Part 1

5 February Tuesday

Today is the day, and a very early day as well!! At 10:15 I will depart and leave the Netherlands for six months, to study abroad in South Africa. Around 11 o’clock at night, local time, I will arrive in South Africa, where my uncle will fetch me from the airport.

6 February Wednesday

As it was a long flight yesterday Leonie and I chose to use today to relax, to enjoy our arrival in Cape Town (Tokai to be precise), the nice weather (30 degrees !!!!) and to make some traveling plans for the upcoming few days, which of course we are going to spend as real tourists.

7 February Thursday

Kalkbay, that’s todays plan, so Leonie and I left late in the morning. Kalkbay is a really nice place, lots of little local shops, and also popular for its rockpool (a pool made out of rocks, close by the sea as the sea provides the water for the pool). Good restaurant to remember: Cape to Cuba, we had some lunch there and afterwards we headed back to Tokai. But not without bumping into a cute little second-hand book shop, the owner, such a nice man, gave us a little tour through his shop and of course I left with two books (going to be a challenge already taking everything back home with all that extra weight).

Had our first night out in Cape Town as well, my cousin took us to Claremont, we went to Tin Roof/ Roof top/ Shoes place / Roof, a lot of different names for the same place, apparently quite popular, and we were not allowed to leave without taking a photograph in front of the Tin Roof wall. Another funny fact, everyone drinks Vodka Redbull, you’ll have a hard time finding people drinking beer or wine, suppose it

has to do with the prices, which in clubs are very low in comparison to the prices of wine and beer.

8 February Friday

Today started as a bit of a lazy day (as we all drank Vodka Redbull last night, not really a surprise). But as it was a nice day we did decide to go to Greenmarket square, where we met up with Vanessa and Bieke (two other students from Physiotherapy) and spent the afternoon wandering around, and had some lunch after we had seen the whole market. In the evening we decided to go out for dinner in Kalkbay, a restaurant located next to the sea which gave us a beautiful view. Speaking of view, afterwards my uncle took us up the Constantiaberg, Ocobsovee, this gave us a stunning view over Cape Town. We quickly got out of the car to take a picture, read; we were being blown away figuratively and literally, the wind was sooo strong.

9 February Saturday

Time for something sportive today, we planned a hike up the Constantiaberg, around the mountain, ending at Silvermine Dam. It started off as a warm clear day. When we reached the top, luckily, we had a stunning view. Then the clouds came in and we had an interesting experience, all we could see was white clouds, never experienced that before, so although we didn’t have any view on one side of the mountain, the hike was definitely worth it! As said we ended our hike at the Silvermine dam, where we had a nice swim (water so black we could hardly see our hands).

10 February Sunday

Off to Kleinmond, we left early today and took the coastal route (which is BEAUTIFUL), to visit my grandfather. On our way around the mountain a huge cloud came over, it looked like a wave of clouds closing over the mountaintops, really cool, a pity though that the clouds caused the temperature to drop, but still not complaining!! We arrived around lunch time, after lunch Leonie and I went off for a quick run to explore the area. We ran towards the sea, along the shore front via a beautiful path to the beach. When we got back to the house a nice dinner was waiting for as, sweet corn fritters!!!

11 February Monday

Whale spotting in Hermanus, although it’s not the whale season we are still going to give it a try as Hermanus is a nice place to wander around as well. Unfortunately, there were no whales to be seen so we will have to go back to Hermanus during whale season! We did go to the whale museum, which was very interesting, a nice language experience as well, as all the information is written in both English and Afrikaans. Afrikaans is very similar to Dutch so it was relatively easy for us to understand the text.

After lunch at Wimpy, Stony Point Penguin was the next destination. Although I’ve been there a few times before it still never gets tiring. It’s lovely to see all the penguins coming and going and the area is nice and quiet for them as well. Besides penguins we’ve also seen lots of dassies running around and of course we made lots of pictures again.

Because the weather was finally getting better, Leonie and I decided to go to the beach to relax and read for a little while. Grandpa let us take his bakkie (a pickup), my first time driving on the left-hand side!! Very interesting experience since everything is on the ‘wrong’ side, but overall it went quite well and it was lots of fun.

12 February Tuesday

As there is a nice mountain, nearly in the back garden of my grandfathers house, another hike was planned today. We left early in the morning so it would still be cool while hiking. Again we had a wonderful hike, very different from the other hikes. This time we were surrounded by lots of greenery during our hike, such as for example proteas (the tulip of South Africa).

Another place we wanted to go to was the harbour, it’s small but cosy. We went into some of the local shops, one of them a book shop (again, love books), and again such a nice saleslady. She told us a lot about the area, nice places to visit, things to keep in mind and of course a lot about books. Afterwards Granny Mouse took us to KAWS, Kleinmond Animal Welfare Society, Kleinmond Dierewelsynsvereniging in Afrikaans. An organisation who helps dogs and cats injured or left alone by providing them healthcare, food and hopefully a new loving home.

Back at the house we left almost immediately, first stop was the post office, afterwards the printshop and the Spar (supermarket) so we could prepare a nice lunch. Afterwards, as Leonie and I both love the bakkie and the beach, we took the bakkie again and went off to the beach, to enjoy the sun (who finally decided to join us in Kleinmond). On our way to the beach we quickly stopped at the shop again, where everything was completely dark and we had to use the flashlight on our phones to be able to see what to buy. Apparently, there was a load shedding going on, which means the power cuts off for about two hours at a time, a fun experience then, but an actually not so pleasant daily routine as we would later find out. Early evening we had dinner at the beach restaurant with the four of us

As we enjoyed our first run so much we took off today as well, just before the sunset we sprinted towards the see and had a stunning view of the sunset while running.

13 February Wednesday

Today I will be on my way to my accommodation at the main office of PS4L in Maitland. I will be staying in Maitland till the 24th of June and after the 24th I will start traveling around! Arriving at my accommodation the first obvious difference I found were all the gates, 4 gates/doors before you get inside the building. Next; only 50 litres of water are allowed per person a day, which means a maximum of two-minutes of showering (going to be a challenge). With these water restrictions the next rule they introduced to me was:

Yellow let it mellow 😬

Brown flush it down 😬

In other words: don’t flush the toilet when not necessary! Adding to my grocery list: air fresheners :). Although I had met most of my roommates before, we decided to go on a small road trip to get to know each other better. Since I had only seen the three Dutch students a few times in the Netherlands and hadn’t met the Belgium student before, it was a good decision to do so. Off to Greenpoint! We walked around the stadium, towards V&A waterfront and the touristic area with street artists everywhere, nice music and of course we also took a picture in the famous frame with the Table Mountain view in the background. We ended the day with dinner and a nice drink at Trenchtown, cool place in the Observatory.

