Diary - South Africa - week 1
I have started the diary on day 4 so i apologise for the less detailed diary for the first few days. From the airport, we have been take to where we are staying for the next few days, a place called Marsh Memorial home in Rondebosch. So far we have had our induction. Everyone was here and we have started getting settled. we have been to a place called district 6 for lunch and dinner and for a tutorial, meet the faces of people involved with the organisation and got used to our surroundings. We came back and went to play football out in the front area where there's grass with some goals. We came back in to sort out luggage and get in the showers and ready for bed. crashed out late into the night, 40 hours without sleep!! The next morning we were up for 8 to be out for 9 so that we could tour the different placements that we can possibly go on. There were 5 placements possible. We started off heading to a project called MITS in a place called mitchell's plain which involved working with kids in primary school and high school. We joined in with the children (around 7-8) for some small games. They were so cute!! It was in the baking heat and we running around like headless chicken, they weren't even sweating, how? I don't know! From there we went on to the mall for sim cards which for me doesn't even work, this sucked! We then moved onto oasis which was soccer for the homeless. We spoke with the guy running the course and those working with him. We got an understanding of the placement, it sounded pretty good! Definitely interested! We moved onto Hout bay, to see the project there. This one was called the abc project. There we saw a huge dusty field with children having a match and we had a chance to talk with the woman running the project. It's a pilot scheme with children of the area and it was being run by her and two guys called Patrick and Kenny, they knew nothing about coaching. From there we went to a fish market that absolutely hummed!! In the minibus, I thought I was going to heave, smelt nothing like it! Couldn't believe people were walking around casually! The smell gradually faded and came back in waves about every 5 minutes. I had wake and chips from a shop down there and we moved onto a market. I got a Africa top from here and we saw some live acts in the market. There was this dude who danced like a mad man, I like this dancing! From here we went back home to get up for around 8:30 to to be ready for 9 to have a talk with the social workers of marsh memorial, the place we were staying. There job involved taking in children who had been abused at home and were staying there for rehabilitation from these lives. From here we went on to see the amandla project which was another football project. There were people on the AstroTurf pitch who were running a session with children of children aged about 4 to 13, we did some activities which invoked running around like crazy people, it was hilarious! Loved it. We moved on to come back home. Which meant an even earlier wake up. We had to be out for 7:30 which meant waking up around 7! We went to the coaching for hope centre which was built in the legacy of the world cup. It was in a place called kayleicha. One of the biggest townships in south Africa which had around 1 million people living in there. We were learning coaching sessions which related HIV awareness with football. It was run by a guy called Barney who was decent. He was from
Cape town but spoke perfect English and were clued up on our culture, he managed to teach and be funny at the same time, a rare talent! We were out in the community practicing the sessions with around 50 people watching, felt as if we were intruding! As well as this we had a friendly on the pitch against one of the local teams. They were good! We stayed there for a long time and headed back to get ready for a chance to go out to the waterfront which was a lot higher class then I'd imagine. It was on par with west quay, In fact it was probably better! We headed back for 10 for another early morning. We were up for 7 for another 7:30 to go to teach the sessions we had learnt, these were done at the place we had been at for the amandla project. We got through these and found out our placements, me ad Liam got put onto the abc project, we were reluctant as it was our least favourite choice, furthest away from everyone in a self catered homestay. We were not happy but need to see how it goes first, it Involves teaching which we didn't come to do. Patrick did the noble thing and swapped from oasis to this to continue our journey together. Start to finish. This surprised me but gave me a new level of respect for him. I really hope this placement works for us. We arrived, got a quick tour by norman and got a few things to bring back with us. The homestay was a flat in the back of a British man's house called Gerry, he was old and less mobile but seemed to be alright. Let's see what this week brings us! We were up early at around 7 to be picked up for 7:15 to go to the local school called sentinel and meet the principal and be told which grade we will be in the classrooms with, I got grade 9. For the first session we got an English class learning punctuation and acronyms, they were mentioning a football tournament amongst the grades. Not