Sorry, I haven’t posted in so long! Just as my mum gives my whole family my blog address I decide to take a two month break! That’s me all over!
So the Christmas play was a success! They’re remembered nearly all their words and didn’t get too nervous. I think I was more nervous for them! I then had an amazing holiday in Cape Town where I went on a wine tour and got a chance to know my fellow South African volunteers. The 23 hour bus journey either way was an experience I would rather not have again but the holiday in the middle was definitely worth it!
When we got back we started work on the library (which over a month later I am still working on!) And we entertained the kids for the remained for their summer holidays.
I had three days back into term time work before I went to see my boyfriend, Sean, who flew to South Africa for an amazing 9 days in Durban. Now I am back for good (58 days till my parents come out) and I have been working on cataloging over 1000 books for the Clouds of Hope library and now I am putting them back in the library in alphabetical order. Even though this is a fairly tedious task I know it will be very satisfying once I have finished it!!
So that is a brief update of what you have missing in the life of Lauren Green! I will update you in time!
I apologise for any spelling mistakes- this is done on the iPhone just whilst I remember!
Time to blog again!
So life has changed in cottage 11. Our house mum left two weeks again because her mother had to go into hospital so Anna and I have been enjoying the luxuries of indepentent living. Ha! A.K.A we have realised how expensive food shopping is and how if you don’t have a TV books are a life saver. When mum gwiji left she returned the TV we had been borrowing so Anna and I have returned to our tvless life however now we don’t even have the twins to keep us entertained! They have moved into cottage 1 (our neighbouring cottage) and Neliswa has moved into cottage 3 (the cottage opposite us).
Since we have been by ourselves I have had two parcels that we believed had gone missing. Turns out they have been sitting in the Underberg Post Office for the past month which is unbelievably annoying because they were for my birthday and if they were in the right place I would have gotten them in time. Agh!
I also had an amazing delivery and visit from old neighbours of mine, Peter and Sheena! It was so amazing seeing them however very shocking for me. I had been keeping home life and South Africa life very separate up until then but when this amazing visit happened I realised how much i have changed since I was last with Sheena and Peter (which was only a few weeks before I left). I have definitely physically changed- I have grown, I have much longer hair and I am slimmer- but the emotional difference was more obvious to me! When I was last with them I was very much a child. I thought I was mature (which I was for me age) but with the things I have experienced here I have massively matured. I know feel like a young adult, I have truly entered the real world and even though it was a shock to start off with I have settled down into my new life very well. I now feel more ready to tackle anything that is thrown at me.Sheena and Peter also brought me a suitcase full of clothes and goodies from home which has cheered me up so much. Even though I now have the same clothes I had when I was at home, I somehow look different in them. It really is like seeing the clothes on a different person.
Today I got a free taxi ride back to Clouds which was amazimg since it had started raining and I had two very heavy bags of groceries. Old me wouldn’t have the confidence to even get into a taxi but I was very proud of myself. It was very clear why it was free when the taxi driver started asking if I was married so I kindly explained to him that I had just celebrated my four year anniversary with my boyfriend who I trust very much. This he understood and moved on from and we spent the rest of the journey chatting about my work here in South Africa. It feels so strange meeting new people all the time but them already knowing all about me and where I work- that’s what I get for being the outsider in such a small community!
Today Anna and I bought weighing scales and a salad bowl! We have become little domestic goddesses in our time alone in the cottage and it feels so natural now. Sweeping, washing, cooking and cleaning is all part of our daily routine now and it wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t have to do it. Obviously we don’t always love it. Nothing worse then cooking an amazing meal, getting uncomfortably full then walking into the kitchen to find a MASSIVE pile of washing up to do- but that’s life! No one else is going to do it for us. I think that the weather has it in for me though.It has been sunny for the past two days so I did washing and hung it out today and only then did the heavens decide to open! Once again it will take a few days to have dry clean clothes again. I just love Underberg weather (sarcasm).
