Friday, 14 September 2012

Guest Vlog Part 1: Volunteers Charlotte & Laura hit Chintsa to volunteer with VA32

A lovely guest vlog by returning volunteer Charlotte who first volunteered in 2007 and returned to Chintsa for a month this Aug/Sept with her friend Laura...

Part i. 
Stunning view from the Buccaneers road
Five hours of bumpy road later, after Port Elizabeth we reach the paradise that is Chintsa. With a sunny day to greet us it was great to hop into VA32’s Quantum. We meet Naomi the volunteer co-ordinator and pop to the office for a spot of volunteer orientation from the bubbly Karen. Meeting familiar faces along the way (one of VA32’S founders Mike and tour guide Denver were both around). I became tour guide for Laura and we explored Chintsa, ending with a drink at Buccaneers Backpackers looking over the sea.
Inside the Big Green e-Machine

The next morning brought the Big Green e-Machine (VA32's mobile computer lab, powered by solar panels and running up to fourteen laptops) where we taught lessons at Bulugha Farm School. We then saw a brilliant project by some teaching students from Texas University who were working the the Schools Project. “Where I am from…” Powerpoint presentations were shown at both Wild Coast Schools. In just three weeks the Texas teachers had got the kids to type all the info into Powerpoint presentations and then recorded the kids voices. “I am from samp + beans", "playing with my friends", "watching T.V. with my family…” are just some of the snippets that the learners presented. Two fantastic and enthusiastic thank-you concerts were belted out for the Texas volunteers and we were lucky enough to watch both.

ISV Impact volunteers building the creche
Since my stay here almost five years ago VA32 has grown from strength to strength, building a new preschool for Bulugha, a crèche for Chintsa East, a Health outpost for people living in Chintsa East township to name just a few projects. VA32 has partnered with International StudentVolunteers (who volunteer in Chintsa for an intensive 2 weeks of construction and building); a brand new sports field, equipment for the local kids and the Bulugha preschool upliftment are to name just several of the organizations' achievements in the community.

Based primarily at two schools teaching computer literacy on the Wild Coast Schools Program, Laura and I were paired with two lovely Nuremberg teacher student volunteers Steffi and Petra. Steffi and I were paired at Chintsa East at the heart of the village, whilst Laura and Petra were in the rural Bulugha Farm School in game reserve land near the Areena Reserve (where you could spot a giraffe or two!). Bulugha has received strong support from Buccaneers Backpackers over the years, with a weekly concert being performed for backpackers who often donate to support their school feeding scheme.

Me with some of my students :)
Thrown in at the deep end, we planned the topic for the next term: waste and recycling, kicking off with some litter picking and rubbish sorting. The kids enjoyed it! We also added Microsoft Word mind maps, using autoshapes and arrows into the curriculum. The students really vary in their skills level, with some needing more help than others, but I think this makes them all the more determined. Today saw an enthusiastic set of grade 4’s creating their mind maps really quickly- they even managed to add colours to their boxes with a word art title; a great achievement for the kids ages around 10yrs. They stood out so much with their brilliant behaviour and answering of questions that we gave them all stickers which were met with broad grins.

Adult computer literacy class

The volunteer co-ordinator Naomi left the program last Wednesday but not before preparing a hoard of brightly iced biscuits (and what an operation it was to complete!) for the staff and kids at both schools. Off to Mdumbe in the Transkei, she helped us to make the foundations for the next term.

Aside from teaching computer literacy at the schools we also teach adult computer literacy on a Monday afternoon. We arrived in the midst of powerpoint presentations called “Where I am from” with keen locals creating slides and adding effects to a poem that they had transposed onto the presentation. On Wednesdays is a trip to Greensleeves a home for children who have been given away, abused and neglected. Needing attention and care they are happy to have cuddles, and play for our short visit, with whatever happens to be around. 
Tuesdays and Thursdays bring sport for the all the local kids who jump on the back of a "bakkie" chanting “backpackers”. “What’s the time Mr Wolf?” goes down a storm, with different sports being played each afternoon, from the ever popular soccer to netball.

"What't the time Mr. Wolf?"
Kids at Greensleeves home
Laura at Greensleeves
children's home
Chintsa wouldn’t be complete without the eventful walks across the river to party at Buccaneers Backpackers (this weekend was a highlight with high tide striking just as the party was starting!), the chilled Barefoot Café with lovely barmen, with lets face it some great food and Nostalgia Cafe for a slice of carrot cake when it occasionally decides to pour with rain.

Nomakwezi’s cooking at the VA32 volunteer house still goes down a treat with bangers and mash being a highlight. Kwezi runs a tight and clean ship at our house, and is always a friendly face to come home to and have lunch with (and who knows maybe the odd cup of tea?!)

What will the next two weeks bring? Who knows, all I hope is that they don’t go so quickly. :) 



  1. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in sharing this.

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  2. Thanks Charlotte and Laura for being such stars taking in all the sights of Chintsa and taking the time to vlog! Maybe we will see you again? Lou x

  3. Many thanks for the exciting blog posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you are a brilliant writer. I actually added your blog to my favorites and will look forward for more updates. Great Job,Keep it up..
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