Time is going so fast here. I’m still loving it, you sort of feel like this has become your life though and forget all about your old one. There are more ups and downs now that we have all settled in, a few minor arguments and things between volunteers. The group seems to have split a bit as well into three groups but I guess that is normal when there is such a variety of people living together. I find it hard as I am living with older volunteers who form one group, but get on really well with the other volunteers my age. I find it hard to spend time with everyone but no-one else seems to find this, I think it’s just because I’m living with the older volunteers even though I’m a lot younger than them and should really be spending time with the other volunteers my age. It’s crazy how busy you always seem to be here even though from about 4.30 in the afternoon we have free time to do whatever we like. I think it’s because there are always people around you, but things like doing your washing always get forgotten about. They have washing machines here though but you have to pay 10 rand per washing machine so it’s better to share with other people when you’re doing a load.
You really start to realise how valuable our coaching is to the children here. For a lot of the schools, our hour and a half coaching session is the only sport they get each week and you can tell by how excited they get when we arrive and how keen there are during the sessions. Some of them are evidently naturally talented too and a few could actually consider trying to be professional. It’s our job to pick out these children and recommend them to the Sporting Academy. At some of the schools, the children are quite badly behaved, bullying each other and there are even some fist fights. We have to respond to this with discipline which I don’t like to do, but then again you can see how you’re actually helping them with their life skills as well and teaching them that this is not acceptable behaviour.
We’re really excited about going to Cape Town this weekend!! The organization have given us the Friday off coaching, and Monday is National Women’s day so we have a four day weekend. We are going to hire four cars and road trip along the Garden Route to Cape Town which is a 6 hour drive. It’s costing about 70 pounds each for the four days plus petrol which is actually very cheap here. The Baz Bus costs about the same price and you can get on and off along the way. If I had more time I would definately take the bus and visit all the towns and sights along the way it looks amazing!!
Along the Garden Route there are so many great places to visit and activities to do! Excluding Storms River which I already mentioned are Mossel Bay, George, Knysa, and Plettenburg bay. There are loads more but these are the main ones. You can also go Ostrich riding at Oudtshoorn which is a few km off the route but looks amazing! It only costs about 6 pounds. I definitely want to do it just for the comedy of it and the photos! We had some trouble with our hire car when a tyre burst, luckily some people pulled over to help us change the tire and we won’t be charged for it as the burst was on the outside and was therefore definitely a fault with the tyre. It was actually really funny at the time, the first thing we did was grab our cameras.
Some of the other volunteers hired cars and visited Plettenburg bay which is near to the bungee jump and along the Garden Route. They said it was a really nice, quiet town where they felt really safe with a nice beach. While there they visited the Garden Route Game Lodge where for 120 pounds each they stayed in luxury huts and had breakfast and dinner included at the lodge, as well as 2 game drives. They absolutely raved about the experience. Also there you can do ocean safaris, whale and dolphin watching and horse safaris. There is also The Global Village, a place of artistic creativity where you can find all sorts of African jewellery, clothing and home decor. Its supposed to be a really tranquil place to visit.
Cape Town was absolutely amazing! We stayed on Long Street, the main backpacker street, in a hostel called Blue Mountain Backpackers Hostel. It was very basic but a great location right opposite The Dubliner, a great Irish bar. It was very loud at night though so not for those who want to go to bed early. Along Long Street was some quirky shops and restaurants too, we had a great Chinese one night and a Mexican the other night, both of which were great and relatively cheap. Cape Town is more expensive than P.E though. We met up with some South African friends of one of the volunteers who had the most amazing apartment on the Waterfront. The Waterfront is a very posh, modernised area with great shopping and seafood restaurants. The nightlife was great in Cape town, butI definately felt more safe in P.E. In the days we visited Table Top mountain which only cost about 14 pounds to go up in the cable car, the views were amazing but make sure you pick a sunny day! We also visited Robben island on a boat which was so interesting to see where Nelson Mandela was held. We went to some markets too, and to Canal Walk Shopping centre which was so hard to find in our cars but well worth it as the shopping was amazing! Some of the volunteers went Shark Cage Diving for about 140 pounds, they said it was incredible and quite scary even though you knew you were safe inside the cage. One of the boys also did a helicopter tour of the city. On the Sunday we visited the penguins at Boulders Bay in Simons Town which was a little drive away but well worth it – the penguins were so cute!! It was a fantastic weekend. However, I would recommend maybe staying on for a week or so after your placement and taking your time to travel down to Cape Town stopping off at places along the Garden Route, there was so much to see and do that I would have loved it. A lot of the volunteers do this so chances are you will be able to travel with some friends you make on the placement if you don’t want to travel alone. Booking your flight home from Cape Town is a great idea!
For more information on this and other placements, check out http://www.volunteervacations.co.uk, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a ring on 01483 331551/01483 203405/07833 208158.