The kids have gone on school holidays now so majority of the Clouds kids have gone to relatives for a few weeks. This leaves just over 20 kids at Clouds- approx. 40 less than normal so it feel deserted here! With the children left we are going to do a Christmas play. Rehearsals begin tomorrow and the final performance is on the 21st, when some of the other kids are back so they can see it!
Now to make tea! I will let you know how rehearsals go soon!
Soooo much has happened this month but let’s start by getting emotional. I have been flipped on my head since I’ve have been here.I thiught I was mature before I left but that was really tested when I had to do the teaching and pluck up the courage to talk to my host about not liking it. Since I’ve got here all of my opinions have changed. Even my thoughts on male friendships have changed because in the UK you can take it for granted but it is very easy here to give off the wrong impression. Looking after children who have been through traumatic things has also given me a new appreciation for what I have had in my life.
I also haven’t really told you about my typical day so here goes:
7-7:30 wake up
7:30- 8:30 bath and look after babies
8:30- 12.45 work at creche/prepare and do playgroups
12.45-14.00 lunch and baby time
14.00-15.00 playgroup with older ones
15.00-16.30/17.00 homework with underberg primary school girls
17.00 onwards- make tea/have tea/ wash up/ baby time/ bath/reading
Now this month I have turned 18, been to Durban, recieved s parcel, had our bed bug cottage fumigated, clouds had run out of internet and Anna and I lived at the half way house for s week. All of these things apart from the internet has been very positive so it has been a great month. I have spent way too much money and worry about paying for the rest of the year but we will face that when it comes to it. Today I bought the families Christmas’s presents even though I don’t fully believe that it is nearly Christmas! 4 weeks and a day till Anna and I leave to spend Christmas in cape town. During the children’s school holidays Anna and I have planned to do s Christmas play with them. Its gonna be so exciting! After we get back we have just over a week to do trips with them etc till they go back to school.
Apparently George Clooney is filming at Richenau next week so I might go and meet him.
Let’s talk about my first birthday away from home. It was very tough mainly because I was by myself most of the day so I cried with self pity and watched titanic but once Anna and the twins got back things were so much better! It was the weekend after that I counted as my proper birthday though. I was well introduced into adulthood by amazing friends and met even more amazing people. I met one guy called Victor from brazil who was meant to be getting a flight from Jo’burg to Hong Kong on Sunday at 2pm and didn’t try to leave Durban till 4am Sunday morning. I wish i knew if he made it or not.
I know this us a very short update and it doesn’t give my amazing month justice but typing on my tablet is tedious and everything seems so normal it would be strange talking about it. Thanks muchly for reading. Speak to you in Cape Town!
With summer comes the rainy season therefore drying washing is a long process!
Okay, so its basically been a month a since I last posted so time for another update. Its hard to think of things to say because its all become so normal to me. I was thinking the other night that I couldn’t imagine what I would be doing with my life if I were in the UK so its a good thing I am here.
Overthe past month i have started working at a creche in the low cost ewhich is just round the corner from us and it is great. Kids are always throwing up, peeing or being crazy but it feels like it was what I came here to help with. So I have been kept busy between clouds and there creche. Also I have planned a trip to Durban with Jasmine, who is in capos town, and Jack and Tom who are in Tongaat. (I think I’ve spelt that correctly). We are going on the 15th of November so I get to celebrate my birthday in Durban. Its going to be amazing. First travel in South Africa, and by myself! But do not fear, I am using the safe yet pricey Underberg Express. But I am willing to pay a bit more for my safety so all is well. Also Sean has booked his hokidsay to come over here, we are staying at a place called the Goble Palms Guest house (5*) and I get to see him for 9 days!
This ishowever meant to be an update on the work that I am doing so I will get back on topic. I noticed when I came here that dental caries not a priority to many,esoecvially when it comes to children and their baby teeth so this has become oineof my aims to improve. I started this off by buying our twins tooth brushes and tooth paste. They hgave had teeth for a while now but no one was brushing them so I decided to be proactive. THEY LOVE IT! Bandile is a natural, he sits and brushes his own teeth twice a day which I’d cute. Bayanda took a while to get into it but he does it, not too much conplaining from his behalf. He first of all was shocked with the taste of the toothpaste but he is used to it now.
