tea break and showed Adele round. It was good to let someone else see our placement and introduce them to some of the kids we have worked with, it made me appreciate it more knowing that she had seen it. The most disstressing moment I’ve had in Botswana happened today aswell.... we dropped Adele at the bus stop then got the bus back into town. The conducter man asked me how I was so I was like “oh wonderful thanks, how are you?” and we said “I am ill becasue I saw you!” :O.... its safe to say I will be making more effort when I go out now.
Tuesday I had my history lessons at Matsha again. This week was on Versialles and WW1 peace treaties..... a blatent hoot and a half. Wednesday we went to TXY and helped with maths lessons and english lessons then I cought the bus to Gabs so I could meet the Queen. 
Thursday was the party at the British High Commissioners house for the good old Liz’s birthday and jubilee in one. I went shopping with Callum in the morning so he could attempt to buy shoes for his massive feet but seeing as all the men in Botswana are dwarfy he had to squeeze into a size 10 .... It was so swanky, the food was amazing and we met some pretty important people but the best bit was the free pims! Sadly, Liz couldn’t come which was a shame but it was still amazing and has helped me decide that I will dedicate my life to becoming a socialite extrodinaire and just go to rich peoples parties all the time.
On Friday I went back to Kang with Adele and Nikita. We got the 6am bus, it was horrible, I fell asleep and a small child apparently spent the whole journey wacking me on the head with a bottle .... the little beast! Nikita was in Kang this time last year and has come back to Botswana for a month so came to visit friends. Its been cool going around Kang with someone who knows it just as well as the four of us. Friday night we went searching round the back of the house for fire wood and came back with a few bits of tree.... however Reggie sorted us out so the “fire fairy” Adele was on it like a tramp on a sandwich with her duties once again. We had a fire and drinks and music and just chilled. I will miss fire so much back home, I’m planning on building a fire pit in my Dad’s garden.
Saturday we all got semi-hungover brunch at Kang’s Kitchen - fat cakes and soup = the best hangover cure ever! There was a talent show on at Matsha so we headed down to check it out, it was meant to start at 10am, we rocked up at 1 and it still hadn’t started, it ended up starting about half 4 .... The Botswanan’s are down with time keeping! Despite the hefty wait the talent show was actually really good and the kids of Kang are epic dancers. It was a small piece like African big fat gypsie wedding at some points :S
On Sunday Massimonyani from TXY came round for tea with her son Joseph and Gabelo (Patty’s son). We had tea and biscuits like proper elderly women but it was really good hanging out with Massi outside work. Today was a sad day as we had to give our puppies Biggy and Nala back to Simon as we had to go to Gabs for meetings and didn’t know how long it would take! After the distressing farewell to the dogs we got the bus back to Gabs. I got my third KFC in a week and the staff remembered me! One lady actually came out from the back to say Hi to me ....... I think I need to start being less of a fatty and avoid KFC in future!

Week 7

Monday was my 18th birthday ... again :). We were still at Abraham’s game park. These guys call it a farm but the African definition of farm is somewhat different to the British one. Me and Faye had shared a room and woke up soooooo cold it was as if we were in the Arctic tundra not the African desert! So we slithered out of bed and built up the courage to get dressed then shivered over to get coffee! Christy had made me the most beautiful necklace for my birthday so I had something to remind me of where I spent my birthday. Then everyone sang happy birthday around the table at breakfast. Unfortunately we had to leave early so we could get back for work so we headed back to Kang. Abraham drove us the long way out to see if we could see anymore animals; we saw some Ostriches with babies strolling along then saw Zebra and Wilderbeast charging across the pan - it was amazing and the type of thing you expect David Attenbourough to be narrating. 
Tuesday we had to wait home for the plumber as our bath gives us electric shocks so today was fair boring. In the evening we decided to go to Kings and Queens one of the bars in Kang for a drink for my birthday. It was such fun! We put Uptown Girl by Westlife on the jukebox on repeat to harass Faye Tray as its her favorite song ...... it’s not, but its hilarious when you dance like no-one is watching (LOL). It is definitely the song of Botswana!
Wednesday we were at Motaung making plans with Mr T for Motaung’s Got Talent. We put up all the posters around the school only to find them pulled down the next day - after repeating the process for about a week with the same results we gave up on the talent show as the school was being douschy about it!
Thursday and Friday were mid placement reviews which we’re not allowed to talk about as they are confidential but it was all good as we weren't sent home :)
On the Friday Kenny, Neel, Callum, and Adele came down for my party. We got back from reviews early so just spent Friday playing in the sun in the garden. Neel was such a drunken mess! I beat everyone at centurion :D Saturday we went to the Salt pan and took some hilarious pictures and then got lost in the bush on the way back home. Saturday night was my party of which I can remember little other than that tonight I beat Neel at centurion but lost to Callum :(.... apart from that all I remember is waking up on Sunday to Adele downing a can of black label, the classy sophisticated woman that she is! Sunday everyone went home but Adele who had bus qualms so we went back to the salt pan to sunbathe then just monged out at home and went to bed about half 8 because we are so hardcore!

