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South Africa Updates: Messages from our Volunteers on the ground!

Our South Africa volunteers are well and truly immersed in their first projects. We caught up with our three teams: community, environment and trek, to see what they’ve been up to so far, and how they’re getting on!

Take a look:

Charlie’s (Community Development)

south africa volunteer group photo

Group: Jo, Rich, Sullivan, Britt, Rye, Ischa, Nate, Kees, Findlay, Megan, Chun Wing, Will, Nkosinathi, Sonto

Beginning of Phase 1: “Charlies are having a great time settling into camp and pushing the boundaries – challenging ourselves with both physical and metal tasks. We’ve built bookshelves from scratch and started constructing a playground with the local builder! We’re particularly enjoying playing with the local kids… we are a hit! We’ve also been privileged enough to meet the chief of the village where we had the chance to find out more about the challenges facing the local community. Thoughts have been freely shared, and we are finding our rhythm. From greeting local grandmothers to building farms, Charlies have been getting their hands dirty with productivity.
Love you guys! Hou van Jullie, Sikhona syphila siyanitsandza, Oi Nee Mun!”

End of Phase 1: “Hi everyone, Charlie’s wanted to let you know that we are alive and well. We have been planting trees and creating a garden and we have also finished the play ground that we have been building in the local Primary school. We’ve all learnt now to lay concrete, build and saw so get ready for some serious DIY projects when we get home!!! P.S – a few of us had our hair cut…luckily it should have grown back by the time you see us”

Echo’s (Environmental Conservation)

south africa volunteer group photo

Group: Emma, Claire, Phine, Sophie, Amelia, Francois, Pepjin, Ethan, Degi, Job, Marina, Samkelo, Siphiwe

Beginning of Phase 1: “Howdy from the bush! We have been thriving at our base camp. We started our week strong with a safari game drive through the Sawong and have seen 3 of the big 5. We are blessed to be surrounded by wildlife, but not so blessed to be raided by baboons in our food tent, invaded by elephants and awoken by hippos. The work we have been doing has contributed heavily to the preservation of the reserve. Although the work is tiring and we are waking up at 4am, our spirits are high, and we have a positive work environment. We are becoming mini ecologists as we have learned from our work preventing erosion, clearing invasive species, and thinning trees. We have also proudly removed booby traps set up by illegal poachers.
Keep it real (Ethan), bye bye now (Amelia and Sophie), Kaerlig hilsen fra (Marina), Nibe right (Siphwe), Ngiyanitsandza (Samkelo), Kus voor snuit, liefs Mimi, Liefs kareltje, Liefs Kerel, green zorgen, maken Degels, Hou van Julie, liefs Jopie.”

End of Phase 1: “Howdy from the bush! We have been thriving at our base camp. We started our week strong with an update from the bush! We are all looking forward to speaking with you when we get back to fieldbase tomorrow as today is our last day on project. The weather has been a tale of two extremes with three days over 38°c but only one case of heat stroke (don’t fret, the situation has been managed!), and we have kept cool with water bottle fights. The past four days have been cold and rainy but full of excitement as we saw another Big 5 member on our river boat tour, making us four for five. We have been huddling and cuddling and singing Adele songs to stay warm and keep up team spirit. On top of our hard work we have also taken time to learn about animals using their footprints and poo. We were then blessed with a pop quiz where we were given the opportunity to demonstrate our tracking prowess. We have also completely dismantled the entire barbed fence line, cleared 11000 square meters of Mopane trees and successfully removed the monstrosity that is Prickly Pear (to the detriment of Degi’s rear). We miss you guys and will talk soon. Go Springboks!”

Some messages for home! :

Happy Birthday Bubs, Love you guys (Sophie). Love Meena xxx

Feyenoord / Lazio , 3/1, wat mooi, liefs Job
Hou van julie, kusjes van Mimi
Joe, liefs Pep
Love you en tot snel! Liefs Degi

Ngiyanitzandza, ngitonibona ksasa (Siphiwe)

Nginikhambulile (Samkelo)

Hannah, Mum, Dad and Russell, missing you all (ish) and looking forward to speaking to ya!
Love and miss you (Amelia)

Je vous parle demain, j’écris français parce que c’est marrant. (François)

Tango’s (Adventure Trek)

south africa volunteer group photo

Group: James, Anne-Marie, Charlotte, Anya, Edward, Leonard, Sacha B, Tyler, Ben, Duuk, Jasper, Sasha R,Valentina, Fezeka, Fisokuhle

Beginning of Phase 1: “We have enjoyed our first six days of Trek! Some highlights were the many giraffes, and hippos that we’ve encountered, the beautiful scenery and satisfaction of navigating correctly.”

End of Phase 1: “We’ve had a great time and are just finishing Trek. Today we went canyoning and jumped a waterfall. Everyone on high spirits. Group are all lovely. Sad to leave Trek but looking forward to normal food! Out of the bush and now into the highlands – it’s literally just Scotland with leopards.Miss you all, hope home is healthy and happy.”

Our volunteers are certainly making a huge impact! We’re extremely proud of the work being done in the communities and environments we visit in South Africa, and we’re excited to see what our fantastic volunteers do next!

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