Besser spät als nie! ^^ Ich habe gerade den Blogeintrag von vorletzter Woche online gestellt und hoffe, dass ich diesen hier ein wenig schneller managen kann.
Was die Arbeit angeht hab ich einiges zu tun. Irgendwie bin ich ständig gleichzeitig durch Inhalte entsetzt und unheimlich zufrieden, weil ich wenigstens versuche etwas gegen das Schlechte in der Welt zu tun. Und ich habe ein großes Talent dazu, mich in beide Gefühle reinzusteigern… ;) Ihr kennt mich ja.
Die meiste Zeit der letzten Woche habe ich mit Nachforschungen verbracht. Offenbar werden in Südafrika beständig Männer in überfüllten Gefängnissen vergewaltigt und die durchaus darüber in Kenntnis gesetzte Welt interessiert sich eher wenig dafür. Es gibt hier sogar einen Fernsehspot, der als Präventionsmaßnahme gegen Alkohol am Steuer ausgestrahlt wird. In dem Spot werden Gefängnisinsassen gezeigt, die in eindeutigem Ton Dinge wie „Diese Hände werden dich nie wieder loslassen…“ sagen.
Um mich nach der Arbeit auf ein wenig andere Gedanken zu bringen, habe ich mich am Montag nach Feierabend mit Steffi auf ein Tässchen Kaffee getroffen. Wir haben ein wenig weiter an unseren Garden Route-Plänen gefeilt, viel gelacht, es genossen sich auf Deutsch zu unterhalten und dabei völlig die Zeit vergessen… Endresultat: Allein im Dunkeln den Weg nach Hause antreten. Ja, ich hatte Angst. XD Aber ich bin in einem Stück zuhause angekommen.
Ich habe mich nun doch entschlossen wenigstens an einem Tag der Woche den Schreibtisch zu verlassen und mich an einem Social Justice Projekt zu beteiligen. So habe ich mich am Dienstag der Gruppe angeschlossen, die zu Sisters Inc. aufgebrochen ist. Das Projekt arbeitet mit Frauen in einem Frauenhaus, das sie von ihrem früheren Umfeld abschottet. Die anderen hatten in den letzten Treffen mit ihnen für Vorstellungsgespräche trainiert. Daran haben wir diese Woche weitergearbeitet. Es ist total toll zu sehen, wie fröhlich und positiv sich diese Ladies, die durch viel Schlimmes gegangen sein müssen, geben.
Nachdem ich am Mittwoch spontan noch einmal mit zu meinem vermutlich letzten Ramadan-Dinner war (denn der Ramadan ist nun fast um), habe ich am Donnerstag seit langer Zeit wieder selbst den Kochlöffel geschwungen – zumindest als Assistent. Laura hatte sich vorgenommen für eine ihrer Mitbewohnerinnen zu kochen, da Freitag zugleich ihr Geburts- und Abreisetag war. Um das 3-Gang-Menü ein wenig zu beschleunigen haben wir uns letztlich zu zweit ans Werk gemacht und die Küche ihrer Gasteltern dennoch für zwei Stunden blockiert. Zumindest geschmacklich ist alles großartig gelungen, auf sonstiges werde ich mit einem Zwinkern zur hauptsächlichen Köchin hier nicht eingehen. ;)
Mit Rücksicht auf mein Schlafverhalten der letzten Tage und mein bevorstehendes Wochenende habe ich es aber verweigert mich der anschließenden Party in Cocktailbar und Springbocksclub anzuschließen. Man möge es mir vergeben. J
Freitagabend war ich über meine Metalhead-Bekanntschaft mit zu einer Geburtstagsfeier eingeladen. Das Geburtstagskind wurde 18 und steht definitiv nicht auf Metal oder Rockmusik… Ich kann einfach nicht fassen, dass die typische Mainstream-Musik hierzulande Schlager sind. Und (!) junge Menschen in meinem Alter fahren total darauf ab Discofox dazu zu tanzen. Als sie mir vorher davon erzählt haben, hab ich ja wirklich gedacht, sie wollen mich verscheißern, aber es ist tatsächlich wahr. Südafrikanische Jungendliche und junge Erwachsene stehen auf Schlager und Paartänze. Verdaut das erstmal meine Lieben. Unter diesen Voraussetzungen habe ich mich hauptsächlich aufs Billard spielen beschränkt und so auch einen spaßigen Abend gehabt. Das beschwipste Geburtstagskind war allerdings auch sehr unterhaltsam. ^^
Am Samstag bin ich für meine Verhältnisse schon sehr früh (ca. 9.00 Uhr) aufgestanden. Ich hatte ja nun schon eine Weile darüber nachgedacht, ob ich mir mein neues Tattoo vielleicht hier stechen lasse, weils einfach mal wesentlich günstiger ist als in Deutschland und ich ja eh genau weiß, was ich haben möchte. Gezögert hatte ich bisher immer nur, weil ich auch nicht irgendwo hingehen würde. Peter, ein Kumpel aus der Metaltruppe, hat allerdings wirklich geniale und super gestochene Tattoos und er hatte sich bereit erklärt, mir seinen Tattoowierer des Vertrauens vorzustellen. Dazu sind wir nun Samstagvormittag eine mir unheimlich lang vorkommende Strecke ans andere Ende der Stadt gefahren. Wenn alles klappen sollte, lohnt es sich aber unter Garantie. Der Typ ist wirklich fähig in seinem Job. Er hat sich meine Visionen in aller Ruhe angehört und will nun versuchen, mir in meiner verbleibenden Zeit etwas zu zeichnen. Also: Daumendrücken Leute!