14 February Thursday

One of the places on the bucket list: Kirstenbosch, to visit the Botanical Gardens. In three words, BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL, GORGEOUS. As we (Max and I) were not prepared at all, we just followed the first sign that caught our attention, Skeleton Gorge. As it turned out, that was the way up Table Mountain 🤦‍. Halfway up the mountain we encountered some other hikers and we found out that it was still another 1,5 hours to go to the top, since it was 30 degrees and very sunny (and I was wearing slippers plus we had only half a bottle of water left) we decided to go back down. Even from where we were the view was already stunning so we will definitely have to go up all the way next time!

15 February Friday

Time to go for a surf, my aim for June, I want to be able to stand on a surfboard and to be able to ride a few good waves!! As Muizenberg beach is a good beach for beginners to practice and not too far away, that was the place we would go for our first surf this year. Never had such a fright in my life, the shark alarm went off 😱! It was so loud, and everyone was racing out of the water, funny story afterwards but still scary. After a half hour break, we were allowed to go back into the water, and it actually went quite well, had a few nice waves!

The other day we had met some locals at Trenchtown who invited us to their braai. No sooner said than done, we went with all the CASO students (13 total) to the braai. Not the nicest area but a fantastic experience. Met new people and also learned a lot about their way of living, for example, life in a township.

16 February Saturday

Another surf today, except this time with my uncle Brian. Still, a long way to achieve my goal but I’m trying and had two nice waves this time😂. Plus, the most important thing is fun, and that’s definitely the case! Also had my second braai during my stay in South Africa, ribs and burgers! A lovely evening playing ‘’Carmen’s game’’ with a nice glass of South African wine.

17 February Sunday

Back in Maitland, I met my new roommates, four more girls arrived from Finland this morning. In the afternoon our first meeting for our CASO project was scheduled. Our meeting would take place at the Tigers milk restaurant, mostly to meet all the students and to gain some more information about the project. Since Trenchtown was such a success last time, we chose to go there today after the meeting with all the students participating in the CASO project from the Netherlands, Belgium and Finland (the South African students will join us from tomorrow on).

18 February Monday

Yesterday all the CASO students from overseas had their first meeting and today the Intensive Program will officially start. Our first activity scheduled was a visit at WD Hendricks primary school, an Afrikaans speaking school. Of all the schools that are working in collaboration with PS4L, this is the poorest school, children only have to pay a small contribution to the school. The organization PS4L is working with schools in the area of Kensington, where they provide the schools with coaches. Coaches with enough knowledge to give the children PE (Physical Education) lessons. The coach and principal gave us a tour around the school and gave us some background information about the school but also about the area and the environment these children are living in. Ninety percent of the children at WD Hendricks have to grow up without parenting, the parents are either on drugs, alcohol, in prison, part of gangsterism, many children are orphans. The circumstances in which they grow up are bad. At night and even some days during school time gunshots can be heard. Imagine children growing up in a home where it’s normal for the dad to go out at night shooting with and at gangs. The influence of the gangs on the children is huge, gangs will try to select children to join them and persuade them with clothes and food, because of this lots of children will drop out of school. Where you will see classes with over sixty children in the first grades, the classes are growing smaller in the older grades 5-7. Then of course there is also the lack of food, some children that are coming to school haven’t eaten a proper meal in days. Because of all of this the children might react different at school, rude even sometimes, but the thing is they really are missing role models in their lives. That’s where Play Sport 4 Life comes in, they show these children that social issues can be solved by using sport. They give the children the opportunity to better their lives though sport, and it works!

The program for the afternoon was a guided tour through the Heart museum. A very interesting story which I would like to share:

On 3rd December 1967 Professor Christiaan Neethling Barnard stunned the world by performing the world’s first heart transplant.

‘’The mother, Mrs. Myrtle Ann Darvall, 53, and her 25-year-old daughter, Denise Ann, were on their way to tea with friends in Milnerton on Saturday afternoon. In Main Road, Observatory, they stopped to buy a cake and as they were crossing the road, were knocked down by a car. Mrs. Darvall died almost immediately. Later that night her distressed husband put his signature to papers authorizing doctors at Groote Schuur Hospital to take out his daughter’s heart.’’

The first person to receive a successful human heart transplantation was Mr. Washkansky. Mr. Louis Washkansky, 53, died in Groote Schuur Hospital 18 days to the hour after being given a young woman’s heart. Louis Washkansky had been admitted 3 weeks previously for possible transplantation as a result of ischaemic cardiomyopathy following 3 previous myocardial infarctions. Louis Washkansky survived 18 days before dying of pneumonia. During the night he died, Oz hand ventilated the patient on 100% oxygen for several hours, as the Bird ventilator was unable to cope with his poorly compliant lungs. At autopsy the heart showed no signs of rejection. The operation was also unique because Miss Darvall’s kidneys were also removed, put on ice and sent to Karl Bremer Hospital, and yet another life was spared. One month later a second successful transplant was performed by the same team. The patient, Dr Phillip Blaiberg survived 18 months and was the first man to look at his own heart.

This, of course, is a short summary of the whole story but I personally was really interested and really enjoyed the tour and the museum.

19 February Tuesday

Day number two of the intensive program, today we’re going to CPUT (Cape Peninsula University of Technology), today each of us students has to give a presentation about the school system in their own country (since we’re all students from different countries; South Africa, Belgium, Finland and the Netherlands). These presentations mainly about the system concerning the primary schools in our home countries. So just before I went to South Africa I had an interview with different primary school teachers and asked them about their opinion and view on the Dutch school system. The idea of the presentations was definitely a success, we had a few nice discussions about the different systems and it was a nice way to get to know each other as well. It took us the whole morning to finish the presentations so to make up for time we got a brief summary of the following presentations; ‘’International inter-professional collaboration & communication’’ and ‘’ePortfolio & Digital storytelling’’. The last presentation was to teach us about how to make a video and digital portfolio, this is an assignment given to us, we have to make a digital story and portfolio about the two weeks Intensive Program we are participating in.