too sure what this will involve. They wanted 7 per team and 10 wanted to be in, not too sure how to pick the players. We weren't able to get the children outside of the class as we didn't have a ball. I spent half the lesson trying to get a ball and we eventually got one. For the second session we were doing culture which was about HIV, AIDS and TB. I was at the back of the class observing. the class weren't listening to the teacher and she was getting angry. She asked me to read out questions on the sheet about symptoms, the class of 43, weren't listening to me, only around 6 that were near me. I asked them to listen and after several attempts I got a few to listen. A bell rang and the teacher said she needed to leave and that it was break. We got outside and tried to organise a small game at break which turned into chaos, not sure how the children went about break times. We chatted to Norman about what had happened. For the next session, I asked the teacher if I could take some children out to coach football for the tournament game the next day, it took some time as all the children wanted to come out and we needed 10. We tried getting the children to do the drills but it took a lot of effort to get them to listen and pay attention. Several times we had to stop and get them listening because they were talking and playing up. We had 15 minutes with them to fit in as much football as we could and then they had an I.T lesson. After this we spoke with two woman involved with the course. We spoke about how unorganised the school was and that we should be doing P.E, not what we wanted to be doing as we would like to do football coaching. We haven't been happy with what we have seen but we have been reminded by those higher up that it will get better and there will be all football. We have rested in mariner's wharf in hout bay. After getting picked up from hout bay, we mentioned our concerns for the placement and had a talk with Norman, he was being unreasonable in my opinion and gave no negotiation and had harsh words for my concerns and we got no-where, he said all placements were the same and if we couldn't do this we should go home and that we had only our own interests and we were here to helps problems and we were making more. He wouldn't listen so the conversation ended. I was livid as we wanted help and were given no negotiation. We came back to the home stay, I was livid that we were not given a say. After getting back, I spoke with Gerry, the owner of the homestay and had a great chat, he understood where I was coming from and said that he will help with our concerns with the placement and also getting back and forth from marsh memorial for the weekends and help within the community to help make an impact, I felt a lot more relieved as we felt lost here and with Norman not helping us, we needed the reassurance. We all got together with Gerry and had the most reassuring chat about everything from what we are doing here throughout the day, how we can help out in the community with projects and negotiation with Norman about communication and the possibility of transport to and from Marsh Memorial from Saturday evening (after Saturday morning football) and possibly stay there till Monday evening. Gerry was very switched on and had so much time for us and we had chats about football, alcohol and general life. He was a top bloke, we headed to the local shop for food for the night. After eating we spent time watching football as well as reading a letter that Gerry wrote to send to cheryl and norman about what we would all like to be done, it was just what we needed. after Patrick and Liam went to bed, I spent more time with Gerry, sharing more personally about each others, again he was very understanding with what I had to say. Very contrasting days, my emotions are all over the place, hopefully this gets settled and we can make the most of the time we have here! This morning I felt in a more optimistic mood that I actually unpacked my things! We couldn't get hold of Cheryl so we couldn't get to the placement in the morning. Gerry came back with his brother and we were able to talk to him whilst organising a lift with cheryl. Cheryl picked us up and we spoke to her and showed her the letter we wrote up with Gerry and she was pleased. We drove back to sentinel school to talk with the English teacher at sentinel who was also on the ABC placement, we spoke with her about our plans and more so about what we had to do to make this successful. After this we spoke with Shane and harpreet about what had happened up until now and what the plans were, he said he skimmed through the letter yesterday and was a bit apprehensive about what had happened yesterday after the talk with Norman. He was relieved to see that we were so much more comfortable and had seen Gerry and was glad to have him being the help that he has been. We spoke about all sorts, what we wanted to do at the schools, the possibility of getting bicycles to get us around school to school, workin with the homeless. getting back to marsh (even if we are paying for it) having a few people come back to Hout bay, we were constantly reminded by everyone we have spoke to about how beautiful this place is and how people will be jealous of here and will want to be here. I am startibg to believe