Am Abend hat Peter uns dann noch zum Poikie (wiedermal ahnungslos, ob das nun so geschrieben wird) zu sich nach Hause eingeladen. Es handelt sich um eine weitere kulinarische Spezialität hier, dabei werden Fleisch und Gemüse zusammen in einer Art kleinem Kessel auf Grillkohlen gegart. Peter ist ein ziemlicher Perfektionist, was uns zwar eine lange Wartezeit aber auch ein außerordentlich leckeres Mahl bescherte. Bei der Gelegenheit habe ich den todesmutigen Jungs den Tequila-Pop gezeigt… Nicht jeder überlebte ohne gewaltigen Kater, aber keiner kann behaupten, ich hätte ihn nicht gewarnt! XD
Bei herrlichem Sonnenschein hat sich am Sonntag offenbar jeder bei Mzolis (ihr werdet euch erinnern: Die Fleischdisco ^^) getroffen. Wenns nämlich so schön ist, ist man nicht auf das Zelt angewiesen, kann einfach draußen feiern und ist nicht so eingequetscht. Nach einiger Überredungsarbeit, habe ich zumindest einen der Metalheads dazu bewegen können uns zu begleiten. Irgendwie standen sie dem Township-Erlebnis ein wenig ängstlich gegenüber. Aber am Ende des Tages konnte man sich doch tatsächlich zu einem „Es ist nicht so schlecht, eigentlich ganz ok“ durchringen. Allerdings werden sie sich wohl niemals ohne den Schutz durch Touristen dorthin wagen. ;)
Ja… wiedermal um Mitternacht am Sonntag zu Hause gewesen und nur noch den Weg ins Bett gefunden. Ist ja fast schon Tradition.
Ich denke an euch…
Better late than never! ^^ I have just loaded up next-to-lasts blog entry hoping to manage this one a bit quicker.
Work keeps me busy at the moment. Somehow I am always shocked by concerns but also very satisfied because I feel I am at least trying to fight against the bad in the world. And I have got a big talent to get all fired up for both emotions… ;) You just know, how I am.
Most time during the last week I spent on research. Apparently the rape of men in overcrowded prisons is quite common in South Africa and even though the world does obviously know about this, nobody is really interested. Imagine, there is a spot in South African TV meant as prevention measure of the “Don’t drink and drive” campaign. It shows prison inhabitants saying something like “these hands will never let you go again…” in an unmistakeable way.
To get my thoughts out of those horrific themes I have met Steffi last Monday after work for some coffee. We filed on our Garden Route-plans, laughed a lot, enjoyed to speak some German and forgot the time completely… Result: Going home alone in the dark. Yes I have been scared. XD But I arrived at home in one piece.
I finally decided to spend at least on one day of the week some time without my desk getting involved with a Social Justice Project. So I joined the group going out for Sisters Inc. In this project we are working with women, who live in a shelter separated from their former environment. The others were training them for job interviews during the last sessions and so we went on with this. It was just amazing to see how happy and positive these ladies behave although they have been through a lot of struggle.
After I had spontaneous been to my supposedly last Ramadan-dinner (because Ramadan is almost over), I just brandished a wooden spoon on my own again on Thursday – at least as an assistant. The last time I did so seems to be very long ago. Laura wanted to cook for her leaving flatmate, who also had her birthday on Friday. To fasten up the preparations for the 3-course-menu we worked on it together, however blocked her hostfamily’s kitchen for about two hours. At least flavourful we succeeded and I will not say anything else about it just twinkling to the main cook. ;)
Regarding to my lack of sleep and to my weekend plans I refused to join the birthday celebrating group for Cubanas and Springboks. Please forgive me. J
On Friday night I was invited to a birthday party through my metalfriends. The birthday child turned 18 and does not like metal or rock music at all… I still cannot believe that beat-music is the most popular here. And (!) young people of my age love to dance 2-Step to this music. As the guys told me about that I really thought they were joking on me, but actually it is true. South Africa’s youth loves beat music and traditional dancing with partners. Just handle up this first, sweethearts. Under those conditions I preferred to spend the night on playing billard having fun on my own way. However another entertaining attraction was the tipsy birthday child. ^^
But I had to get up on Saturday very early (about 9am). Since a while I was just thinking about doing my new tattoo here because I already know quite well, what I like to have and it would be so much cheaper here than in Germany. I was just hesitating as I do not know the tattoo studios here very well and I really do not want to go to a bumbler in the end. But Peter, one of the metalguys, has just awesome tattoos which are very well done and he agreed to show me the tattoo-studio he is trusting in. Therefore we went a quite long way up to the other end of the city. But if everything works out, it will be worth the trouble. This guy is very capable in doing his job. He listened kindly to my visions and is now going to try to draw something for me during the time I am still in Cape Town. So please: keep your fingers crossed guys!
For the evening Peter invited us to his house to a Poikie (again I really do not know how to spell this word). It is another South African culinary delicacy. You put meat and vegetables in some kind of cauldron and cook it on a grill. Peter is really professional in cooking what led to a long time waiting for the meal but also to a genius delicious meal. As I had the opportunity I showed the guys how to drink Tequila-Pop… Not everybody survived without a huge hangover, but nobody can tell I had not warned them! XD
In great Sunday’s sunshine almost everybody seemed to meet at Mzolis (you will remember: the Meat-club ^^). In so nice weather you are not depending on the tent but can just stay outside partying on the street without squeezing yourself. After some convincing work at least one of the metalheadz agreed to come with me. All of them had just been scared about the township-experience. But in the end of the day he was actually able to give a “It was not that bad, quite ok” as feedback. Indeed none of them would ever go there again without the protection shield of tourists. ;)
Yeah… again home on Sunday around midnight just going to bed. Almost a tradition by now.
I am thinking of you….
No, I haven’t quite been up Table Mountain yet, or any mountain for that matter (as I have learnt there are in fact many mountains in Cape Town that surround the city like solemn men.) I do feel though that I have a panoramic view of the city. Indeed, I have scaled some heights, Bar 31 to be precise – a club that overlooks the city on the 31st floor of a skyscraper. Not a bad place to spend an evening.