Ever heard of full moon yoga on Table Mountain? Definitely something you should do, even if yoga isn’t your type of sport (believe me, it’s not mine either but I really enjoyed it). There were hundreds of people participating, all climbed/ or drove partly up Table Mountain. The yoga lesson was given by one instructor only, it was a great atmosphere and of course the view was amazing, during our yoga session we saw a beautiful sunset and on the other side of the mountain you could see the full moon coming up.

20 February Wednesday

Today we had lessons planned at UCT, starting with ‘’The Empowered Leader’’ and followed up by ‘’Cultural Diversity’’. From all the important lessons we learned today I will name three of them by using quotes.

‘’A leader is not only a leader of the group but also a leader of himself’’

‘’A good head and a good heart make a formidable combination’’

‘’Yesterday I was clever and wanted to change the world, today I’m wise and I want to change myself’’

21 February Thursday

As the name of the organisation is PlaySport4Life it was of course just a matter of time before we started exercising ourselves. Today we received a physical education lesson from a master student. We learned a number of typical South African games, that we will probably see often at the primary schools where we’re going to work at. Besides South African games we also leaned a typical Finish dance from the Finish girls, as you can see we had lots of fun!! Which is also important for us to remember, physical education lessons have to be fun for the children as well!! While we were working on how to create lessons and use games to teach children important life skills, we also discussed why the physical education lessons are important and have to improve. In 1994 laws were changed and because of that the physical education lessons were no longer part of the curriculum. Nowadays this law has been changed back, and physical education together with life orientation lessons are back in the curriculum. Problem is that, because of the gap created in 1994, the current teachers don’t know how to give the physical education lessons, and that’s where PlaySport4Life comes in!

22 February Friday

During my project I will be working at a primary school in collaboration with PlaySport4Life, this means I have to know how the school system works in South Africa. Today we had a presentation explaining the school system. We learned that primary schools in South Africa start with Grade R, after that the grades will be counted from 1 to 7, from grade 8 onwards the kids will be in high school. Most schools (if they give physical education lessons at all) will only provide one hour a week of PE lessons per class, which is definitely not much, so it’s important that the time scheduled for PE is used as efficiently as possible.

In the afternoon two social events were scheduled, first stop: Crocodile Diving in Paarl. First, we were given a tour around the crocodile farm, it was actually really impressive, it wasn’t big at all, and you couldn’t see much because the water was green, which is a good thing for the crocodiles as camouflage, but apparently there were around 300 crocodiles in the water!!! Which made me wonder if crocodiles enjoy living so close to each other. After the tour we were ready for the crocodile diving part, if you were brave enough of course (and of course a money matter, since it’s quite expensive) but hey, I’m not here every day so count me in!! It turns out crocodiles can be quit lazy animals, but that can also be a sham because I know they can be really fast as well. At least the crocodiles we were diving with had a lazy day, a dead chicken was even given to them to eat (really nice idea to have a dead chicken with you in the water😂). Eventually one crocodile came up to fetch his snack, even though I knew the crocodile was coming it was still a shock when he decided to attack the dead chicken, really cool to see!!

Since we’re in South Africa we also had to go to a lion shelter. It’s a place where they give shelter to mistreated and abused lions. One lion was saved from a circus, he was beaten so hard that his jaw was broken, it never healed hundred percent so you can still hear from the sounds he’s making that something is wrong with his jaw. A good initiative and lovely to see the way they are taking care of the lions.

23 February Saturday

Our Saturday program: a hike up Table Mountain, optional because it’s in the weekend but of course all of us went because we need to be able to say we’ve done the hike up and down Table Mountain at least once before we go back home. And what a hike it was, beautiful that’s for sure, and hectic as well. it was a tough climb and really warm as well. Eventually we did the hike up in an hour and a half. It’s a good thing they built a restaurant up top, really could use a drink when I reached the top.

After a nice drink and some food, we decided to start our climb down. Only we didn’t feel like taking the same way back, so we chose to walk to the other side of the mountain first. When we reached the other side, we discovered that we found the Skeleton gorge path down (remember the 14th of Feb 😂). Skeleton gorge took us another 4 hours to get down, however I have only one word to explain how awesome it was WOWWWWWWWWWW, it really was beautiful, the view but also the climb down, we had so much fun.

At some stage there wasn’t really a path anymore, there were just rocks and tree stumps. We had to climb and slide all over different sized rocks but fortunately someone was kind enough to make some ladders for us on the way as well! For everyone looking for a nice, different, adventurous hike, Skeleton gorge is the one! Another advantage, when you climb down the Skeleton gorge route you will end up in the botanical gardens (For free!! You will need to invest some time though 😊).

24 February Sunday

My aim was to surf at least once a week, so off we went. Today I’m taking two other girls with me as well (one student from Belgium and one from Finland, really cool to spend time with them and get to know them outside the classes), and while I’m still not a good surfer I’m going to try and teach them to surf. The waves weren’t very big today, so it was nice to practice. We chose to go to Blouberg beach for a change, this beach is closer to where we’re staying which will save us some money in Uber costs, we are still students :). I managed to get a few nice waves today, and also the other girls picked up surfing quickly. Again had lots of fun!

25 February Monday

Intensive Program, week two started with a bit of a shock, around the corner from where my accommodation is, a car accident happened! Here in South Africa you see hundreds of people crossing the busy main roads on foot in between the moving cars and today a pedestrian got killed while crossing the road. We had to drive past the accident to get to the university and saw the dead body covered with the blanket lying on the ground, definitely a confronting moment.

As soon as we arrived at the University groups were formed for our mini project, we will be working in groups of five students on a lesson plan for a PE lesson, a lesson that we will later also give to a class and receive feedback on afterwards. The important assignment for us while preparing the lesson was to make a lesson where the children will be physically active and were the children will also learn a life lessons.

First task, our team name! We are five students of four different countries and backgrounds and our own strong personalities, this is why we choose to be ‘’the Big Five’’, we’re in Africa after all.

In the evening Faiza, a coach working for PlaySport4Life, introduced us (Leonie and I) to Central Hockey Club. Faiza arranged that we could play hockey during our stay in South Africa. As hockey is a winter sport in South Africa the season will only start in a month’s time, but the pre-season training just started and they invited us to join these training sessions for the first few weeks. They also invited us to join in their trials for the first team and to play competition with them! By the way, look at the picture, never had such a nice view during my hockey practice (Table Mountain).

