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Why the Vrygrond community really needs our help   (published in South Africa)

July 23, 2013 by   Comments(0)

Although our care volunteers are secure and cared for at their placements in the informal settlement of Vrygrond, it is important for us all to remember the daily struggles faced by the residents of the community in order to understand the necessity and impact of the work our volunteers do there.

Pastor James E. Lewis, a respected figure in the community, spent some invaluable time with a group of two week special volunteers last week, alerting them to the realities of the plight faced by the people of the area.

According to Pastor James, the main problems in the area include high unemployment rates, drug abuse, gang violence, and fatherless homes. 

“These people have nothing,” he lamented.  “They will kill you for the money they need to get their drug fix.”

Pastor James’ own son was robbed at gunpoint, and shot through the face when he refused to hand over the cellphone he had worked for months to purchase.  As would be assumed, incidents of this nature are rife at night, when the perpetrators actually steal the cables of the street lights and plunge the area into darkness. 

Pastor James also brought the severity of the area’s sex trade to light.  “I have spoken to 14-year-old girls who hate what they are doing but who feel that they have no choice in the matter,” he shared.  The sex trade syndicates target young girls from poor families, luring them away from home with lucrative employment promises.  Another form of sexual violence prevalent in the area is rape.  Pastor James has counselled many rape victims, including a young girl who was gang raped and is now pregnant with the sixth rapist’s child. 

Pastor James views his church as a home of restoration, where the ...

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Why the Vrygrond community really needs our help
Why the Vrygrond community really needs our help

Mandela Day 2013   (published in South Africa)

July 23, 2013 by   Comments(0)

On Thursday 18 July, South Africa celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday with acts of conscious citizenship. 

The staff and volunteers of Projects Abroad in Cape Town commemorated the occasion by spending the day in the informal settlement of Village Heights, where we assisted the City of Cape Town in a major street clean-up and distributed food to the children of the area.

Village Heights is both an area in dire need and the site of our building project, so it was very special for us to spend the day together there, making a small difference to the community for whom our building staff and volunteers work each day.  

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Mandela Day 2013
Mandela Day 2013

READY FOR TAKE-OFF!   (published in Ghana)

July 23, 2013 by   Comments(3)

Vandaag is het zover! Time to go! Vanmiddag gaan we richting Schiphol en morgen rond 7:00 nederlandse tijd (in Ghana 5:00 uur) hopen we in Accra te landen! Nu wordt het toch best spannend .... Je hebt natuurlijk niet alleen de verantwoordelijkheid voor je zelf, maar vooral ook voor het hele meereizende 'clubje'! Maar o, wat hebben ze er allemaal een zin in! De laatste sticker op ons aftellijstje is zojuist door Naomi opgeplakt, onder begeleiding van de kreet: "YES"...

Afgelopen weekend kwamen we tot de conclusie dat Michael op de vlucht Londen-Accra gewoon een klasse luxer vliegt; een lekker welkomst 'bubble', een lederen stoel en veel ruimte, extra aandacht van de stewardessen ... mmm.... ik denk dat ik die 'bubble' wel kan gebruiken .... (maar dat mag ik natuurlijk niet laten merken aan de anderen die vandaag allemaal hun luchtdoop gaan krijgen ;) )

Gisteren met Meike gepropeerd om in te checken via internet. Of wij snappen het gewoon niet, of er klopt iets niet ... mmm.. misschien beter om op het eerste te houden. Wel jammer, want nu kunnen wij onze stoelen niet uitzoeken ..

De koffers zijn allemaal klaar en ingepakt! Niet meer aankomen en dicht laten zitten tot plek van bestemming! Gisteren gehoord dat we na aankomst direct doorgaan naar ons gasthuis! Dus geen overnachting meer in Accra! Wat mij betreft geen probleem! Hoeven die koffers niet meer open!