My panoramic view, however, doesn’t require me to scale heights. It has been a week of contrasts which has given me a real flavour of the city of Cape Town. It has ranged from swish cityscape where the Waterfront provides the centrepiece to upmarket Camps Bay to trendy night market in Muizenburg to vibrant Guguletu. It seems Cape Town has a bit of everything on offer – it is immeadiatly obvious to see why it attracts so many.
It seems so easy here to insert here some flippant remark here about the future direction of the city. But my experiences have made me wonder – walking through the V&A Mall on the Waterfront leaves you with a sense of being anywhere in the world, but spending a day in Guguletu leaves you with a real South African experience. It seems impossible to make an insightful judgement of how this integrates to form present-day Cape Town.
Anyway, I feel should remove myself from such topics until I have the chance to explore further. It has continued to be a blur since my last blog – as predicated my sense of time hasn’t got much better (this blog is late!) But I’m enjoying the fluid motion of life in the city; there is always something to do.
I’m also enjoying volunteering on a project as it allows some structure and an ability to properly engage with the city. I feel I’m getting up to speed at work – I have submitted my first piece of work (a profile of Amy Winehouse) so it has been nice to get something under my belt. I’m still trying to pull my fish feature together, but I hoping that I should be able to serve something up. On most projects, they seem to encourage initiative which I enjoy. My third piece should be on the legacy of the 2010 World Cup, a particularly interest. Needless to say, I sense it will return to the topic I hinted to in the previously about the development of Cape Town. I’ll just have to take the plunge.
I haven’t taken long for me to adopt local football – I’ve already managed to get myself to two matches in under a week of being here. A Capetonian derby wasn’t a bad start, but it was followed by a trip to Cape Town Stadium. Ringside seats. The atmosphere was electric – there seems to be no end to the amount of noise, colour and movement South African supporters can make. It was a real mark of how friendly Capetonians can be. It was remarkable to see the pull of Kaizer Chiefs whose support dwarfed the local support for Ajax Cape Town. The traffic jam after the game was also remarkable, but my point about the friendliness of cab drivers remains (his secret is safe with me!)
Before there’s an outcry about the lack of a balanced view about Cape Town (besides remaining relatively neutral at the Athlone stadium), I do feel I have encountered some of the true beauty of the Mother City. A drive along the coast (it’s still debatable whether we saw a whale or just a rock) to Hout Bay allowed us to see some spectacular scenery. It will definitely be a fierce competition over who can claim the best fish and chips – the South Africans or the Brits (I feel I have to remain loyal!) I have though probably experienced the best Sunday lunch in the world. Sorry, this time the Sunday British Roast has been beaten into second place. Mzoli's offering of buckets of meat and copious amounts of alcohol is simply unstoppable. It has a real party atmosphere. Meanwhile, Sunday evening at Camps Bay was the perfect way to relax after a busy weekend. Even I admit it is difficult to beat sunset and cocktails.
There has consequently been a bit of down time and thus a chance to write this, but it has been enjoyable (even necessary!). It has been cool to spend time with my host family and the other volunteers in the house. It allows one to relax and really feel at home – the comings and goings, the jokes and even South Africa’s most popular soap opera allows one to slip into a familiar routine. It also has its advantages, crêpes in the morning, Italian night and not to mention the wide variety of South African cuisine has meant I have been spoilt for choice.
I hope that provides some sort of panorama of Cape Town, but no doubt it will change in the coming weeks (let’s just hope the blogs appear in time!)
The other Saturday there we climbed Lions Head. Straight from the Old Biscuit Mill, we headed on a mini bus to the starting point.
I was with girls from the office and my room mate Yvonne. Now baring in mind Yvonne had already climbed the mountain two years ago and was wearing only ‘boat’ shoes, I thought this cant be too strenuous.
As per usual Amani, Clare and I had our big handbags, after all we’d gone straight from brunch and our morning shopping, why wouldn’t we have our handbags? What a mistake!
So the first quarter of the mountain was okay. Just a loooong steep hill. But the sun was beating down. We were all in jeans.
The long steep hill soon turned into a rocks we had to clamber over.
Every five ten minutes Yvonne was looking behind from 50 metres ahead to make sure we will all still in tow. I just wanted it to end.
BUT THEN, the rocks turned into a wall. This is where our sweet handbags were thrown onto our backs into a makeshift backpack. Surely Yvonne could remember this involved climbing?! We watched as we let other groups of probably more experienced climbers scramble up this wall whilst we decided whether to do it. Okay so a climbing a wall doesn’t sound too hard but 600 metres high sounds a bit more daunting right ? The signs ‘users climb at own risk’ didn’t attract me either. It was one thing getting up too, we knew we had to get back down.
Anyway with a little encouragement from a Capetonian who admitted he climbs the mountain every week, we were up this wall and didn’t have far to go.
Finally at the top we were welcomed to an incredible view and many people sitting eating picnics, enjoying the rays and the beautiful city in front of us. Was it worth it? YES!! Anyway the way down was much easier. One of Cape Towns must-dos!
(sorry this post was meant to predominatly photos as the sights are so beautiful, but the blog page wont allow me )
It's been so long since I've written but it's been so busy! I'll try to give a breif recap of things that have been happening the past couple of weeks!
Masikuhle: The kids at my creche are awesome! They're all so cute and excited to see you every day. Our most important job is making sure they all get fed, sleep, and are happy while they're here! I was really excited that a little girl named Tash is now smiling and playing because when I first arrived she was afraid to sleep and wouldn't eat anything but now even though she is still not a big fan of sleeping she plays and interacts with the other children which is really great to see! Also the kids have been learning how to write their names Guillaume has made great progress teaching the kids and I try to help them practice their letters and write their names in straight lines on the paper the biggest success in thisd field is Chulumanco who can write his name out in nice neat letters. Explaining things to the kids is sometimes difficult because of the language barrier which is more difficult because some of the kids also can't speak the same language as the teachers but with having them trace their names and with constant encouragement the kids make some good progress!