26 February Tuesday

Today we started the day with presentations again, each group had to present their lesson plan and everyone would receive feedback, because tomorrow we will have to give our PE lesson to a class at Factreton primary school in Kensington. My group, the Big Five choose teamwork as life goal and after receiving feedback and adjusting our lesson plan a bit we continued working on our digital story, which (thanks to Tauirah) is looking REALLY good already.

The South African students invited us to a theatre in the evening, Woza Albert. It was an Afrikaans spoken theatre performance in Baxter Theatre in Cape Town. It definitely was really interesting to watch, you would think that we, especially the Belgium and Dutch students, would understand most of the Afrikaans they spoke, but this was not the case. They talked so fast, it was really funny actually, literally everyone was laughing around us and we had no clue what the joke was. It took me a while but eventually I could understand the outlines of the story they were telling, about apartheid and how all citizens looked at god differently, some kept hope, others had given up on him, or laughed at him. It was actually really interesting to see all these different characters. While enjoying a cocktail, the South African students explained more about the theatre and the history of the Woza Albert story.

27 February Wednesday

In the past week every group prepared their own lesson plan, focused on a life skill and of course having fun. Our lesson was about teamwork and the importance of teamwork in life. We started the lesson with a song as a warming up, ‘’head, shoulders, knees and toes knees and toes’’, a simple song but all the kids loved it. To get all the kids attention and keep them concentrated we added a reflex game to the warming up. The kids had to stand in pairs and had to listen to the commands from the song, for example ‘’shoulder’’ than all the kids had to touch their shoulders. In between each pair stood a cone, on the command ‘’cone’’ the children had to try to beat their partner and be the fastest to get to the cone. Our aim was to actively involve the children during our lesson, and we also tried add a cardiovascular stimulus by using a tap game. During our lesson the children started off by working on their own and after each assignment the children had to work in bigger groups. During our main activity we split the class in half and formed two teams. We played the game ‘’cross the river’’ where the children had to use a few hoops to get to the other side of the ‘’river’’. The children could move forward by bringing the back hoop up front. After the main game we started our cooling down session, and not to forget the reflection! TEAMWORK AND FUN that was what the children picked up from our lesson, although it was a bit chaotic at times the children definitely understood the aim and purpose of our lesson, so I say that was a good start!

Next: Spice Route, also known as wine tasting! I tasted seven amazing wines, white, rose and red, this combined with again a stunning view was a perfect afternoon.

28 February Thursday

Today a visit was planned to APD Drakenstein in Paarl. APD stands for Western Cape Association for Persons with Disabilities. I personally found this organisation very inspiring, they try to help as many disabled people as possible and try to teach them life skills so they can learn to be independent and can contribute as part of the community. It’s beautiful to see how they give these people the opportunity to learn and work, and how this works out for them, they enjoy what they are doing and after two years of this program most of them will be able to make their own products and work for themselves or they can choose to stay with the company. In the text below you will find their vision, mission and core values as described on the website of APD.

Vision

Western Cape Association for Persons with Disabilities strives towards an inclusive society in which persons with disabilities are equal and active citizens.

Mission

To work together with persons with disabilities and their families in facilitating social development and upliftment services whereby they take the lead in removing barriers and achieving independence.

Core Values

Respect
We believe that all people are deserving of respect and dignity, and everyone is to be treated with fairness and integrity

Inclusion
We embrace diversity and recognise the contribution of all individuals while including beneficiaries, volunteers, sponsors and staff in planning and decision-making

Empowerment
We strive towards independence and equality of all people and undertake to build human capacity on every level of our organisation

We are passionate about striving towards an inclusive society in which persons with disabilities are equal and active citizens. This was true of the small group of people who began our organisation in 1937 and it remains true for the many people who join us in our work today.

We work with persons with disabilities and their families where they take the lead in achieving their potential, dreams and goals, and ultimately independence. This may include (but is not limited to) sourcing mobility devices, dealing with social issues within the home, arranging for home care, caring and stimulating children with severe disabilities or lobbying for accessibility in the community.

We are one of 9 Provincial Associations situated throughout South Africa affiliated to the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA), which in turn is affiliated to the South African Disability Alliance (SADA) and Rehabilitation International (RI).

Anyone who suddenly finds themselves faced with disability and nowhere to turn for advice or help is welcome to call on us! Our services are free of charge and open to anyone who needs help.

This whole program is run by volunteers, donations and the money the company earns by selling the products that the disabled people are learning to make. They learn to make pencases, bags and clothing, all made out of donated denim and other fabrics. So, everyone who is coming to South Africa and still has an old pair of jeans laying around, take it with! These people will love you for it! After we finished a tour around we played some games during the break and had a lovely time with the people from the program.

Our evening plan for today is to go to a movie, but not any movie: Mamma Mia 2!! Good thing to know about me, love to watch Mamma Mia! To make it even better, it was not just any cinema, we went to the open-air cinema in the Botanical gardens in Kirstenbosch. This really is a nice set up, you can order a chair and a blanket, you collect these at the entrance and after that you can sit anywhere you like. Only downside, the day we decided to go to the open-air cinema the weather decided to change into rain. But none the less I had a wonderful time.

1 March Friday

Time flies when you’re having fun! After two weeks of working together with a fantastic and mixed group of students it was time to receive feedback on our work. The teachers gave us feedback on our work and. we talked about our experiences. It was fantastic working together with students from different countries, cultures and backgrounds, we learned so much from each other and it is sad that we will not be working with the South African students anymore, they unfortunately had to do this as an extra course and therefore cannot continue working with us at the schools. None the less I had a wonderful time and learned a lot about the countries and the differences. And thanks to TD we also have a stunning video showing what we did in the past two weeks and showing how we experienced these past two weeks, so if you’re interested let me know 😊. The next phase for the students from Belgium, Finland and the Netherlands will be working at the schools, with what we have learned from the intensive program we will continue and learn a lot from the children at the schools itself.

Of course we couldn’t just leave like that, we’re in Africa, so that means we will have a braai! A nice braai to celebrate the awesome two weeks and nice friends we have made. As suspected the braai was a good idea, a great success, we had to rush it at the end though. While the last sausage was lying on the braai we had to pack all our stuff because a strike was coming up. This happens every so often, when the underprivileged students (who depend on the government for money to study) don’t get their money in time they start strikes. These can turn out quiet badly, they vandalize the school buildings with fire, rocks and in other violent ways. This is actually something which for me doesn’t make sense. Destroying the school buildings and properties because they don’t get their money in time to study, so they basically say they want to study but in protest because they can’t, they destroy the thing that helps them to improve their chances to a better future.

