FC: 2011 By Natalie Hirst
1: South Africa 2011
3: Natalie Hirst Amy Wilson Shannan Anderson Katie Marshall Alex Goddard Leah Keegan Jemma Jackson Amber Danks Chelsea Codd Georgina Bailey Regan Stancill | Joe Slater Joshua Hoyland Joshua Saxton Brandon Murdock Harry Tate Ms Stone Mrs Ward Tricia Young Mr Gillott Tim Ellis Nick Waterfield
4: Chaucer, We are from Chaucer , We are the boys and girls from Chaucer, We come to greet you with hands of friendship, This is our message to you!! | Thank you Mboniselo, Thank you for making us so welcome, We are so greatful for your kind welcome, This is our thank you to you!!
5: It's me, You, Us, love, God that builds community, It's me, You, Us, love, God that builds community, It's me, You, Us, love, God that builds community, | We all build community!! | Na Na Na | Rolling over the ocean, Rolling over the sea, Here at Motherwell we build community...Hey! Rolling over the ocean, Rolling over the sea, Here at Motherwell we build community!.
7: Journey There | Today is the day!! :) | We all had to be at school today for 11:30 to get checked in with all of the teachers, Mr Gillott was late as usual, 5kg over baggage allowance and he wore jeans. He managed to do all of the things he told us not to do! | The coach ride down to Heathrow was okay because we were all exited about the 2 weeks ahead. We all had a laugh, sang songs and generally had a great time! | We're at Heathrow now and still on a high! We board the plane in 15 minutes... South Africa here we come!!!
9: Day One- Cape Town | We were greeted by Tim from Face Africa, our tour guide/ first friend :) | We then headed to the lodge for lunch and to see where we would be sleeping for the next two nights..Then off to table mountain we went. | The walk at first was easy along the top of table mountain, the view was absolutely amazing!..Then it became difficult when we reached steep slopes and boulders, it was really scary because if you fell you fell down the side of the mountain. | We reached the very top of the mountain, it was such a big achievement because we were walking for ever an hour in the sweltering heat. | Later that evening after we had recovered from the hike Tim was back with information on the past of South Africa and to prepare us for the next few weeks ahead.
10: Classic Zebra Crossing :)
11: Today was a long day... This morning we traveled by boat to Robben Island to have a Island visit as well as see the prison | Day Two- Robben Island & Cape Peninsula | We were taken around the prison by an ex-prisoner called Jhamma, he was arrested for his beliefs and served 5 years in the prison. We saw the cell where Sir Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 out of his 27 year sentence. It was eye opening because the cell was the size of a small box bedroom. | After our Robben Island visit we went to Cape Peninsula national park where we hiked to the very southern point of Africa,again the view was amazing | We then went to Boulders beach to see the South African Jackass Penguin
13: Day 3- Tsitsikamma National Park | We were woken even earlier at 6am this morning to travel to the Eastern Cape. Its going to take a 12 hour drive to get to Port Elizabeth so Tim decided that it would be best to travel in 2 days. We passed through mountains, over rivers. We arrived at Tsitsikamma National Park at 5:30pm. | We were then put into partners for what is our first night camping by the ocean in Africa. I am paired with Jemma, we put the tent up...WRONG so Tim had to sort it out for us. | Now we are all sat around the campfire waiting for dinner, I can hear the sound of the waves washing up again the rocks...Its beautiful!
15: Today we went to storms river adventure park to go on a canopy tour of the forest | Day Four- Tsitsikamma | At first i was really scared about doing it because I didn't know what to expect.The wires were suspended 40m in the air but I did all 10 of them! apart from nearly breaking my neck on a tree it was fantastic | This afternoon we went to the Storms River Mouth Suspension bridge. It was really amazing and the views were fantastic! The hike back was hard but still amazing! It still doesn't feel real that I am in Africa...I can't believe it | The sunset was spectacular!
17: Day Five- Port Elizabeth | Today we traveled to Port Elizabeth for the main part of our expedition. We arrived at The Willows campsite at 12;30PM | After changing tent partners and sunbathing a maasai warrior came to talk to us about his past. Miyere Is walking the 'ultimate walk of humanity' this is him trying to promote the belief of open living, and the celebration of everyone being unique in there own way. Miyere believes that you don't need to carry identification with you because the only form of identification you need is your thumb print. Because he believes this, he doesn't carry I.D so he has been imprisoned that many time he's lost count! | Miyere is now walking from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt and then to Morocco!!
18: The traditional African dancing was different but great at the same time.
19: Day Six- Welcome to Mboniselo | This morning was a hard morning. We had a tour of Port Elizabeth and the local townships. | Don't get me wrong the city is beautiful but seeing the townships first hand was really difficult for me because I felt as though I take what I have at home for granted and that upset me, | This afternoon I was excited for our welcoming at Mboniselo. It wasn't at all what I expected, the community was so welcoming it was overwhelming. I have never experienced anything like this before! | All in all today has been a day that I will never forget. I felt warm and content inside for the first time in a long time. | Even though we had to see the townships this morning I think it was a vital part of the expedition because to really see the real South Africa you need to see the poverty first hand.
20: Tim and Mr Gillott doing 'Traditional' African dancing.
21: Day seven- Games with Mboniselo | In the afternoon we played with the students from Mboniselo. | Tim and the Chaucer boys lost their football match. Ill give credit where it's due they couldn't tackle so well done boys! (and Tim). | The girls on the other hand won their match with Ms Ward as the keeper, so in my opinion girls are better than boys but for some reason they don't agree. | I sang, Danced, Skipped and played games with the students all afternoon, it was great to get to know the kids.