Surfing: I joined the surfing project in the afternoons because my work at the creche finishes at noon time every day when the kids go to sleep for their afternoon nap. Muizenberg is only two train stops from Steenberg so it's very accessible and working with these kids is awesome too! The kids are actually all very good at surfing and we do warm ups with them on the beach and then help push them into the waves and tell them when to paddle and stand up in the water. All of the surfing volunteers are also really nice which just makes volunteering all the more fun! We get a chance to improve our surfing skills for a little bit each day before the kids come out which is nice but the best part is really helping the kids int he water because you can tell how much they enjoy it. This past Thursday we went to Capricorn Primary School and Mandy and Crystal (the surf intstructors) made a presentation at assembly and we ehlped to make posters and cards to hand out to the kids to encourage them to come surf. We recruited a whole bunch of kids and walked with some of them to their houses to get permission from their parents so they can come surf!
Bracelets: Last week I also went to another volunteer's creche to teach a class on bracelet making to women (and one man) from the community, they were all so enthusiastic about it and byt the end everyone had several colorful bracelets to show from the work shop. Some people said they were going to sell the bracelets in their shop while ohers used them as hair ornaments or to give to friends. It was really cool because at first everyone thinks that it looks really complicated to make the bracelets but then once they get the hang of it they don't want to stop making them! I think everyone who was there (myself included) had a really great time!
Additional Stuff: My weekends have been packed full with exciting adeventures I've seen Cape Point, Boulders Beach, Robben Island, a rugby match (Lions v.s. Western Province), Shark Cage Diving, Sky Diving, hiked Table Mountain via Kirstenbosch and Skeleton Gorge (good 6 hour hike or so), Soccer match at the World Cup Stadium (Ajax Cape Town v.s. Kaizer Chiefs)...it's all been so amazing I've done more in a my few weeks here than I have my entire life! I look forward to my last week or so here and I'm sure it will be as great as the past few have been!
This computer is not letting me upload photos but as soon as I can I will add a photo album!
zaterdag 20 augustus
Alles is gepakt, ready to go! Het avontuur kan eindelijk beginnen! Om half 12 naar Schiphol gereden en om 15.30 vlogen we naar Dubai, deze vlucht duurde 6 uur. Toen een tussenstop van 4 uur. En ’s nachts vlogen we door naar Kaapstad, deze vlucht duurde 10 uur..
Zondag 21 augustus
Eenmaal aangekomen kan ik niet wachten om Christine en m`n nieuwe hondje Fluffy te ontmoeten! Het was nu eindelijk zover. Op het vliegveld ben ik opgehaald door een vrouw die voor Projects Abroad werkt, samen met een andere man werd ik naar Christine gebracht. Christine is echt een schat van een vrouw! Ik heb gelijk m`n spullen uitgepakt in m`n kamer en toen even lekker gedoucht. Ook heb ik kennis gemaakt met m`n huisgenootjes: Laura en Shannon. Laura vertrekt alleen morgen al, ze gaat weer terug naar Italië. Shannon is 42 en komt uit California, ze blijft maar 2 weken. Ook heb ik een beetje tv gekeken, zo grappig want ik versta het bijna allemaal!
Maandag 22 augustus
Om 9 uur zijn Shannon en ik opgehaald om alles even te ontdekken. We zijn met de minibus naar de trein gegaan en toen hebben we Maya (Zwitserland) en Josie (Engeland) opgehaald. Zij waren ook nieuw, dus kregen hun ook met ons de introductie. Ook was onze buurjongen Yoshi (Japan) erbij. De ‘gids’ Grant heeft ons heel de dag begeleid en vertelt waar je bijvoorbeeld kan pinnen etc. Later die middag gingen we naar huis. Shannon en ik wilden graag naar Stellenbosch om m`n moeder en Peter te zien, die daar verbleven. We hebben met z`n vieren wat gegeten in hun hotel. Daarna hebben m`n moeder en Peter ons thuisgebracht. Ik had op Schiphol kleine sierklompen en 4 houten tulpen gekocht en die heb ik aan Christine gegeven, ze was helemaal blij ermee.. ze kon gelijk niet meer slapen, zo opgewonden was ze! Na deze lange dag, ben ik lekker m`n bed ingedoken.
Dinsdag 23 augustus
Vandaag ging ik voor het eerst naar m`n werkplek. Het was niet wat ik verwachtte.. er waren maar zo’n 6 kinderen waar een andere vrijwilliger Anne-Laura (NL) en ik dan eigenlijk op moesten passen. Ik was dus eigenlijk een beetje teleurgesteld. Ik was heel vroeg klaar met werken dus gingen Daniel (Amerika) Simon (Duitsland) Yoshi, Anne-Laura, Maya, Shannon en ik `s middags naar het winkelcentrum in Newlands. Eerst even geluncht met Shannon, Daniel, Simon en Yoshi in Cubana. Dit is een restaurant en `s avonds is het een leuke plek om wat te gaan drinken met vrienden. Elke woensdag komen hier ook alle vrijwilligers en hebben we een leuke avond. De rest van de middag gewoon een beetje rondgekeken en niet zo veel gedaan. Sinds vandaag is Anne-Laura bij ons komen wonen en zij slaapt bij mij in de kamer. Het is erg gezellig en ze is 19 jaar, dus een beetje van mijn leeftijd!
Woensdag 24 augustus
Ik had om 10 uur een afspraak op het kantoor van Projects Abroad en ben dus niet naar m`n werk gegaan. Het had ook geen zin om na die afspraak nog naar m`n werk gegaan, want we werken maar tot 12 uur/half 1. Die middag zijn Anne-Laura, Maya, Shannon en ik naar de waterfront gegaan. Eerst een beetje geshopt en daarna ergens gegeten. `s Avonds zijn we met z`n drieën naar Long street gegaan. Dit is de straat waar je lekker uit kan gaan. Ook zijn we even naar de karaoke bar geweest met m`n moeder en Peter.