Week 6

This week was pretty standard in terms of placement, just taught guidance and counseling lessons at Motaung on Monday then school was cancelled Tuesday due to exams so we spent the day making plans. We finally got our next allowance a week late and I went straight to the Meat Market and bought 17 Black Cats (the worlds most amazing chocolate bar) so that I could have a hefty supply as we ate every single green and red black cat in Kang in the first two weeks of placement so I wanted to be prepared for when the inevitable happened and selfish other people bought them all! Thursday there was no lessons at Matsha again so we made plans (exciting times!). However Friday was distressing as I taught my first ever history lesson! The Matsha history teacher got transferred so they have 2 teachers for 2000 students so to save the day I stepped in and now have my own two form 5 European history classes :S! This week was on the Balkans and bought back some hilarious memories of Alevel history..... its safe to say I am a massive geek and clearly was a massive keen bean in front of the kids!
Saturday Esther had the P.A.C.T kids round from Motaung for a bonding workshop...... Me Emma and Faye basically hid inside then snuck out into town as it was not the time for 30 rowdy 15 year olds! The whole thing went well until one of the kids stole a cigarette from Esther’s hand-bag and they all got sent home early. We bumped into them walking back from town and they warned us that she was maaaaad! 
Sunday was epic. Emma and Esther had met this man called Abraham in town ages ago who said he owned a Game Reserve and wanted us to come for a game drive so after weeks of excitement today was the day! The ginger Afrikaans came and picked us up and we were in the back of the pick up truck for the 40ish km drive - driving in the back of a pick up is so much fun, so long as its only for about 10 mins, by the end of it we all looked like we had lost a fight with a hedge!. Abraham and his family have to be the kindest most welcoming family I have ever met, they went to so much effort to make us feel welcome and gave us such an amazing experience. And man can his wife bake - I think if I lived there I would be fully obese from cake. Their kids Stefan and Christy took us on a game drive and we saw Wilderbeast and Vultures...... apparently we went to the wrong side of the farm as the others on the otherside saw everything! We did however glance through the fence into the Central Kalahari Game Reserve which is the second biggest game park in the world! After feeding the goats and playing with the babies we went back and ate Wilderbeast for dinner around the camp fire.... wilderbeast actually tastes amazing, Sainsburys needs to put in an order! After food we ate more amazing cake - milk pie - I’m not allowed dairy but this was so worth it. We went on a night drive and saw wilderbeasts, zebras, owls, bat eared foxes, jackals, spring hares (which look like foxes with no front legs and hop along like kangaroos!) and a wide variety of deer/antelope based animals. Stefan ran over a bird with the truck and we all screeched from the roof for him to stop so he reversed so we could get pictures of the squished corpse but when he reversed the bird was just stood under the car all casual then waltzed off as if nothing had happened! The night drive was awesome, there was no lions and stuff as its more of a hunting game reserve rather than a Safari but it was still fun. It was nice having someone put so much effort into making you feel welcome and making sure that you had a good time that it didn’t matter that I never got to skip through the bush with a baby lion and a zebra!