23: Day Eight- Amakhala | Today we again got up early to go to Amakhala Game Reserve for a game drive and after nooon learning sessions with the students from Mboniselo. | The game drive was truly amazing, I saw Elephants, Giraffe, Antelope and Zebra. I have never seen anything like this before. I LOVED IT !! :D | The afternoon sessions were interesting too, we learned about the differences between Cheetah and Leopard.
24: After being in Africa for just over a week we made the regional paper!
25: Day Nine-The Work Begins! | Toady was the first full day at Mboniselo :) | Once the trenches had been dug out we had to clear the patches for the compost to eventually be placed, but we faced a big problem- about 2m underneath the surface we kept hitting boulders , so Tim and Paul had to Hire a Jack Hammer to get them out. | At lunchtime we got to sit with the kids and things got a little out of hand. The Mboniselo children got a little too excited and started been cheeky with the girls, pulling tops down and pinching bums! | After a long hard day in the heat we packed up at 3pm. We were all ready to got to sleep and be 8pm we were all in bed! | ZZZZ
27: Day Ten- 2nd Day of Work and Stadium Tour | Today was mainly digging trenches again. Me, Amber, Mr Gillott and Tim were focusing on trying to get yet another boulder out! | We then went to the world cup stadium for a guided tour, it was great but Alex would have absolutely loved it. The only downside was, was that we were all filthy! | Me, Alex, Leah, Regan, Josh, Georgina, Nick and Ms Stone later that night went to the local methodist church in Motherwell. We were greeted with songs and dancing. Nick gave a tear jerking speech. (yes I cried) | Ms Stone being the amazing teacher that she is treated us to Nando's because Tim persuaded her that it was 'traditional'....THANKS TIM :D
29: Day Eleven- Final Day of Work! | Today was our final full day of work at Mboniselo! | We mostly shaped and prepared flower beds with compost ready for the seedlings tomorrow. | There was a special assembly held this morning. There was one song that they sang for the head teacher for some reason our teachers think that they should be greeted like this...I don't think so :) The assembly was held because we donated football boots and kits, paper and pencils. The children were so excited to get new equipment, it was great to see them all so happy.
31: Day Twelve- Goodbye Mboniselo | The farewell ceremony was full of speeches, singing and dancing it was great but sad at the same time. | Our finished Garden!! | At the end I cried because I could see what a difference we had made to the children at Mboniselo.
33: Day Thirteen- Addo Elephant Park | Tonight will be our last night under the African sky, I can't bare thinking about leaving tomorrow although I miss my mum I feel at home here. | Tonight Tim said his goodbye speech to all of us which was really nice, Me and Katie then gave him a card and a T-shirt with a Pub crawl map on it ( I think this will come in handy in may) :)
34: The first time I have ever seen Elephants in their environment up close!
35: Day Fourteen- Goodbye South Africa | We got up at 5:30am to go on a game drive which was amazing! | We all said our individual goodbye to Tim, Henriette and Mr Hopa at the airport which was hard because even though I was smiling I really didn't want to leave . | :'(
36: Mr Hopa is the best head teacher EVER! he loves and cares for his students so much
37: Mboniselo | Primary | School | I absolutely love this school, even though th students have nothing everybody is so happy and content. | Together We Can...Build Communities!! <3
38: Chaucer BEC has been one of the first of Face Africa's school and community linking programmes. Experiencing the tourist activities in Cape Town was Amazing but for me helping another community was even more amazing!
39: Tim is the founder and director of Face Africa. | Tim Ellis- Face Africa | I would love to have the opportunity to work with Tim/Face Africa again, this was a life changing experience that was possible because of this company. | Personally I don't think this expedition would have been the same without the support of a fun, enthusiastic person like Tim to guide us on our journey.Thank you for being supportive of all of us and guiding us on our African journey.
41: Paul Miedema- Calabash Trust/Tours | Calabash Tours is one of those small companies that started as an entrepreneurial dream, which became reality through dedication, vision and commitment. Founded in 1997 by a local Port Elizabeth couple, Paul and Thandi Miedema the company has grown from strength to strength. | My experience with Paul and Calabash has been Amazing...Working with this group has opened my eyes to what is really happening in some of the most disadvantaged communities in South Africa. | I would love to work with Calabash again, maybe even volunteer when I am old enough.
42: This expedition has been an AMZAZING, UNFORGETABLE experience mostly because it has opened my eyes to the world. | My biggest achievement was when we finally finished the garden at Mboniselo. This is because that was the moment that I felt that I had really made a difference. | If I have a problem in my life I see it as the end of the world. In South Africa I realized that people and communities face much bigger and more serious problems everyday, but you still see them walking around in their Townships with huge smiles in their faces. | I am really proud of myself for not backing out of the expedition when it got tough because in the end with was worth all the effort! | I have realized that I take the small amenities like water, heat and electricity for granted | I will never, ever forget the staff and children from Mboniselo, they were so open to new experiences, they were cute and funny but cheeky at the same time.
43: Reflections | On this expedition I have learnt to think about what I have in life, do I really need them or do I think I need them? I have also learnt not to take my family for granted, even though I don't see my dad he is alive and well, some children have lost both parents because of disease. You never know how long you have with your family, even if I only see them once a year because they live in a different country I will treasure every minute. | Been back at home it has made me think about what I want to do in life, where I want to go and really what I want from life itself. It sounds silly because I am 15 and teenagers change their mind but its true. | I would like to say a huge thankyou to everyone here in the UK and South Africa that made this expedition possible, You have ALL truly changed my life
44: Hopefully I'll be back in 2013!!! | :D