Donderdag 25 augustus
Er bleek een fout te zijn gemaakt over m`n werkplaats. Ik moest vandaag voor het eerst ergens anders werken, fingers crossed! Het heet Little Eagles en het is er super chaotisch! Maar wel echt veel leuker dan waar ik eerst werkte. Er zijn zo’n 45 kinderen denk ik en we werken er soms met z`n drieën en soms met z`n vieren. De kinderen zitten allemaal aan m`n huid en kijken ernaar alsof het heel raar is. Ook zitten ze de hele tijd aan m`n haar en zeggen ze: ‘teacher, I like your hair. It’s pretty!’ Het is zo schattig, ze kunnen volgens mij uren aan m`n haar zitten! De rest van de middag heb ik niet veel gedaan. Alleen een beetje uitgerust, want het was een drukke ochtend. Vooral omdat de kinderen je allemaal uittesten in het begin en heel ondeugend zijn! `s Avonds ben ik met Anne-Laura, m`n moeder, Peter, Christine en Williams (vriend van Christine) uit eten geweest in Fish hoek. Het was erg gezellig. Later die avond zijn Anne-Laura en ik naar Cubana en Sprinkbok (kroeg) geweest met andere vrijwilligers.
Vrijdag 26 augustus
’s Ochtends heb ik weer gewerkt. Het was een rustig dagje, want vrijdag is tv- of filmdag. Dan zitten ze heel de dag tv te kijken en te slapen. Dus ik had niet zo heel erg veel te doen. ’s Middags ben ik even terug gegaan om m`n werkplek aan m`n moeder en Peter te laten zien, want ze waren erg benieuwd! Die avond ben ik wat met ze wezen drinken, omdat hun die dag erna zouden vertrekken! Dus heb ik ook gelijk afscheid moeten nemen, maar het viel wel mee.. omdat ik weet dat ik me hier de komende 3 maanden ga vermaken!
Zaterdag 27 augustus
Projects Abroad zorgt ervoor dat er in een maand een aantal leuke dingen te doen zijn met andere vrijwilligers. Dit noemen ze ‘socials’. Vandaag was er een social en Shannon, Anne-Laura en ik besloten om mee te gaan. We gingen naar Hout Bay. Eerst hebben we daar een beetje rondgelopen. Daarna zijn we met een boot naar honderden zeehonden gaan kijken. Dit was de engste boot trip ooit! De golven waren zó hoog dat ik elke keer dacht dat we om zouden kantelen. Dit doen ze natuurlijk een paar keer per dag en er was niks aan de hand, maar ik was zo bang haha! Maar het was het zeker waard, want ik heb nog nooit in het wild zoveel zeehonden bij elkaar gezien! Daarna hebben we even lekker met z`n allen geluncht in Hout bay. Daarna zijn we weer terug naar huis gegaan. Later die avond zijn Anne-Laura en ik uit geweest in long street.
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Ich bräuchte einen Blog von euch, denk ich manchmal. ^^ Ich hoffe euch geht es allen sehr gut. Ich hatte mal wieder eine sehr angenehme und mich stark auslastende Woche.
Ich konnte in der letzten Woche endlich mal einen vollständigen Antrag für eine Flüchtlingsfamilie absenden. Ein gutes Gefühl eine Arbeit auch wirklich fertig zu bekommen und nicht nur etwas von anderen zu übernehmen, um es dann bei meiner Abreise wieder dem nächsten zu überlassen damit fortzufahren. Die Antwort der Behörde werde ich zwar wahrscheinlich nicht mehr mitbekommen, aber ich habe ein gutes Gefühl. Vor allem die Tochter der Familie, die in meinem Alter ist, habe ich persönlich ein wenig kennen gelernt und ich würde mich sehr für sie freuen, wenn alles klappt.
Letzten Mittwoch waren meine Zwei-Wochen-Mitbewohner mit ihrer Gruppe zum Bowlen ausgeflogen. Ihr könnt euch ja schon fast denken, was das für mich hieß: Ramadan-Dinner! ;) Der Vater meiner Gastmutter hat mich dabei in ein längeres Gespräch über das Verständnis von Christentum und Islam untereinander verwickelt. Manches ist glaube ich wirklich für beide Seiten einfach schwierig zu verstehen. Kompliziert wird es nur immer dadurch, dass jede Seite meint, die andere ganz wunderbar zu verstehen, obwohl das Gegenteil der Fall ist. Ich finds nach wie vor klasse mit jemandem so Gläubigen einer anderen Religion über solche Themen sprechen zu können.
Am Donnerstag hatte ich Gelegenheit mal wieder ein wenig deutsch zu sprechen. Seit letztem Samstag ist ja meine liebe Theater-Kollegin Steffi auch in Kapstadt und nun haben wir uns zum mexikanischen Abendessen getroffen. Btw: Ein geniales Restaurant mit ebenso genialem Frozen Magarita! XD
Die deutsche Sprachzeit wurde dadurch eingeschränkt, dass ich die Gelegenheit gleich genutzt habe, um Steffi und Laura vorzustellen. Da wir ja gemeinsam auf die Garden Route fahren wollen, müssen wir nun langsam ein wenig planen und dazu war der Abend ebenso geeignet, auch wenn die Fotos uns vielleicht als nicht ganz so zurechnungsfähig ausweisen. ^^
Nachdem ich dann am Freitag große Schwierigkeiten hatte, während der Arbeitszeit die Augen offen zu halten und deshalb den gesamten Nachmittag verschlafen hab, habe ich das Wochenende gebührend mit ordentlichem Heavy Metal eingeläutet. Meine besondere Vorfreude galt einer der Vorbands, die ihre Musik selbst als Celtic-Fusion-Metal beschreibt und Dudelsack spielt, das alles „made in South Africa“… Und was soll ich sagen? Es war große klasse, echte Stimmungsmusik. ;)
Genauso gut fand ich aber auch die Hauptband „Mind Assault“. Ich werde euch ein bisschen was mitbringen, Freunde der Nacht. XD
Das übrige Wochenende lief sehr ruhig und relaxed. Ich habe wieder einmal die gesamte Zeit mit meinen Metalheadz hier verbracht und eine weitere südafrikanische Spezialität, das Gatsby (keine Ahnung, ob man das so schreibt), kennen gelernt. Da hat sich ein Fastfoodfreund mal wieder sehr erfinderisch gezeigt. Man nehme ein großes Weißbrot, so etwa die Breite von 2-3 Baguette, schneide es seitlich auf und belege es mit Pommes, Salamistücken, ein bisschen Dekosalat und Mayonnaise. ^^ Davon essen dann so 2 Personen… Hab ich schon mal von meiner Angst erzählt hier zuzunehmen?