this, the place is magnificant. Also the possibility again of the staying at backpackers lodges at long street (the version of guildhall, but cooler). So much was shared and they welcomes suggestions. We left the discussion with them feeling happy and I can say for the first time that we are looking forward to the placement, we just need to be more assertive and say what we want to do as opposed to what they want because we know what we want to do and it should work, with the great help from Gerry and Cheryl. What we have realised is that we jumped in and assumed there will be some structure whereas we are the ones making it happen. Norman was right for one thing, that this place is a privilege but it has nothing to do with him. With the help from Gerry, Cheryl and the team leaders, we are ready to give this our all!! We headed to checkers, the supermarket for the frugal, like asda, which is around 20 minutes walk away from where we are staying and went about our shop talking so many numbers of price, rand per kg, and how long it will last. It all came to around 350 rand, what we worked out we needed for the week. The most surreal, weird, amazing thing happened, at the checkout an old man approached us asking where we were from and said that it was our lucky day, he paid for the everything and we were just in shock, laughing, smiling and just in disbelief. That saved us a week or mores worth of shopping! We thought we'd treat ourselves to an ice cream each and top up our communal phone . Getting back to the flat we were still in disbelief, unbelievable. We had our second time meeting up with Kenny, one of the men who was running one of the teams, young eagles. He showed us around his township in the inizamo yethi, it was a lot different to what we thought it would be like. It looked like organised chaos. By that I mean, it was organised with things a community should be like but was put together with waste materials. We then went on to see the young eagles training sessions, there's a lot of work to be put in but I think we have what it takes! We have spent some time writing down plans for the training and also had a laugh for a change! Just chilling in the flat, we even caught the real Madrid vs bayern munich game. I have spent the evening sharing puns at every given opportunity, it's been a nice relaxed evening. Tomorrow the plan is to talk with Cheryl and organise a meeting at sentinel school and talk with the other schools too. In the morning we met with Cheryl, who took us to see cynthia and Lindsay to discuss plans in terms of equipment, allowances and plans on the weekend, we are not able to stay at marsh memorial, which sucks but we have made a plan, in terms of when we go there, stay in a backpackers lodge, just stay at marsh till night. After this we showed Lindsay and Cynthia to sentinel school and the Astro turf, they dropped us back at Gerry's. We worked on what we could do in terms of making something for the placement. I came up with the idea of possibly starting an academy here, a smaller version that reaches out to a lot children, can be sustained so future volunteers can take off where we leave it and most importantly, has some organisation to it, that is what we realised was most needed. There is a lot of potential here. We had arranged to meet Cheryl later to collect two bikes to use, for our placement, an idea to help get us around so we drove up to the area she lived in. It was an amazing view to see on the way. We went in the direction of lunduno? Not too sure of the spelling so don't google it! We headed into Cheryl's community which was a gated one which were all built apart on the mountain, they were amazing. We went past her house to her friend's house, it was absolutely stunning, like a house on cribs, they had bikes here that they didn't use. they were better then the bikes we have at home! We rode back to hout bay with the bicycles. It was mind blowing, riding down the mountain at with the most amazing view, I am getting another bike from there tomorrow and I will video the dissent down. Words don't describe what it looks like. After getting back we got our boots on and went to meet Kenny to get a session going with some local children, around 10 years old, we got a few simple drills going which were hard to begin with but they finally got it, after that we went with Patrick to the older group, around 12-14 and made a pitch marked with cones. They had bibs and the balls to use, it was interesting to see how they play matches, they don't like shooting from far, it's just the way they play, this is Africa! (T.I.A) a common phrase you'll hear from here. We came back and got some wine for Gerry on the bikes, me and Liam had to go on the bikes to the 7/11 about 10 minutes away, past checkers. As there are no street lights, some parts were pure darkness, won't be repeating that journey any time soon! We were meant to get some
sauce for rice which we forgot so we popped to the local shop and got marinade, Patrick wasn't pleased and even though it tasted nice, still moaned. We got a text from Lindsay about possibly going to sentinel school tomorrow to get some children for some football lessons as we had to wait until friday for a schedule. We were happy to do this and begun making plans for what to do when we got there.