Blogs from Siyabuswa , Mpumalanga , South Africa, Africa

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Africa » South Africa » Mpumalanga » Siyabuswa September 19th 2015

Much has happened since the last blog--new schools for eleven team members (hope that's going well for you all); Mr Mabbett doing his PGCE; a new Head and deputy at St. Andrew's, plus a new Head Girl and Head Chorister (congratulations, Livvy and Bella!)--but the traditional Grace Trip Assembly has not changed, and this Friday the Hall will host two of them. The first, at 8.30 for the Juniors, will be a technical rehearsal but still important as some of you first got the Grace bug at this age. I hope to have some tables set up for your souvenirs and journals on Thursday evening (amidst Gym Club) so if any of you can get things in (perhaps via a sister--Angela, Josh, Will--or brother--Charlie, Holly) that would be brilliant as it will save time on the ... read more
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Africa » South Africa » Mpumalanga » Siyabuswa August 22nd 2015

A nice leisurely start to the day, up for breakfast at 8.00 am then we got ready for a shopping spree in Marble Hall - an hour's drive - we were joined by Evelyn and Gugu (as she needed some new clothes and a suitcase for a forthcoming school trip). Some clothes were bought for the boarders, some more games (that can be shared) and a suitable lockable box so that the games can be stored for the boarders. Tim and Rob discovered a different hardware shop which was a great delight (just two weeks later than required). Then we stocked up with snacks for our journey to Kruger and a few supplies for the next few days (breakfast cereals etc.) Tim treated us all to an ice-cream (after all, we are on holiday) we were ... read more
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Africa » South Africa » Mpumalanga » Siyabuswa August 21st 2015

Today was our last day in the school. A special assembly had been organised for first thing in the morning in order for us to present all the things we are giving to the children. We had to be up at the crack of dawn in order to shower and take everything to the school on time. There was only one problem… the water workers had decided to go on strike leaving us with no water this morning. So, after a few “baby-wipe showers”, we had to be on our way. The assembly was amazing and very moving, especially hearing from the poor little children who were “volunteered” to speak in front of the whole school and to us. We had so much to give from so many people and the teachers were very touched by ... read more
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Africa » South Africa » Mpumalanga » Siyabuswa August 20th 2015

Another busy day for the group, Frances was early to rise and at school by 7:00, the rest of the group took a little longer to emerge but eventually we were all awake and getting on with our list of jobs to be done before the presentation assembly on Friday morning: -finish the alphabet boards, -make a start on bunting, -fill up buckets of water just in case the water system goes down due to the strike by the water workers, luckily it hasn't (yet), -continue building shelter, -finishing touches on painting the playground, -make swing seats to replace the broken tyres, Tim and Robert made their (hopefully) last trip to Cashbuild (sad face from Tim) first thing. Then they headed straight to school. Tim continued working on the shelter, for which he'd dug the holes ... read more
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Africa » South Africa » Mpumalanga » Siyabuswa August 19th 2015

Today was the half-way point of our time in South Africa although our time in Siyabuswa is nearing an end and so we have been extremely busy finishing off projects. Eva and I did a dawn raid on the Cash Build DIY store (yes, there again!) to get some more bits. Whilst we were at the store, Rob nearly finished yet another bench whilst Amy and Suzy painted benches and boards. The remainder of the morning was spent doing the last of both. Our penultimate bench was done in record time – we now have seven of them, all of them painted or varnished (I don’t think Eva wants to see a bench or paint-brush ever again!). About 11am I headed to the school along with Suzy, Eva and Amy (S.E.A.). Whilst they played with the ... read more
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Africa » South Africa » Mpumalanga » Siyabuswa August 18th 2015

Another early start, Frances was at Grace School for assembly at 7.30am and the rest of the group arrived at 8.00am ready to continue painting the diamond patterns on the playground equipment, all of which is looking as good as new (although the challenge of fitting new seats on the swings is still to be resolved - we have tyres but we are looking for different fittings). After an hour's painting the temperature had risen (as it always does) and it was time for us to return to base and split forces. Suzy and Rob drove off to Groblersdal in search of material (with which Suzy and Eva will be making some bunting). Meanwhile, Eva and Amy designed and decorated a couple of boards which will be installed in the infants playground, one board will have ... read more
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Africa » South Africa » Mpumalanga » Siyabuswa August 17th 2015

Today I went off to school followed by the others for assembly. 'Pastor Rob' led a blessing to heal the sick and we all learnt to spell the word LOVE! Eva had a very deep thought. In assembly we were discussing the colour of the sky and the water. "What does the colour blue represent?" the learners were asked. A little voice came from Eva, "life" But, apparently the answer was hope! White is for peace and black is for Darkness. The children's singing was as wonderful as ever, lifted out spirits and set us up for the day. The hymn 'This is the day' will never be the same again. (Hey Hey!!) I went off to teach my first lesson whilst the others turned towards the playground. After an hour, coloured diamonds had appeared. Suzy ... read more

Africa » South Africa » Mpumalanga » Siyabuswa August 16th 2015

Suzy's bit... We managed a bit of a lie-in this morning. Breakfast with Evelyn and one of her Granddaughters at 8am. Evelyn instructed Robert to wear a tie because he is a Pastor, but Tim was off the hook; He didn't need to wear a tie with his shirt. Our Sunday clothes were given to us beautifully ironed by one of Evelyn's ladies and Robert's shoes had been polished. Such a different way of life! We were ready to leave for Church at 10am, arriving at 10.10 (as instructed again by Evelyn). The music and singing was already in full swing and we could hear the church just as we pulled into the car park. Any hopes of lurking in the back row were dashed as a lady ushered us up and into the front row. ... read more
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Africa » South Africa » Mpumalanga » Siyabuswa August 15th 2015

This morning we set off for Pretoria. We planned to start the day off with a visit to South Africa's National Botanical Gardens. Once we had arrived and wandered around for a while we decided to find the waterfall. We spent a while posing for Tim while he found the waterfall setting on the camera! Then we climbed to the top of the waterfall. Suzy spotted a Dassie but the rest of us struggled to see it in the trees. It was a baby badger moment! (Ask the Westons) There is a Dassie Trail at the top of the waterfall, Tim ventured into the outback but it had vanished! Rob had been dreaming of lunch since 11.15am so we decided to go and try the restaurant. We had a lovely lunch sitting out on the veranda ... read more
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Africa » South Africa » Mpumalanga » Siyabuswa August 14th 2015

Frances was the only one who was awake enough (and full of beans), ready to go to school at 7.00am. The rest of us had a more leisurely breakfast before preparing for the day. The sun was shining and a hot day promised as Tim and Robert made a prototype bench. They were banned from making the bench last night inside the guesthouse so they set up their workstation right outside the front door....the poor lady who was cleaning the house today, looked at all the sawdust on the doorstep and I could almost see what she was thinking! An hour or so later, the first bench was ready for testing. It is just exactly right. So we hope they will be able to make several more. Muriel and her husband came to visit. They were ... read more
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