Da ich dann auch erst wieder Sonntag gegen Mitternacht zu Hause war, war meine Erreichbarkeit wieder mal eingeschränkt und auch der Blog ließ nun einige Zeit auf sich warten – Sorry dafür.
Ich vergess euch aber unter Garantie nicht! Lasst was hören, das macht mich glücklich! ;)
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I feel like I would need a Blog from you. ^^ Hope you are all very well. I just had another convenient but busy week.
Last week I could finally send a complete application of a refugee family. It feels so good to finish a work instead of taking it over from one volunteer just to hand it over to another one by leaving. Unfortunately I won’t be here long enough to see the answer of the Standing Committee but I am really optimistic. I especially got to know the family’s daughter a bit better. She is in the same age as me and I would feel very lucky for her, if the application is going to be accepted.
My current 2-weekers-faltmates had been out for bowling last Wednesday. You maybe can imagine by now, what that meant to me: Ramadan-dinner! ;) I got involved in a longer talk with the father of my hostmom concerning the understanding between Christianity and Islam. I really believe that some stuff is just hardly to understand for both sides. But it gets complicated, if both parties believe to know everything about each other even though they really do not. I still love to talk to a so believing person of a different religion about those themes.
On Thursday I had a new opportunity to speak a bit German again. Steffi, my dear colleague from my theatre-job arrived in Cape Town last Saturday and we met for Mexican dinner. Btw: A genius restaurant doing genius Frozen Magarita as well! XD
As I had the chance I introduced Laura to Steffi. We are planning to go on the Garden Route all together, so we have to start organizing the trip and this evening was a perfect moment to do so; even though the photos of that night maybe show us as not so sane. ^^
After having some problems in keeping my eyes open during working time on Friday and sleeping the whole afternoon, I welcomed weekend with great Heavy Metal. I was especially excited to see one of the Warm up-Bands, who is calling their Music Celtic-Fusion-Metal and is playing bagpipes, everything “made in South Africa”… What shall I say? It was awesome, real party-mood-music. ;)
Furthermore I was very impressed by the main band “Mind Assault”. I am going to bring you some acoustic examples, friends of night. XD
The left over weekend was quite calm and relaxed. Again I was spending the whole time with my Meatlheadz. And I got to know another South African delicacy, the Gatsby (no idea, if it is spelled like this). I tell you there must have been a very innovative friend of fastfood. You take a huge white bread, like 2-3 baguettes in one, cut it sidewise and fill it with chips, salami, a little bit deco-salad and mayonnaise. ^^ This is one for 2 persons… Did I tell you about my fear of getting fat?
As I had just been home on Sunday around midnight, my availability was very bad again and the blog comes very late now – sorry for that.
But I guarantee not to forget you! Tell me something, I would be so happy! ;)
I have now been in Cape Town for about 48 hours. Or at least I think so. It’s all been a bit of blur since I touched down at Cape Town International. My sense of time has never been great, but this time, it has been the amount I have already taken in which has skewed the sense of time. My aim is to blog at regular intervals, maybe once a week, which should help provide me with a sense of time. I fear this month could go very fast.
Since I passed through the arrivals lounge, it has been a real experience. I still can’t believe that Table Mountain provides a constant backdrop to the city, wherever you are. It was really nice to finally meet my host family and the fellow volunteers that I will be living with – they immediately made me feel right at home. Indeed, no sooner had I finished dinner (a blessed relief after three airline meals), I was heading out with the other volunteers to have cocktails. It was to celebrate their last nights in Cape Town. It was really good to meet them, albeit briefly, as they gave useful information about the city and shared how much fun they had had in the city. For me, it was the perfect way to start a month in Cape Town.
So far, I have only experienced the suburbs around where I live (Fairways) and where I volunteer (Wynberg). It has been really interesting too see how these neighbourhoods work, although I’m very aware that I look like a gormless Brit! I love the hussle and bussle around Wynberg station. It has been really enjoyable to be somewhere different from home, and this can even be represented in my new commute.
At home, most of my commutes are monotonous journeys from A to B. However, it has been a real adventure in Cape Town so far. Minibuses are the main mode of transportation. The regularity of London bus routes has been replaced by a flotilla of minibus which scuttle around the city in a pattern that I have not quite recognised yet. In a somewhat alarming fashion you seem to be allowed to jump on and off when you feel like, while during most journeys you are squeezed in with a dozen or so other commuters (no difference there then). Drivers are also fond of blaring out their taste in music – yesterday’s highlight was Tragedy, a ‘70s classic I believe (although my music trivia has never been a strong point, but I’m sure it will improve after this trip.)
After nightfall, most volunteers use private cabs where all the drivers seem to be jolly – the one who took us to and from the jazz club was. It was another enjoyable night; the atmosphere was lively while the music was good. It was good to talk to some of the volunteers staying with other host families and share some experiences.