Instead of finishing the braai at the University we decided to continue in Maitland, at our accommodation. We definitely had a fun time, had some drinks and some of us also went out to Claremont.

2 March Saturday

As you can see in the picture we had a good party yesterday night, two slept over on the couch! Today was an early morning, while all the others left for a day site seeing I planned a weekend with family. It really is awesome to be able to just go over for the weekend, so nice to spend more time with my family while I’m here. My uncle came by in the morning to fetch me, before we went to Tokai (where my uncle lives) we made a stopover at the Sportsman’s warehouse, a large sports store and luckily for me they have a lot of hockey stuff as well. Since I decided to play hockey during my stay in South Africa, and probably also going to compete in the trials and competition, I had to do some shopping… The only hockey stuff I brought from Holland were my gloves and wrong sized hockey shoes…. So I bought a new pair of shoes, shin protectors, mouth protector, socks, a bottle and while I was at it I also bought a new hockey stick (not such a good idea to leave me alone in a hockey shop). So now the only thing I have to do is pass the trials… nice challenge :). After I had spent all my money my uncle, cousin and myself went for a nice surf, still trying to do my weekly surf practice, although today couldn’t really be called surfing.. think I only got one wave where I nearly managed to stand, but at least I tried! Next time better!

3 March Sunday

As I still was at my uncles place in Tokai we decided to organise a braai (ribs) and go to the Heritage Market. The Heritage market is a place consisting of six shops/markets/ restaurants. The one we came for was the ice-cream shop, homemade ice-cream and really nice, highly recommended! Also the place is beautiful to sit while eating your ice cream, as the name of the area ‘’Uitsig’’ describes in Afrikaans, it is a place with a stunning view, lots of green and mountains in the background, really worth seeing.

4 March Monday

Morning meeting with PlaySport4Life, tomorrow we will each start at a different primary school so a meeting is planned to make some arrangements and to make a project plan because I also have to do research during my working at the schools. So basically this whole day we all have been working on our projects, but unfortunately I haven’t really made any progress. Before I can start with my project I have to make sure this is a project that will benefit PlaySport4Life, and I also have to decide which schools and classes I’m going to include during my research. Furthermore I have to make appointments with the principles of the schools and the coaches to check if my plans are realistic and if I can count on their help.

Apart from working on our projects, Miles and the other PlaySport4Life coaches told us about the area, and explained that it can be really cruel. It might be that you will hear gunshots during school hours or other types of violence. They also told us that yesterday in the street where one of the coaches lives a child was killed, five bullets in the head… The point basically was, always think about what you’re about to do, and stick together, don’t go wonder around on your own and especially not at night.

Evening plan, hockey preseason training, preparing for the trials and the competition, hopefully playing top class with the first team of Central hockey club!

5 March Tuesday

First day at the school, first impression: it’s one big chaos with lots of lovely children. It’s so impressive to hear the stories of the children, about their background, life, religion and culture. These children have already experienced so much and yet they are only children. It’s a bit of a weird week as well because the coming two weeks the children will have assignments, which means, among other things, the children will be tested on their sports abilities. Due to the assessments the Physical Education/ PE lessons are a bit different at the moment, all children are tested one by one, which means that many children have to stand still for a long time. Apart from that I already really love it, and I am curious to see how these lessons will go when there are no more assessments. Another fact, everyone can dance! Even the grade 3 children are already so good at dancing and it’s stunning to see how much fun they have while doing it (wish I could dance like that, for now when it comes to dancing the children have to teach me, instead of me giving the lesson they will take over 🙂 ). Although it is my first day at the school I can already say that it’s going to be hard to leave these children after my project, I really love it, spending time with them, playing games, talking, having fun, small things that I can do so they won’t have to worry and get their minds off their home situation. At the end of the day Eevi (Finish student who works with me at WDH primary) and I even got a present from the girls, a beautiful drawing with the text ‘’Welcome home, we are all family’’

6 March Wednesday

Second day at the WD Hendricks, today we had the fourth grades for PE lessons, all groups have one PE lesson per week and each PE lesson takes about one hour. One hour of PE a week is definitely not much so it’s important to use the available time as efficiently as possible, the children must move actively and at the same time enjoy the lesson. Typically, the girls only want to play netball, while the boys only want to play soccer, and then there is dancing, something both the girls and boys enjoy doing. Another thing the girls especially really enjoy is taking pictures, as you can see in the two pictures below. After we’d had a photoshoot, it was up to me to give a PE lesson to the girls. Because we didn’t have enough material (balls, cones etc.) we decided that the girls would show me some typical games they play during their school break, or in their free time. One of the games is called ‘’I have a little doggie, his name was Puf’’, for all the Dutchies reading my blog this is their version of ‘’Zakdoekje leggen’’. This is an easy and fun game which can be played at all times.

In the evening it was time for my hockey practice again, I will have a training session every Monday and Wednesday, if after the trials I make the first team this will stay the same, if not then I will only have training on Mondays.

7 March Thursday

Apart from dancing the girls are also excellent hairdressers! The girls really love the fact that my hair is blond and long, they often spend their whole break plaiting my hair.

Today I also learned that Justin (the coach at WD) is trying to organize a sports weekend trip for as many children as possible. He wants to arrange transport for all the children, food, drinks, sport clothing and without children having to pay for something, because most of them can’t afford it. The idea behind this is that the children will be taken out of their community, most of them have never been anywhere else before, and to show them what other options there are in life. And also, to show them how beautiful their own country is. The children will be attending a sports tournament, where they will be playing against other teams. To make sure the children feel like real sportsmen and women, and like a real team, sport clothes will be organised with their names written on the back of their shirts. The plan is to leave on a Friday and come back on a Sunday. Of course, this plan needs some funding, so I decided to help Justin with this project, making sure that all the kids can come on this trip, because I really believe this means so much for the children and can show them that life isn’t always bad and that they can always make something out of their lives. Especially now that PlaySport4Life is giving them opportunities to do so via sports. As soon as I arrived home I started writing a text, my plan was to first start a small fundraising, because this was the biggest obstacle. After calculating how much was needed per child (which is only 5 euros) I decided to ask people back home for a small donation of 5 euros, 75 rand, which over here is a lot of money. As social media is a powerful tool, I posted the text on Facebook and Instagram. In no time I had so many positive reactions, and this kept on going for the rest of the day. I was happily surprised and it is truly lovely to know that so many friends and family care and were willing to help. By the end of the day we had already raised enough money for a whole class to come with (and the classes over here are big!), without them having to pay anything.

