Onze eerste begeleide WEP-groepen van de zomer zijn vertrokken! De activiteiten zijn heel divers: van milieubescherming over hulp in een wijkhuis en renovatie van een weeshuis tot culturele bezoeken en avontuur
Hieronder vinden jullie links naar de verschillende bestemmingen. Naarmate de begeleiders ons foto’s en nieuws sturen, werken wij deze blog bij. Onze groepen zijn naar redelijk afgelegen gebieden getrokken, waar niet altijd internet is, dus een beetje geduld is aangeraden ;)
Na een korte kennismaking met de “Belgische” gastronomie vertrokken onze Franse vrijwilligers naar Accra, waar ze woensdagnamiddag goed zijn aangekomen.
Donderdag stond er een oriëntatie en introductie tot de Ghanese cultuur op het programma. Op vrijdag werd Accra bezocht en kon er relaxed worden op het strand.
Zaterdag vertrok de groep naar Mampong, waar het project doorgaat. Van zodra er daar internetverbinding is, volgen meer foto’s!
De eerste week van de eerste groep Zuid-Afrika zit er ook al op.
Hieronder enkele foto’s en een korte samenvatting.
” Hello, hallo, bonjour, buon giorno…
We have been in South Africa for three days already but it feels like we only got off the plane yesterday! Time flies here. In this country, 1 hour means 1.5 hours and “soon” means tomorrow.
Our first day was a bit of a rush: we arrived in Kayamandi (Stellenbosch), went to each of the homestays and had a rest. Then, the Italians arrived and we watched the final game of the European Cup.
If you think that Europeans are a stressful lot, you might be surprised that in South Africa people are just the opposite… We’ve learned here that stress and time aren’t really important!
When we first got to the homestays, the homestay mothers were waiting for us and the local children immediately began to hang around us. It went well.
On Monday, we visited town and saw some very poor areas. People live with their whole family in only one room and the toilets are bunched together outside. The roads are in disorder and kids play with trash in the street. But, that’s just the way they live here. As our homestays are just next to it all, we really couldn’t be more involved in South African culture.
We also visited the nursery schools where we will volunteer with the children. Everyone is really looking forward to playing with the kids. They are so lovely and thankful that we want to play and help them.
There is a community centre in the “centre” of Kayamandi where we can get a drink and play cards or something, so it is easy to meet up with everybody and spend time together. We can also chat with locals there.
Tuesday was our first day at the nursery school. So far, everybody was very happy to play with and teach the kids. In the afternoon, we decided to go to the local football pitch. When we started walking, we had one kid with us, and by the time we reached the pitch (1km away), we were being followed by 20 kids who wanted to play football too. Apparently, they really like “white” people here. They all call us “teacher”.
In the next few days, we’ll do a community project to paint one of the four nursery schools. But first we need to sand it with sandpaper, which will be a tough job.
I forgot to talk about the group dynamic: It is always complicated to mix people from different nationalities especially if they don’t speak the same language, but we have deliberately worked on it, and now, we are all “one”, and everybody speaks English together.
Now you have a small view of our trip so far; some pictures are enclosed.“
Last Wednesday, we began painting a nursery school. Over several days, we sandpapered the whole school building, then applied a primer and finally, painted it in many different colours. And on the last day, some guys added a peace sign to the front wall.
During the painting project, we took a half-day trip to Stellenbosch (again). We had a lot of fun there, doing team building activities and playing rugby.
Saturday was the last day in Kayamandi. In the morning, we went to Stellenbosch by foot to hire bikes. At this point, everything was great; we got lovely vintage bikes from the 1980’s. The only problem was that the bike parts were also from the 80’s, so within no time, we had some problems, most notably, flat tires. We stopped at a bar, then retuned the bikes and went back home. But no worries, we had a lot of fun, nonetheless ;)
In the evening, we all met up at Amazink – the place to be. The local dancing school was waiting for us to show off their best moves. We played some music together and then started up the Braai (barbecue). We ate good food and chatted with the locals. When more locals arrived, it got really busy and crowded, so it was time to leave. Thus, we spent our last evening with our homestay families.