I have completed my first days at the journalism office. It was so good to get started. I have already started my first project – writing a cover story for the next issue on the problems of overfishing in South Africa. I’m really excited about it; it’s something I never imagined doing but it is precisely why I’m looking forward to the next month. Trying to contact the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is a prospect which strangely excites me. I hope the next week will turn me into a fishing expert.
A lot seems to have happened in the last 48 hours (again, at least I think so.) Hopefully this blog with give some time perspective to what look set to be a busy month.
Today I woke up to rain and miserable weather only to find that my ride to the airport had arrived 30 minutes early to avoid the “traffic”, because, as he explained, no one takes the train to work on Fridays, particularly in the rain and so they all drive, and they can't drive properly in the rain. I didn't have time to eat or have my tea and had to rush quickly out of the house without saying goodbye to Eleanor. My driver was super chatty and thanks to his back streets route to the airport I ended up arriving 2.5 hours early for a domestic flight... So early in fact that the check in lady yelled at me for being too early. Grumpy and starving I managed to scrape my way upstairs where I found a delicious restaurant (surprising for an airport) where I had a very large omelette and several coffees. My flights were on time and without incident and I arrived in Polokwane in the sunshine ready to meet my ride to Botswana. 2 others happened to be on the plane with me and the 3 of us took off towards the Botswana border where our driver, Dion, would transfer us over into another truck where we would be taken to the Legodimo Nature Reserve, our camp. All the way to Botswana, Dion and I talked about hunting as he owns a hunting lodge. He was interested to hear about what he might be able to hunt in Canada and I was interested in hearing about his life as he is from the region. After a 2 hour drive we arrived at a small dusty border crossing where all of the guards were sitting around having a game of cards. They barely glanced at us as we went up to the small glass terminal and had our passport stamped. We said goodbye to Dion and hello to G – the director of the Legodimo project. We loaded all of the groceries onto the truck and carried on towards the camp and into Botswana. We arrived around dinner time and with just enough time to unload our gear and watch the sun go down it felt great to finally be here. While I am only here 1 week, many are here for a month, or 2 or in a few cases, 3. The others seemed unimpressed that I was only going to be helping out with the manual labour for 1 week. Dinner was great and night fell early so we all went to bed after first catching a glimpse of the bush pigs that come to chow down on dinner's leftovers.
My first full day in Botswana started early. Some of the girls had made pancakes which was a great start, particularly because we were starting the day with a dam dig. Because we (as humans) have divided up continents and put fences and borders where there were once open grasslands, herds of animals are no longer able to travel vast distances to find food and water during the drier months of the year. Shame on us. This is why many of them wander into farm land or swimming pools during these winter months to find water. This is also why people are getting frustrated. At Legodimo, part of the conservation project is to maintain water holes for the wide variety of animals. One such water hole had become too shallow and thus the elephants started using it as a mud bath instead of politely drinking from it from the banks (silly elephants). Our job was then to go in and dig through cement-hard clay to deepen the pit so that it wouldn't go dry so quickly. After a few hours of digging in the hot sun we returned to camp and had an excellent lunch. We get a few hours for lunch everyday so we can chill out, take a nap or read a book in the hottest part of the day. In the afternoon, we joined G for a bio-drive through the camp. The purpose of this is to spot animals on the reserve, take note of them and take GPS coordinates of select species. We saw lots of impala, some kudu, some warthogs, 3 elephants and a funny large bird which is apparently the largest flying bird in the world. Also, of interest, we saw one of Africa's biggest/oldest baobab trees. This one was dated at about 4000 years old. While being enormous and beautiful it also serves as a nice perch for leopards, but unfortunately we didn't see any. On the way back we stopped at a watering hole to check the quadrant for tracks. Once per week, the team rakes out a small quadrant and then comes back a few days later to check which animals had been by by the tracks they left. We also collected one of the cameras that was attached to a nearby tree to check the video later that night. We came home to dinner being made by Mieke, G's wife who also runs the camp. It was delicious and I managed to get in for a shower. We all shower at the same time of day because the showers are heated with a donkey boiler. Essentially a big drum of water hovers over a space in a small brick oven where you are to light a fire and then wait for the water to heat up. Needless to say, it was lucky i didn't run out of water mid scrub. Sundays at the camp are an “off day.” essentially everyone can sleep in and laze around all day. It gave me a great opportunity to read lots of my Mandela book and watch as some impala and waterbuck wandered past camp. It was a beautiful day and the only thing missing was a good hammock. Note to self – send Legodimo some hammocks.
Monday morning work started again and after some dry cereal (no more pancakes) we were off to do some “road clearing” with Ian. Road clearing involved a few things. Firstly we had to fill in a ditch with a lot of rocks sticks and dirt so that the next car through didn't lose a tire. Secondly, those who are handy with a pick-axe would be thrown out of the cab on cue to “dig” (read destroy) out logs or stumps in the road and thirdly, we (who are not so good with pick axes) were given machete-like tools (read weapons) called pongers to slash away thorny branches that were lurking too close to the road. Ian and I on my first day had a conversation, while digging, about how in conservation, you had better like digging because otherwise you wont last long. I agreed and offered that in marine conservation you had better like untangling nets. I would add a third activity to the list. In conservation you had better like killing things or else you wont last long. In Botswana this includes minimizing stray bush branches and killing invasive species. We spent a few hours hacking away at some bushes that had a knack for attacking you back when you tried in vain to cut them down. On the way back to camp, with everyone feeling a little run down we stumbled upon a herd of about 60 eland at a watering hole. What a sight! After lunch and a brief nap, we were off with G for a hike. The purpose of the hike was to try and track some animals and for him to teach us a little about the area. After talking to us for a while about different trees, he brought us up a little cliff to see the remains of a waterbuck that was half eaten by a leopard. Next we were off to check out some more small hills and hear stories about G's crazy adventures in the bush. We were back before sundown for a delicious meal of lasagne all cooked over the fire. I went to bed at 7:30. Actually.