Ever heard of First Thursday?, over here that is a huge thing, everyone goes out for dinner, all the students go out at night and of course we decided to do so as well. Miles, the founder of PS4L, took us out for dinner and afterwards we went out with the whole group.

Text on Fb/Instagram:

‘’Vision: Enabled, active, inspired, healthier, youth in transformed communities.’’

‘’Mission: Transforming young lives through education & sport.’’

Beeld je eens in: negentig procent van de ouders in je leefomgeving is verslaafd aan drugs en alcohol of zit in de gevangenis. Een groot deel van je klasgenootjes is wees en leeft op straat. Van het horen van geweerschoten in de avond en soms zelfs overdag schrik je al lang niet meer op. Gangsters en moordpartijen zijn wekelijkse kost. Dit is de realiteit waar veel kinderen uit Maitland, een buurt in Kaapstad, mee opgroeien.

Samen met de non-profit organisatie PlaySport4Life probeer ik deze kinderen te laten inzien dat het ook anders kan. Door middel van sport mobiliseert deze organisatie zo veel mogelijk jongeren op een gezonde manier in het leven te staan. De jeugd krijgt op die manier de kans zich te ontwikkelen en hogerop te komen. Momenteel zijn we bezig een sportweekend te organiseren in een van de armste schooltjes uit de buurt. Voor velen wordt dit de eerste keer dat ze een kijkje kunnen nemen buiten hun eigen leefomgeving. Een trip waar ze zelf nooit genoeg geld voor zouden hebben om die te maken.

Mijn doel is om zo veel mogelijk kinderen mee te nemen en hen de tijd van hun leven geven.
Voor iedere vijf euro die opgehaald wordt, kan er een extra kindje mee op deze sporttrip. Niet alleen kunnen de kinderen voor deze vijf euro mee op dit weekendje weg, ze krijgen ook een eigen sportshirtje met hun naam erop. Zo’n t-shirt is  voor hen een mooie manier om deel uit te maken van een team en om zich een echte topsporter te voelen.

Jullie zouden niet alleen mij maar vooral deze jongeren een enorm plezier doen om een kleine bijdrage te leveren aan PlaySport4Life. Zou jij ons team willen helpen en  kindje willen sponsoren?

Baie dankie!

8 March Friday

After a whole morning working on the online module and my project, I had the afternoon off for some site seeing. Together with the Finish girls Eevi, Miira, Mira and Laura I went to Bo Kaap, the street with all the colourful houses. Really a stunning street to see, a pity though that cars are allowed to park in the street as well, would have been even nicer if the street was only meant for pedestrians. Again, after a photoshoot and after we had seen all the little galleries and shops we went to Longstreet. Which is at walking distance from Bo Kaap and had some lunch, here I had the best spinach feta quiche ever.

Central Hockey Club, the club where I’m currently playing, organised a hockey tournament, three Fridays in a row, today was the first of the three. Every Friday each team has to play 2 games. At the end of the tournament, the last Friday there is a winner. Also, there are some prizes that can be won. By buying a ticket and choosing a number you can win a prize if your number is drawn. That would be really cool, especially since there is a South African national hockey shirt to be won. So I decided to go for number 4, the number I always choose, my hockey number back home.

9 March Saturday

A lazy day today, looks like my tendon injury came back to tell me I have to slow down. So today I just lay in bed and worked on my project plan. I also went to the pharmacy to buy some painkillers. What I found there amazed me. In the picture below, you can see huge bottles of liquid medication. They even sold bottles that were supposed to help you with strokes, cancer, diabetics…. I wonder how wise it is to use this type of medication…

In the evening we went out for dinner in Observatory and went to the pool bar afterwards, with Pepijn, Mabel and Nora. A nice quiet day for a change :).

10 March Sunday

Work work work, and a lot of rain rain rain, so at least it wasn’t too bad I had to work, knowing that otherwise I would be outside in the rain. In the evening, thank goodness, the rain stopped and we got a STUNNING view of Lions Head, right from our front door.

11 March Monday

Last Thursday I started my fundraising, not really knowing what to expect, but I definitely wanted to give it a shot. When I looked today I had already collected 300 euro’s, and there is still more coming in. Today I told Justin and he was so thankful, as am I! With this money we can already do so much for the children. The trip is now planned for the first weekend in May. The only thing we still have to sort out are the shirts, and when the time comes, food and drinks. It definitely is going to be an amazing weekend, I’m really looking forward to our trip, and the children even more, you should see their faces every time someone is talking about it.

Although all the students got the day off today, because we had to plan the holiday program for next week, I still went to the school together with Justin. It was fantastic to see the children outside the PE lesson. I sat in class with the first graders (this is the only English class in this school, all the other classes have Afrikaans as first language), and I read them a story in Afrikaans. It was really fun to do, and interesting as well. Reading and understanding the text in Afrikaans is not too difficult but it was quite a challenge to explain it to the children, and to make them understand what the story was about.

Something to put on your bucket list if you’re planning to go to South Afrika; eat a Gatsby! I ate my first Gatsby today and oh my word, if you’re talking about fast-food that would be the fast-food king, it is huge, larger then my lower arm, but really nice.

First day of hockey trials! There are two days of trails, today will be the first and Wednesday the second. At the end of the week I will hear if I made the first team. Trails today went quite well and I really enjoyed it, so I guess that’s important!!

12 March Tuesday

I learned how to play netball today, the girls taught me all the rules and we had a competition, really was lots of fun and lots of being physically active, which is something we want to stimulate with these children. Especially after school hours, we want them to use sport to make a change in their lives, and there are already great examples of children who took this opportunity and are making a change in their lives.

Unfortunately, we had some tension today at school, we almost had a knife stabbing in the schoolyard. Two children, aged around 13, both took a knife from home, and not just a knife… and they threatened to stab each other. Luckily the teachers were there in time and took the knifes away after which the children both ran off to their houses. This is a good example that shows that the children do not have a good role model in their lives, this is what these children see every day, violence, sometimes even towards them. Their parents are often involved in drugs and shootings, and they either know someone who already got killed or who kills others. Their living environment has taught them to think and act in a way that to overcome your problems you act with violence.