On Sunday morning, it was time to pack and take the bus to Cape Town. After a 45-minute ride, we arrived at the hostel. We had lunch and then went into the city. After the first walk in town, everybody was surprised to see such a nice city… A great start in Cape Town! After a long city walk, we returned to the hostel to get a bite to eat.
The next day, we took the famous red sightseeing city bus through town. We passed Table Mountain, some pretty bays, Green Point and the World Cup Stadium. Later on, we took the bus back to a Cape Town beach and spent the afternoon there; some people even swam in the ocean.
Today was the first day of “Cape Adventure”. We started with a strong cup of coffee on the way as we headed to Cape of Good Hope. We had some spectacular views from the cliffs. We had lunch at a local place on the beach – fresh fish and chips, straight from the ocean to our plates. After a short drive back, we took a short walk through the city and had some time to rest at the hostel.
I am still enjoying my stay here and we are helping the groups the best we can ;) We keep the dynamic healthy and have a lot of fun!
Aangekomen met 3h30 vertraging, een ideale manier om kennis te maken met de tijdsbeleving op zijn Thais.
Een eerste goedgevulde week achter de rug, met renovatiewerk, activiteiten met de kinderen van het centrum en ontdekkingen (Wat Pho Khun, kooklessen, Khai Bang Rachan, bezoek aan Singburi …).
In het weekend trokken ze naar Kanchanaburi en de beroemde brug over de rivier Kwai, en het National Park Erawan.
Zonder problemen aangekomen in Kandy. Hieronder de eerste foto’s.
Selamat sore, or “good afternoon”, from Bali!
It’s about time we shared our initial impressions (and pictures) of our first few days on this beautiful island.
The adventure really began at Brussels airport, where the French participants and Emma (the Spanish participant) finally got to meet their Belgian travel buddies.
A little shy at first, but soon everybody started opening up and sharing details about themselves.
As soon as we arrived to Denpasar Airport, we passed immigration and were granted the 30-day visa. We then received a warm welcome from 3 local coordinators, who drove us safely to Ubud.
When we arrived at the volunteer house, we were welcomed by the last missing piece of the group: the Italians. We were so happy to finally meet them. We briefly introduced ourselves but soon went to bed as we were all pretty tired from the trip.
The next day we started introduction week. We got to meet our coordinator, the lovely and smiling Dwe. We started off the day with a beautiful walk to Ubud city center. We visited the local market and then Monkey Street. Don’t be fooled by the cuteness of the monkeys. They are well-experienced thieves and will grab whatever they can find in your pockets. Bottles of water and deodorants were lost on the “battlefield”. May they rest in peace…
After a typical Balinese meal, we all attended the introduction course on Balinese culture. We learned some very interesting facts.
The next day, we all had to show our creativity during a batik painting class. The day before, we had to draw patterns with a pencil on cloth. When we arrived at the local batik house, they had redrawn the outlines of the pattern by using hot wax. We then used different colors of paint to fill in the patterns. As you may see on the pictures, we have some real artists in the group.
During the afternoon, we attended our first Balinese language class. We are now able to salute the locals properly and start each day by saying, “Halo, selamat pagi. Apa kabar?”, which means, “Morning, how are you ?”.
At nighttime, a local coordinator invited us to play football with some locals and some other volunteers. Even a few girls showed off their talent and the rest of us cheered along!
On Wednesday (today), we had a beautiful walk around the village and visited the rice terraces. The views were breathtaking!!
The pictures will talk for themselves ☺
I am very impressed with our volunteers. They are all very curious and very mature for their age. You should be very proud of your children. They are embracing this wonderful human experience. They are all very united and very supportive of one another. The group dynamic is amazing. I am confident this experience will make them grow!
Next week, we will start the teaching and construction program. We can’t wait!!
Love from Bali!
Dha dha (“bye bye”)