Friday, 28 December 2012

VA32 launch Rhino Ambassador Stewardship Project (RASP)

The latest addition to the Volunteer Africa project base addresses a very real threat to South Africa’s conservation efforts and the world’s population of rhino. In the two articles which preceded this one I explained how the rhino is facing extinction in South Africa due to poachers and what you can do to help fight this problem.

In this final article VA32 offers an opportunity to be physically involved in conservation work which supports the efforts of anti-poaching organisations in South Africa. This opportunity is a break-away from what has become the norm in volunteer programs and puts the onus on the volunteer to continue their work and raise awareness of the plight of the rhino after leaving the physical aspect of the project in South Africa.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Save the Rhino: what can be done and how you can do your bit...

Last week we published an article The Iconic Rhino Faces Extinction in South Africa, about the plight of the rhino and the dangers facing this beautiful creature which is such an icon of Africa. This week I wanted to share with you what is being done in this country to tackle the situation and what you can do to do your bit.

Anti-Poaching Agencies and Organisaitons are attempting to:
  • Protect existing key rhino populations through trained conservationists and awareness in nearby communities.
  • Break the trade chains and increase law enforcement around rhino poaching.
  • Improve communications between South Africa and the horn consumer countries in the East. On 10th December a deal was signed between South Africa and Vietnam in an attempt to slow the demand for the rhino horn and crack down on poachers and the organised crime around this issue. 
  • Experts are trying to understanding the rhino horn trade and influence the buyers as to the effects of the poaching on the rhino population.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Volunteers Work to Complete Chintsa Creche

It's the start of the Summer Season here in Chintsa and our first group of International Student Volunteers arrived early in December. These groups of volunteers join us for 2 weeks and work on high impact projects in the Chintsa community. 

The first group of the year had a huge challenge with 11 volunteers and only 2 weeks to get the new Chintsa creche prepared for school to begin in the new term and ensure that it is ready to be handed over to the village by the 7th Jan 2013! 

The creche was started by last seasons ISV volunteer groups, the "shell" was in place and it was the responsibility of this group to try to complete the inside of the creche building, and the fencing around the creche. 

Monday, 17 December 2012

Volunteering in Chintsa Through Sofia & Annika's Eyes

Moloweni! Kunjani?

We've been traveling around for almost 1 and a half months right now and during 2 weeks of this time we spent some lovely time in Chintsa. We started off our trip in Africa in Namibia and the capital Windhoek and moved south into South Africa. When we found ourselves in Cape Town we decided that we wanted to use the BazBus Hop-on-Hop-off ticket and when looking through our alternatives on their website we saw that they offered a package deal, which included a certain amount of week volunteering. This had been something that we had been very interested in already before and were therefore very intrigued when we discovered this option. So we bought ourselves a BazBus volunteering package and head off along the coast to experience the lovely Garden Route before reaching Chintsa where we would volunteer in schools.

Friday, 14 December 2012

The Iconic Rhino Faces Extinction in South Africa

The South African plight of the rhino, a member of the infamous Big 5, is finally hitting the news shelves internationally. When VA32 director Mike took part in a networking conference earlier this year he presented our latest volunteer project - the Rhino Ambassador Stewardship Project (RASP) – which puts the onus and responsibility solidly onto the volunteer, to carry their practical experience and knowledge of the rhino, its environment and the dangers that it faces after leaving South Africa, and to engage in the sharing of information on how we can stop the eradication of the rhino species in Africa. Unfortunately at the time we presented the project Mike was told that the world wasn't aware of the plight of the rhino. It wouldn't sell. So this project has been quietly sitting on our website for months as the state of the rhino population in South Africa has been forced down by more and more poachers. This year alone 618 rhinos have died at the hands of poachers – as I worked on this article over the past week that number has risen at least twice. Now I think it’s time to educate, to push this cause and to call for action from our international community of volunteers, followers and subscribers. Something needs to be done to stop this and we need your help.

Monday, 10 December 2012

15 Top Tips on Volunteering in Chintsa, South Africa

Volunteer co-ordinator Katie asked last seasons ISV Group Volunteers to put together a list of top tips for this seasons volunteers...we've picked out the 15 best tips to share with you!

  1. When someone tries to buy you for 30 cows, always try for 60.
  2. Buy from the street vendors while it's sunny and you have the chance. You never know the next time they'll be out.
  3. Don't be afraid to try Bantu's food - it's amazing and there's always seconds!
  4. Don't miss out on going to Mama Tofu's for an in-depth talk on sex education.
  5. Wake up for the sunrise.
  6. Screw "Hakuna Matata" - it's all about "Molo Yolo"!
  7. The locals around here are super cool so get to know them and their stories.
  8. Practice your Xhosa throughout the workday, it's surprisingly easier than you initially think!
  9.  Try every chocolate bar but guard your chocolate and stay away from the cherry chappies. Cadburys Top Deck is the best!
  10. Take advantage of Miller's strength and Denver's beauty.
  11. Take care of your cameras! Beware of sand and small children!
  12. Beware of the monkeys!
  13. Always thank Kwezi for the food, get to know her and help her out.
  14. No matter what enjoy every minute of your time in Chintsa, it really will fly by!
  15. Man up and work hard!
To see photos of the ISV Groups' experience in Chintsa (and maybe shed some light on a few of these tips!) check out our Flickr collection!

To all of our past volunteers - do you have any tips to add to the list? Please comment and share them below! 

Thanks to all of the ISV volunteers who contributed to this awesome (extremely entertaining) list of tips for our future volunteers and of course a massive thanks to Katie Ryan - our volunteer co-ordinator who goes above and beyond! :)


Friday, 7 December 2012

Volunteers Learn Xhosa with Tobz

A Short Introduction to the Xhosa Language

There are 11 official languages of South Africa and Xhosa is widely known as the second most spoken language in the country with 18% of population speaking it (that’s roughly 7.9 million people!). Xhosa is a Bantu language – the people who speak it are known as the amaXhosa and the language is known as isiXhosa. In English we call both the people and the language simply “Xhosa”.
Xhosa is a very unusual language for the Western ear – it is very tonal and consists of several different clicking sounds. And it can be extremely difficult to learn – the consonants have unusual sounds and are very close together, add in the clicks and the challenge is really on!