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Out of Africa: Castlegar kids document South African aid journey

Contributor
By Contributor
September 1st, 2011

This is the second part of the Castlegar Interact Club’s experience in South Africa supported by our local community.  Each day one or two Interactors write about their experiences for the day. This is a summarized version of those journals and the full journal articles can be found at: http://castlegarinteract5.shawwebspace.ca/Day 5: Once we woke up and ate we collected all our things and at 7 a.m. got into the taxis, which took us to a small village called Madombidzha.  After a 25-minute drive, we arrived at our first destination, a care center for the children, where the kids are given food and resources to do their homework.   We found out during a meeting that we are going to be building a Community Centre, which provides care for 189 individuals including; 30 with HIV, 15 with disabilities, 87 orphans, 17 vulnerable children, 20 youth from the community, 20 elderly and others with tuberculosis. Afterwards, we loaded back onto the taxis that took us to the work site. When we got to the work site, we were able to set up two tents that will be used to grow 1,000 plants each. We then split into groups and started digging trenches for water pipes to go into that will carry water to each of the buildings.   Day 6: Today was our 3rd day in Louis Trichardt, second day working and first day with the kids. It was a big day, as the containers that will used as a library and administration offices, arrived on big trucks. All went well with the placement of the containers and the groups continued to work hard on their trenches. We got the taxis and traveled to the centre where we met the kids. As soon as we got out we were immediately greeted by all the children.  We sang some songs and taught each other dances from each country. For example, they taught us how to do local dances, and we taught them how to fist pump and line dance.  Day 7: The taxis arrived just after 7 to drive us to the worksite. Today at the worksite, a lot was completed. We finished all the trenches, leveled the ground for the toilets, got water flowing from the well, organized the books and clothing, and started putting the bags of soil in the gardens. All 52 suitcases we packed arrived and Denise, Lorraine, Israel and ladies from the centre organized the books, clothing and toys that will be donated. We are all very much enjoying our time in South Africa. The time is flying by with all the fun we’re having.  Day 8: After breakfast was done this morning, everyone grabbed their orange lunch bags and we were all ready to go for the day. We made a special trip to one of the local high schools where we promote and educated the teenagers about Interact. It was great talking to other teenagers that were interested in starting their own Interact/Rotaract club. After meeting with these youth we travelled to the worksite and had a very productive afternoon planting spinach, laying bricks and filling in trenches. We then got into our buses and drove to the center where we played with the children. They were so excited to see us again that when we were driving in, they were dancing for us in the front yard. As we drove in, the children surrounded the bus and were reaching their arms in, so that they could hold our hands. Everyone got a chance to play with all of the children and was able to see their buddies that they made the previous days.  Day 9: Today we had to paint the containers that would be used as a library and an office, and also pour concrete. The concrete went around the four water taps to hold them vertical. We also laid a pad of concrete and all the Interactors and helpers put their hand prints in it. Mixing the concrete wasn’t like Canada’s cement trucks, we had to mix it all with shovels- it was definitely difficult, but we had the muscles of the group working together! We worked very hard to get the containers painted. We painted half with the South African flag colors and half with the Canadian flag colors. Near the end of the day, we finished painting the first container, so we had all the local kids line up, and in between the two flags and above the rising sun on the one container we painted the children’s hands and all of them put a hand print on the container to finish it off. The kids were all so excited and it was a very fun experience for everyone! Photo: From left to right (Interactors in Green Shirts): Jessica,Mike, Chelan, Alexandra, Blake, Geoff, Seraphina. Also in the photo are some South African high school students.  

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