Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Working with EDventures in Rural South African Communities

VA32's group volunteer programs are supported this year by our new partner EDventure International (who work in collaboration with tour operator Pangea Trails). Our group projects offer parties of school, college and university students, sports teams and special interest groups, the opportunity to take part in hands-on initiatives in community development in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

2014 has seen the successful hosting of two EDventures groups so far, who always arrive with unlimited enthusiasm, a willingness to get their hands dirty, free and open minds and a whole ton of's more from VA32 group leader Milton:

"We worked in the Mooiplaas area at Gwegwesha Village which is about 40 minutes drive from Chintsa. The group were given the task of helping to build a kitchen for the Gwegwesha Pre-school which is run by husband and wife team Wellington and Nolundi. The Pre-school is a tiny building which barely fits in the subscribed learners and it was near impossible to find the space to make breakfast for the children - and really not a safe place to have heated pots and pans, hot water etc. with the children so close by.

The work on this project actually started in Dec 2013. The plan was to build with a minimal impact on the environment, using the materials available locally and fitting as far a possible into the surrounding Xhosa village aesthetic. December saw a great start to the project when another of our partners (International Student Volunteers - ISV) worked with us over two weeks to build the foundations for the additional room, dig the trenches, begin making environmentally friendly mud bricks and start to lay the bricks - up to window level. All in two weeks!

EDventures joined the party at this stage in the project; more mud bricks were made, more layers were built up and the room reached roof level! The group started plastering the walls both inside and outside the building and painted the external walls. A huge step forward to getting the kitchen use-able.

The second EDventures party arrived last month (May!) to give this project as much needed push forward.
Eleven great students were a part of the group, all of different nationalities from America, Canada and Australia, over just thirteen days.

The project was really successful. The building of the kitchen at Wellingtons Pre-school was completed - the volunteers plastered and painted the inside of the room...

Plastering and sanding the walls ready to paint

Mixing cement

Starting to paint the walls

...with a little help from our friends :)

Decorating the walls and painting internal murals


A little local wildlife!

We even added storage and hand prints

Wellington who
runs the creche with his
wife was along for the whole
ride :)

...the walls are now bright with fun murals and colours, they also built the steps up to the kitchen and fitted gutters to the roof.


What an amazing achievement for our groups.

A few Highlights from the Project...

My group really loved working with the local community and learning about Xhosa culture, they asked about the people who we were working with and chatted to them about who they were, where they were from , what they did. They loved working with and feeling a part of the community. They also really enjoyed playing with the kids, painting and getting hold of the power tools to do some of the woodwork.

What a great group and what great work we did in these small communities, to improve the school facilities for the children.

(A huge thanks to Cari from EDventures for sharing her photos with us! They're beautiful - thanks :) )

By Milton & April

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