Fien my roommate prepared Ostrich for everyone for dinner this evening. We were 8 students in total, and for all of us it was the first time to eat ostrich steak and hamburgers. Although the idea of eating ostrich didn’t sound really appealing, it tasted really nice! After a five-star rated dinner we went to the Labia Theatre. This is a very old and very small cinema, only 60 people can fit in to watch the movie, and we were a group of 8 so we already filled a big percentage of the room. We watched ‘’a star is born’’, if you haven’t seen it please do so!! OMG it was fantastic, I really enjoyed it!

13 March Wednesday

The kids are done with their assessments and their tasks, so they have a lot of free time. At the moment we don’t really have PE lessons, we are just playing sport and all the children can join in. So, we danced today, well the children danced, I tried to dance, it was really fun! After that, a bit of hair braiding again, the girls wanted me to look like them, like a schoolgirl :). I went home looking like Pippi Langkous.

Second and last days of trials!! This training was definitely not my best … so let’s hope for the best… A training group of 21 players is selected for the first team. The basic team consists of 15 players, the other 6 players always train with the team. 15 are in, six are always training with the team as reserves, When you’re not performing you’re out of the basic team and will be part of the extra six players. We will probably hear on Friday who made the basic team, so for now everyone who attended the trails will just have to wait. It would be really awesome to play in the first team, they are going to play top class, where the second team is going to play third class.  

14 March Thursday

For the children today it is basically their last day of school before their two-week break. During the holiday we will give all the children the opportunity to play sports through our holiday program, so I will see some of the children during the first week of their holiday, but as this is optional not all the kids will attend. The holiday program is for all the kids that are interested, which are quite a lot of kids from what I’ve heard. During today’s school day I played a lot of netball with the girls, the boys were playing soccer as that is seen as more of a boy’s sport and netball as the girl’s sport.

During half hour break, Justin and I went to buy a Gatsby, my second Gatsby. Also we bought some bread and French fries for the children, so they could make their own Gatsby, because we had found out that one of the children hadn’t had dinner for over a week… and I wouldn’t be able to eat a Gatsby in front of them knowing that..

15 March Friday

I MADE THE FIRST TEAM, today I got the message that I’m in the first ladies’ team of Central Hockey Club, which is really awesome, I’m so excited to start with the competition!

Apart from that awesome news, this Friday was just an ordinary study day, on Friday we don’t have PE lessons at school, we can use this day to work on our project, which is what I did most of the day.

Also, Charlotte, a student from Belgium who lived with us for a couple of weeks, left us today for her last two weeks of travelling before returning back to Belgium.

Again, we had quite a lot or rain in the morning, it clearly is starting to go into the winter season, more and more rain is coming. Luckily for me the weather was nice in the evening during my hockey tournament, no rain and a comfortable temperature.

16 March Saturday

I’ve been in Cape Town for over a month now, Cape Town has been as I expected and more. There is a lot of diversity, lots of different nature, cultures, and activities to do but it’s also hectic. It’s busy 24/7, there are many people living in Cape Town, often in bad circumstances, homeless, drugs, alcohol, gangsters, traffic is hectic and from where I live in the Netherlands in comparison to where I live in Maitland it sometimes feels trapped. We are not allowed to go onto the streets on our own, and especially not in the dark, safety is a big thing in South Africa, and especially in the area where I stay. Every day I hear stories from the people living in the community, from the children at the schools, it’s not safe, there is a lot of bad stuff going on and a lot happens even without a clear reason. Shootings at daylight, violence….

It’s a beautiful, but at the same time sometimes a sad experience being here in Maitland. Together with all the students we decided that we were going away for the weekend, to see the other, maybe more touristic side of South Africa for the weekend. We chose Stellenbosch as our location and we went to the backpackers Hikhaya to stay overnight. As we expected this was a whole different side of South Africa, it’s quite safe to walk on your own, the houses look way better and it is definitely a quiet city in comparison to Cape Town. Today, our first day in Stellenbosch, we chose to go to the Botanical gardens, to enjoy the surroundings and the peaceful area. Funny actually how it feels like a whole different country, while it’s only half an hour drive away. For lunch we went to Root 44, a food market with lots of little craft markets, souvenirs, food and artists playing music. Everyone who knows Stellenbosch will probably also know Stellenbosch for its beautiful wine farms and wine-tasting opportunities, you definitely can’t go to Stellenbosch without at least one wine-tasting :).

17 March Sunday

Stellenbosch day two; we planned a hike, the two-waterfall hike from Jonkershoek, but unfortunately I managed to sprain my ankle yesterday with a misstep, so I wasn’t able to do the whole hike. However, I did make it to the first waterfall, while the others carried on to the second I stayed behind with two other students and we decided to go for a swim in the river. We went down to find a good spot and when we found our spot we went into the water. It was so much fun already, and then all of a sudden, a big group of baboons came down. At first, the biggest baboon of the group came down and into the water. He was so close, not even 6 meters away. Then we decided that it might be a good idea to get out of the water, get dressed and move a bit further away. As
soon as we had left, the

rest of the baboons came down, even some baby baboons. It was FANTASTIC!

18 March Monday

Yesterday late afternoon we arrived back in Maitland, and today we got straight back into work. For the children it’s two weeks of holiday now, for PlaySport4Life this means the start of the holiday program. Every holiday PS4L makes sure there is at least a one-week sport program planned for the children to attend, it’s optional but a good way to get the children off the streets. Children over here love playing sports and through sports we can help them to create a better life, it creates opportunities. But also, it gives them something to do, you will see so many people here just sitting or walking around the whole day, even weeks without doing anything. These people don’t have work, lots of them had children already at a very young age, the little money they get by having children isn’t enough to buy them food and without a job or any income lots of them will get stuck on the wrong path. They will get into drugs, alcohol, gangster groups, and they their children will see all of this happening and assume it’s a normal way of life. These children don’t have a good role model, so that’s what we at PS4L are also trying to give them, show them that there are better and other ways to make it in life. The theme of our first day of the holiday program is soccer, a sport all the boys love to play. The girls however are not really keen on playing soccer and the smallest children couldn’t compete against the older children, still we had only a maximum of 10 soccer balls for nearly 200 children. Summary of the first day: CHAOS.

