Apologies for the lack of posts these past couple of weeks. Honestly I am not so sure where the past 2 weeks have gone! It is incredible that we find ourselves already at the end of our 5 week orientation program. Only 5 weeks ago we found ourselves, 8 new volunteers from all across the globe – US, UK, CAN, AUS – a group of strangers with a common passion for Africa. 5 weeks down the track we have laughed, cried, experienced ups and downs, saw things that have broken our hearts over and over again, have been impacted in life changing ways and become very close friends in the process. This week we say our goodbyes and head off in the different directions for the next stage for each of us.
Alica from Canada (back row left) will be staying in South Africa to work with the Service Centre in Clau Clau. Dave from the UK (back row centre), Jess from the US (middle row centre), Joe from the UK and Russell from Canada (both lying in the front of the picture) are all headed to Zambia. Leyton from Australia (middle row left) is headed to Zimbabwe and Mariah from Canada (middle row right) and myself are headed to Malawi. We have been enjoying our last week together. The other night we cooked up an African dinner all together– Cabbage, pap and eggs. Very yummy!
We have had a large number of sessions the past couple of weeks meeting with all the different members of the Hands Family, learning more about the roles that everyone plays and understanding to a deeper level how Hands actually works. The next stage for most of us is to now go out into a Service Centre to actually experience the work that is happening on the ground first hand. Its exciting to be moving into our next stage of learning and understanding!
We also spent a number of days back in the community. A highlight of the last week was being able to travel back out to Welverdiend where we spent our Community Stay to reconnect with our families again. It was great to see Thelma again! (In the background of the photo is the building that the Community Based Organisation (CBO) meets in. Every day the kids come to here to receive support from the care workers and to have their one hot meal for the day.
I also had an African hairdressing experience 🙂
And this is a picture of Leyton and I with one of my favourite kids out in a community called Share.
Yesterday morning we climbed Legogote, the mountain opposite the Village where we live. The view from the top was spectacular! Breathtaking to look back down over the entire valley we have the privilege of living in!
I head out to Malawi on Thursday afternoon. So this week is preparation and packing up in South Africa for the moment. I will get a detailed post out about Malawi in the next couple of days… 🙂