Oh and how could I forget, I got food poisoning! That was fun, I hadn’t been sickdue to illness since primary school so i felt a bit helpless but I got through it, only taking one day off. I have also been told to go to the clinic because I have spots, something I took very offensively.
Jess arrived at Underberg Primary school this month as well and seems to be settling in very well, she’s 19 so I really do feel like the baby of the group, but only 12 days till I’m 18! Woooooo! And 20 days till Durban, 57 days till Cape Town and 86 days till I see Sean. And by that point I will have been here almost 6 months! Crazy! The time is flying by!
Anna spent last night Durban with Richenau so I can’t wait for her to come back and hear all the tales!
And to finish I would like to apologise for all the millions of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. I am typing this in my tablet which is the hardest thing to type on. So until November!
(Pictures to come)
Okay, I’ve been here for over a month so here is for a real update. I have gone through the most emotional journey and things are starting to look up.
So, I got here- by plane obvs. That was very exciting. It was the longest flight I have ever been on and for me my entire travel time was over 24 hours. Then we had orientation which was pretty amazing and allowed me a chance to kinda get to know SA more. We went to the Childrens Memorial Institution which was so amazing. We had our lunch made for us by the children in the autistic school there which I felt very moved by. Then we finally got on our way to our project. The Underberg Gals (including myself) took a six hour bus journey to get here but it was worth it. Our first week was hectic. We were hit with learning new names, a new language and we found out we would be teaching. This was something I really wasn’t expecting so I felt very unsettled to start off with. I feel sorry for Anna- I have cried more over the past month then I ever have before. So our first week was tiresome. We had to get used to getting up at half six everyday to get to school. This is now second nature to us and we feel that half seven is a very long lie in. Finally at the end of our first week we experienced a real South African church service- even though is was now over a month ago I remember it like ti was yesterday. I had no idea what was going on because it was all in Zulu but it i knew that everyone was joyful, happy, singing, laughing and it was not at all like the boring services we were forced to go to in Primary School- no offence Auchtergaven. I loved it and every weekend since we have gone to a different service. I have received the body and blood of Christ at one which was completely unplanned but I felt very cleansed afterwards. I have also been to ‘Church Cafe’ which was so interesting! I am very much a religious novice- I know nothing, but Church Cafe gave me a chance to actually start to understand what is in the bible and what is meant by it- very interesting and historical.
In our first week we also moved in with our house mum and the twins. Oh the twins! Where do I start? I LOVE THEM! The are so adorable and hilarious. They really really helped me through my very emotionally tough time. We have created an amazing bond with them. We just came back from a two day hike today and apparently one of the twins, Bayanda, cried out side our bedroom door whilst we were away. It was so so so so so moving to know that.
Anyway, going back a week or so. We had a week of retail therapy which was amazing. We were allowed to take a day off school to go to Petermartizburg and shop for 9 hours. My version of heaven! I got to buy clothes that I was comfortable in so it really lifted my mood. Then two days after we had cultural day! AMAZING! I got to dress in traditional South African clothing which I personally think I really suit. We saw so much Zulu dancing and got to see the Gun Boot dance which I LOVE! Then we were on holiday- so good after such an intense few weeks. And yes, as I said before I have just come back from a two day hike! Me- hiking in the Drakensburg Mountains- for two days. I slept in a cave for goodness sakes! I am so proud of myself that I managed it though. It was a very emotional experience for me and a great bonding experience for us and the girls we went with. I got to tell them my experience of relationships and how I learnt from past relationships which is why my current one is so successful. It was very interesting to hear their cultural and personal views on many different topics. But now I am completely exhausted and I am going to pop some pictures up of the different things I have spoken about.