Gisteren onze eerste malariapil ingenomen! Rosanne begon er uitgebreid op te kauwen en nam een flinke slok melk, waarop ze vervolgens de hele 'mix' er weer uit gooide! Al één pil verspeeld .. Nr. 2 bleef er gelukkig in. Niemand heeft er verder last van gehad; geen beestjes langs zien komen, geen vreemde stemmen gehoord en ook niet misselijk!

Vandaag allemaal nog lekker even uitgebreid onder de ...

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Touring Jamaica with a side of Chicken, Rice and Beans by Claire and Kate   (published in Jamaica)

July 23, 2013 by   Comments(0)

Our time in Jamaica, thus far, has been absolutely squawking. After our arrival to Montego Bay airport and a journey home that had us running round like headless chickens (a combination of losing our way and losing passports en route to our host families), we arrived rather tired and absolutely starving! Little did we all know that our first meal of traditional Jamaican jerk chicken with rice and beans that set all our mouths alight was to be only an introduction to the food we would be sampling for the next fortnight. While hung-over with jetlag we took our first glimpse of Mandeville, touring the town and being informed of the very prevalent ‘patty culture’ that exists here. We also began to notice the trend in our daily meals, consisting of different varieties of a two-legged, winged foul; first chicken for lunch and then chicken for dinner. However, though you may believe that the typical Jamaican may in fact become bored of the many tonnes they must consume per annum, we must disagree. If there is one thing that all us ‘Project Abroad’ volunteers have learned it is that no way of becoming tired of chicken.

The beautiful and picturesque views we witnessed on our first evening at the hilltop restaurant was the beginning of our group becoming aware of just how incredible this area of the Caribbean really is. Our placement was arranged at the Mile Gully High School and though the students were just as nervous as we were to begin with, we soon grew comfortable to our surroundings and got to know both the rest of the volunteers and the children. Though the accents and lifestyle was difficult to accustom to, we quickly settled in and learnt that all the children were just as keen to learn from us as we were to learn from them (such as that chicken ...

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Touring Jamaica with a side of Chicken, Rice and Beans by Claire and Kate
Touring Jamaica with a side of Chicken, Rice and Beans by Claire and Kate

A Journey round Jamaica by Charlotte Midgley & Samantha Corke   (published in Jamaica)

July 23, 2013 by   Comments(1)

After an enjoyable but tiring week, the weekend was a great opportunity to enjoy some down time with the other volunteers, in the Jamaican sun. It was also great to escape the classroom walls and see what Jamaica really had to offer, and boy were we not disappointed!

Saturday was beach day! We took the long and very windy roads up to Ocho Rios, but it was so worth it! The beach was beautiful and we stripped down as soon as we arrived on the sand. After slapping on the sun cream we made a mad dash for the sea which was pleasantly warm compared to the waters of Britain. It felt good to finally sunbathe and work on our much needed tans. We were offered the chance to go snorkeling, which was such a cool experience! We went out on a glass bottom boat and then proceeded to snorkel among the coral with life jackets weirdly tied around our wastes, swallowing lots of salt water. After the beach, we headed to the craft market, which was an interesting experience for everyone. Whilst every stall seemed pretty similar, every seller was desperate to have you at there’s, telling you ‘not to be afraid’ and stating that they were ‘cheaper than KFC’ and had ‘things that you would love.’ However we all survived, with after a bit of haggling, some good bargains. We then preceded the journey home, with lots of reggae music blasting out.

Sunday we made our trip to YS Falls, followed by a short time at a beach in West Moorland. Everyone was agreed that YS Falls was a little bit of paradise!! We were all amazed by how beautiful and relaxing the place was; We could walk up to the top of the waterfall which was full of pools so that we could all relax in the refreshing cool water. After a good bit of sunbathing once again to the sound of the rushing ...

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A Journey round Jamaica by Charlotte Midgley & Samantha Corke
A Journey round Jamaica by Charlotte Midgley & Samantha Corke

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