VOLUNTEER BLOG IN SWAZILAND: Bethany Neave – Preparing the Christmas Shop

The shop is coming along nicely now and all the painting is well on its way to being finished. The rollers that we have to use in the shop are shit  – there is no other word for it –  yes,  they get paint on the wall but also paint everywhere else!  Linda and I looked like we had some sort of red and green spotted skin disease all over us.The Gables shopping centre is very nice and Naomi said as she dropped me off that it was one of the nicest ones in the whole of Swaziland, I could see why.  The shops were all so cute and the wooden outside windows and the clean and modern look of the whole place was brilliant.

The Gables, Swaziland

I was taken to the shop by Linda who dropped off me and Bernard to continue with the painting of the shop and to put the second and final coat of paint, finally getting rid of cockroach orange and poo brown.  I am a good painter but due to the rubbish rollers it was a good thing that we had put a lot of paper down on the floor and many things had to be corrected once dry!

Linda had a meeting with the land people to see if they were confirmed to get the big yes to own the land.  (Michael and Linda are buying a piece of land and will be building a new house/office for SKRUM with their own volunteer accommodation in the garden which will work really well)  I had been at the shop with Bernard and another girl until she arrived.  To my delight, she had brought Ming with her and he is the cutest thing and just went exploring to every corner of the shop.  It was good news and Michael and Linda are now official land owners in Swaziland!!! Congratulations!!!

Once Linda had made sure all the painting was to a good standard,  she and I went about choosing the layout for the sign that is to be placed above the shop. The one from the year before saying ‘Christmas Emporium’ in a similar font with Christmas baubles hanging from the top was just amazing and finally she decided to keep that one and I thought this was a good decision and should look brilliant.  After arranging the shop some more and having a few more visitors, we had some tea and them packed away.

Once returning home, we quickly got together the ice bucket, champagne that we had brought earlier and set off to the land to celebrate properly.  Nadine, a good friend of Linda’s, Richard, their architect and the guy who owns the rest of the land all came along to celebrate too.   People who had not met before were introduced and I introduced myself as Winnie!  It just came out and Linda and Michael fell about laughing.

It was a surreal moment as we looked around and a ginger horse was trotting down the hill towards us like a dog.  We asked Richard what it was called and he said ‘I don’t actually know’ so we all agreed that this was a great name of a racing horse and that was its name to us.  After it stood there for a bit getting stroked it decided it was thirsty so started to drink from the ice bucket almost knocking the whole table over!

I quickly took some photos of this and there is a great one where the ice bucket looks like a trophy and Linda and Nadine have just won with their horse ‘I don’t actually know’!

Michael had decided not to get out of the car so Nadine sat in his wheel chair and consequently nearly ended up falling over as they tried to do a wheelie!  It was a stunning  evening and we all stayed there chatting, drinking and watching the sunset behind the mountains which was absolutely stunning!

Once returning home and having some food it was time for bed!

(Bethany is in Swaziland doing a volunteer placement with the charity SKRUM which involves rugby coaching, painting the charity’s logo on the outside of schools, AIDS education, being part of the team and  getting involved in all aspects of running this wonderful charity)

Bethany Neave



0044 1483 3315521 / 0044 7833 208 158


About www.volunteervacations.co.uk

We send gap year students, university students, families, people on Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and people on career breaks to coach sports, teach and work in orphanages, work in marine conservation, primates conservation, land conservation, looking after rescued jungle animals, animal welfare, women's empowerment programs (sewing/fashions), men's empowerment programs (carpentry, plumbling, electrics, DIY), medical shadowing (doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists), after schools clubs, reaching out to underprivileged children and adults in South Africa, Kenya, Swaziland, Mozambique, Ghana, Ecuador and The Galapagos, Thailand and India. In Swaziland we offer bespoke rugby coaching placements with the charity Skrum where volunteers (18 ) can take their Level 1 rugby coaching certificate and then travel on to other placements and coach rugby. In India, the placements are suitable for families and undeer 18's are accepted providing they are accompanied by an adult. India is also suitable for Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. We also offer building renovation and reconstruction in India in July. India placements can be from 2 to 12 weeks.
This entry was posted in AIDS in Africa, AIDS in Swaziland, rugby charities in Africa, rugby coaching in Africa, SKrum, sports coaching abroad, Swaziland rugby, The Volunteer Experience, Volunteer rugby coaching abroad, volunteer rugby coaching in Swaziland and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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