Week 19 - Its finally here. The last FGASA exam.
Mopani, South Africa
Monday 14th - Friday 18th
Monday was Nicky's assessment, and we spent the first three hours as guests on the vehicle. When she was about to drop us off however, JP asked us to stay on and continue the drive to see how good her 4x4 skills were. She drove along roads I would never have dreamed of driving here, and we all thought she had done amazingly, but for some unknown reason she was not passed, and so she will go and be tested at a reserve near her home. It was unfortunate but at least that evening we were able to enjoy ourselves a bit and had a bush dinner courtesy of group A. It wasn't quite a bush dinner seeing as it was really windy and so we had it at the house, but they had all gone to amazing effort and we dined on a lovely salad, potjkie and jelly with custard. It was a nice evening, though it was a little weird being waited on by our peers and not have them join us instead. Riaan then got out Evan's guitar and sung us a song in Afrikaans, all I understood of it was something about poo and a toilet but it was meant to be an amusing song anyway. It was a lovely evening, and tomorrow night it is Group B's turn to do the bush dinner, fingers crossed ours goes as well as tonight did.
This morning I got up early and started preparing food for the bush dinner, then I went into town with Sheldon and we got the few ingredients that we were going to need (the boys wanted me to make chocolate brownies so I had to go and get some chocolate for it). Once we got back I tried to cook for the dinner, but the power kept going out! I was so worried that the food would not be cooked in time, and while the brownies were in the oven the power went off again, then came back on and they set on fire! Thank god I had fire training though, so I got it put out pretty quickly. Seeing as we were then quite far behind with the cooking I got the boys to cook the roasted vegetables in the big dishes on the braai with the chicken, and they actually turned out beautifully. The other boys went and set out the bush braai down in the drainage line behind the house. They set up some tables with beautiful decorations of flower arrangements and glittering pieces of mica, then they set up two huge fire dishes wither side of some logs that they stood up to make a fiery gateway to the dinner. It looked stunning, and they had done a fabulous job.
Eventually though it was time for everyone to go down to the drainage line and get their welcome drinks. We started them off with sangria and then they all sat up to the table while Evan played guitar by the firelight. I then went to the table to introduce the menu for the evening it was roasted butternut, feta and freshly picked lettuce for the starter, braaied chicken, Mediterranean roasted vegetables and rice for dinner, and then chocolate brownie and ice cream for pudding. So I stayed back at on of the tables we had brought all the food to and plated it all, while the boys kept guard and hosted the group. It was really fun to see that everyone had enjoyed the food and sat there chatting and having a really nice evening. Then once we had finished and brought everything back in, our group sat around the table and plated the rest of the food that I had set aside and we munched our way through it all (especially the last of the chocolate brownies!). It was a great night, again just a shame that we weren't all able to sit together to enjoy it.
On Wednesday I got up early and Katy was going on her extra assessment drive, she needed some extra people to go with her so I went along on the drive. Today it wasn't stopping at game it was just working on 4x4 skills, and she did really well. We went out for about two hours, going up and down some huge hills and dongas, it was pretty hot so thank goodness we didn't stop at anything for all those long speeches we were doing during our actual assessment drives. Once we got back we waited to find out how Katy had done, and thankfully she had finally officially passed. That afternoon I finished doing my workbook and sat and watched a movie. There was not really a lot more to do because all my work was done and everybody else was doing revision for the FGASA exam, so I pretty much just sat around for the rest of the afternoon doing nothing.
On Thursday there was not anything to do because everyone was revising for the test on Friday. So a few of us went on a drive in the morning. I drove us down South to Makalali to see if we could find the Hyena den and see the cubs, but because we stopped at some other stuff on the way we got there a bit too late in the morning so they had already gone back into the den to get away from the heat. We did see some other cool stuff though, there was a male giraffe that was trying to mate with a female, then we also saw a stem of grass with newly hatched Antlions. They were amazingly cool! That evening not only was I doing nothing, but everyone else seemed to have given up, and were sitting around having a drink instead. I think it got to the point that they had spent so much time revising that they just wanted to get the test over and done with. Well this time tomorrow it will all be done for them, and then it's officially holiday time.
So this morning I got up early to wish everyone good luck for the test and just went to pack for the road trip while I waited for them to finish. They eventually started to slowly to come back into the house and they all felt that the test was so ambiguous that they didn't know how well it had gone. It wasn't like they could dwell over it though because the tests were marked that morning. We went that afternoon to Moholoholo for a lunch with the group from Mahlahla. It was a lovely afternoon spent in the company of the others while we drank and ate and talked about how excited everyone was about placements. I also had a talk with Sophie that afternoon about placements and to see if they would actually sort something out, so fingers crossed she actually tries to help out. Then that evening after we had got back to the farmhouse, I spent much of the evening hanging out with everyone and celebrating the end of the course, but then Ben and I had to go and pack for the road trip we were to embark on the very next morning. Oh I was so excited, that by the time I went to bed I could hardly get to sleep, it was like waiting for Christmas morning!
Right, well, the rest of the week off blog is going to be split into sections depending where we are etc, so that is it for this week, and gear up for the most epic road trip of the century!