Tuesday a few of us drove back across the border into Alldays which is this tiny little town in South Africa where we were able to get some coffee and hang out for a while waiting for Mieke and G to figure out where we were staying. We were in Alldays because the next morning we were going to be getting up to go cheetah tracking at a reserve close by. Since the tiny hotel was full we ended up at a friend of theirs who owns a lodge near Alldays. The lodge is called Evangelina's and is quite the oasis. There is green grass, a heated pool and some beautiful huts to stay in, not to mention warm showers (sans donkey boiler). We arrived at Evangelina's after around 4 hours of hanging out in an Alldays coffee shop called “Delicious.” There wasn't much planned for the rest of the afternoon so we sat around, read our books and enjoyed the peace and quiet. The owner of the lodge allowed us to stay there but that agreement did not include feeding us. In the back there was a small kitchen where our project left food so we could cook it on a small stove and over the fire with the help of Sam, one of the projects abroad staff members who was staying at Evangelina's. We had a great night chatting about conservation issues and our mutual distaste for tuna and those who eat it. Early the next morning we awoke to have a small breakfast and then set out for cheetah tracking. When we arrived at the reserve, we were met by Anthony, the owner and we set off into the bush in his vehicle to track the cheetah. There are several cheetahs on his reserve but only one with a collar. He makes sure to track her everyday to make sure she is doing alright and that she is still there. After finding a signal we got out and walked about 30 minutes through the tall scruffy grass and loads of thorny bushes until he spotted her. She was lying under a tree and casually looked at us and then turned away as we were all frantically taking pictures of her. After standing around for a few minutes she was startled by something behind her and stood up with a short growl. She looked at Anthony with a look and a growl that said “I'm done” (according to him) and she walked off a few meters and lay down again. He explained that when this happens it is best to leave her so that her experience with him and groups is always a positive one. Pleased with our pictures and happy to have found her we walked the 30 minutes back to the car, all of us trying desperately (but failing) to avoid the burrs. Back in the vehicle I asked Anthony if he had seen her chase down an impala and he said he had. I asked, “is she really that fast”? He responded by saying that he generally only sees a bit of the chase because they will usually disappear behind bushes but he said “yeah... she really is that fast, even though she is light-footed, she sounds like a herd of buffalos stampeding.” I was quite pleased with that answer. When we arrived back at his camp some of his volunteers appeared with a baby bush pig that was about the size of a kitten. He had been rescued close to Polokwane and since Anthony had a rehabilitation licence the person who found the pig gave it to him to take care of. Cutest baby ever. Apparently he just wants to be loved and cuddled all day – I offered my cuddling services but alas, it was not to be since we were off again, back to Botswana. On the way we stumbled upon a group of giraffe who seemed just as puzzled that we were there, as we were watching them run awkwardly away from the car.
Back at camp we arrived just in time for some dinner and to watch some elephants wander past in the dark. Mieke informed a group of us that in the morning we would be driving to North Camp and sleeping up there for one night. The group had built a camp further north on the reserve in order to establish a presence up there but also so that people could stay up there and then do work closer to the northern edge of the reserve without having to commute all the way there each day. North Camp is much more remote than the main camp and there are lots of animals to see. Early to bed, as per usual. The next day I packed everything up and we headed off to North Camp with G. It takes about 1 hour to get there and it is mostly on very bumpy dirt roads. After unloading our stuff we collected firewood, checked out the small water hole and then drove to the bigger water hole we had been digging a week earlier. After more groups had been back it was deeper and ready to be filled. G had brought some petrol to fuel the pump and when he started it, water from the well surged up and starting filling the hole. Some birds were the first to discover the new water and were thrilled with their discovery. After we returned to camp, we made some lunch and had a short siesta before heading down to the dry river bed to start wrapping trees. The elephants use their tusks to pull bark off the trees and eat it. When all the bark is pulled off, the tree dies. Unfortunately, they have favourites and these are quickly disappearing due to their unfortunate snacking. Because the land used to be used for cattle farming there are still a lot of abandoned fences around. When these are founded, the project dismantles them and takes the wire which is then used to wrap around the snacking trees to prevent the elephants from pulling the bark off. We wrapped about 19 trees in an hour or two and then headed back up to camp to drive back to the watering hole to check if anything had discovered the water. After about an hour of waiting, nothing showed up so we headed back to camp. We lit the donkey boiler and wandered off to some rock outcroppings to watch the sun set and to check out some bushmen paintings on some rocks that have been dated to between 2000 and 4000 years old.
We had a big pasta dinner and listened to more of G's ridiculous bush tales including the time he was bit 3 times by a black mamba and survived 4 hours with no anti-venom?! G warned us that there is a lot of animal activity at North Camp at night and he didn't lie. A few hours after getting into my sleeping bag we started to hear hyenas and then something either small with a lot of power or very large came barrelling past the tend followed by something that sounded about the same size. A few minutes later, it happened again. We figure the predator was probably a hyena that was chasing an impala or waterbuck. G thinks he heard a lion but wasn't sure. We found tonnes of tracks in the morning which was awesome. The next morning we awoke to watch the sunrise and it was brisk (Adele – notice the usage of “brisk” rather than F*ing cold!). We had a quick breakfast of damp cereal and headed back to camp so that I could catch a ride into South Africa and then back to Polokwane. Sam met G and I and another volunteer at the border and drove us back into town. Currently I am sitting in the Polokwane airport waiting for my flight which is 3 hours away. I am looking forward to spending the weekend back with my Cape Town housemates in Cape Town and then flying home! I am currently extremely dusty and tattered looking – im sure the hotel in Cape Town is going to impressed when I roll up surrounded by a cloud of dust and flies. Here's hoping they don't turn me away!
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