First official hockey training as part of the first lady’s hockey team of Central Hockey Club. It was really interesting, most trainings are really focused on the offence, where our trainer today gave us a training totally focused on the defensive skills of everyone. We talked about our footwork and practiced this during exercises.

19 March Tuesday

The second day of the holiday program, today our theme was baseball, and it went so much better than yesterday. The organisation was way better, we split all the children up in the right age groups, and had more coaches to help us out with the huge number of children. Overall the program went well, the children enjoyed themselves and I also loved it. After the past few weeks working at the schools, I can now definitely say that I really love working with children in general, it’s so grateful and I noticed that I’m so happy while I’m with the kids.

Less good news, we had a shooting again today, luckily no-one died, but someone did get shot. It was actually really strange how it happened. This morning a member of a well-known gang came to our van, asking us to take his daughter with us, so we did. And the next moment the shooting happened. We brought the daughter back home after the holiday program and drove past the place where the shooting took place. The area was still really tense, people staring and very quiet, and while we waved at a man (not knowing at that moment he was one of the bosses of the gangsters) we drove back out of the area towards the main office.

20 March Wednesday

Happy Birthday to Miira, happy birthday to Miira, happy birthday happy birthday, happy birthday to Miira! A beautiful day to celebrate a birthday, nice weather (I will never get enough of the warm weather) and also the third day of the holiday program.

Todays sport activity; HOCKEY, and since I’m the only coach playing hockey I’m in charge of the technical skills and exercises for the children. It really was quite a long time ago that I had given hockey training, so I really enjoyed todays training. This is something I’m quite good at and it is nice to be able to share that with others and in this case with the children. For most of them this was their first time playing hockey and it actually went really well, there were some players who understood the game well and it’s fantastic to see the children improving their skills and enjoying themselves. After the program it was my turn to go with the van to drive the children back to their houses. Funny fact, it’s a 15 person van, total amount of children in the van: not sure but maybe double.. While driving through the community we could still feel the tension in the area after yesterday’s shooting. The children quickly went inside their houses and there were less people than normal outside on the street. In total we also had less children joining our holiday program today, also caused by the tension, and parents keeping their children inside for the day.

Miira our birthday girl invited us over for a drink downstairs (all the Dutch and Belgian students stay upstairs), since I’ve arrived in South Africa I’ve been thinking about making a malva pudding (South African dessert), guess this was a good excuse for me to try 😊. I must say it turned out nicely.

21 March Thursday

Today it’s Human’s Right Day, one of the public holidays in South Africa. Human Rights Day in South Africa is historically linked with March the 21st 1960, and the events of Sharpeville. On that day 69 people died and 180 were wounded when police fired on a peaceful crowd that had gathered in protest against the Pass laws. This day marked an affirmation by ordinary people, rising in unison to proclaim their rights. It became an iconic date in the South African history that today is commemorated as Human Rights Day, as a reminder of the rights and the cost paid for our treasured human rights.

Good timing for a public holiday, this gave us students some time to prepare for the last day of the holiday program, we decided to give the last day a bit of a twist. One of the Belgium students, Fien, came up with the idea to also include a creative part in the program. We bought some wool and Fien taught us how to make bracelets.

Furthermore, I had my second skype meeting today with my teacher in the Netherlands, we started off with some chatting about my life in South Africa, hockey, the culture, climate and afterwards we talked about my project. I am still struggling a bit with the setup but it’s getting somewhere now! In April the testing will start, for me, it’s a bit unfortunate that there is a two-week holiday since this causes some delay but also gives me some time to perfect my plan.

My cousin who is studying at UCT invited me over for dinner at her grandparent’s place. I had such a wonderful time, although we hadn’t seen each other for a while it was so nice to spend time together. I had a lovely night with lovely people.

22 March Friday

After yesterday’s preparations we were all ready for our last day of the holiday program. At first, we started with all different types of sport for the children. But it turned out that dancing for the girls and soccer for the boys was the most favourite of the day and we soon realised that because of this all the children tried to run off to those two sport groups. The bracelets were a huge success, both the girls and the boys loved making them, they were all eager to learn how to make them and all the wool we bought (which was a lot), was finished at the end of the program. Besides bracelets Fien also came with the idea to take nail polish with, among the girls again a great success.

At the end of the holiday program it was time for an interview, PlaySport4Life is busy making a new promotion video and therefore they need our input as students working in the schools and the community. For me this was also a good moment for a small reflection about my experiences so far at the schools, the things I’ve seen and heard so far. This small moment of reflective thinking made me think that this would be good for many people to see and experience and it made me see how spoiled I actually am. Having clean drinking water, a roof above my head, plenty of food every day and being able to take long showers.. Now I nearly feel guilty when I’m in the shower for more than two minutes. But apart from these luxuries, also the luxury of having a loving family around me, I have a fantastic mom and dad, a little (lengthwise not so little anymore) brother, my grandmother, Charlie (my dog), all close and always there to help me. All of this might seem normal in the Netherlands but in the area where I’m staying now this is a luxury. To answer one of the questions from the interview by PlaySport4Life; ‘’Yes I would recommend other (physiotherapy) students to come over and do their internship at PlaySport4Life, it might not have to do much with the theoretical part of physiotherapy, but it will definitely benefit you in many other ways in life and in your future work field‘’.

Interview done, off to Kleinmond to see my grandfather again. This time I’m taking the Finnish students with me, and I’m going to drive for the first time by myself for a longer distance in South Africa on the other side of the road. While driving the coastal route we encountered the most stunning sunset, I’ve done this route quite a few times now but wow it keeps amazing me how beautiful it actually is.

23 March Saturday

Yesterday evening we arrived in Kleinmond where a nice dinner was waiting for us. Today I planned a whole trip to show the Finnish girls around. Starting with KAWS, the animal welfare organisation where my grandmother works, granny Mouse told us yesterday about the bookstore they started. Apart from their collection of clothing and household products KAWS is also collecting books now. All these products will be sold for a really cheap price and the money raised through this system will be used to take care of the animals. The bookstore we all found really interesting so we went there first thing today to have a look and discovered that granny mouse was not lying about the cheap prices, nearly all the books were sold for 10 rand, which is not even one euro. With all the money raised through these second-hand shops the organisation manages to help all the animals that come in and try to find them all a good and loving home.

Penguins can’t be left out; Stony Point Penguin is a place where I always go when I’m around. You can see penguins walking around freely in their natural habitat, and when timed well you will be able to see all the penguins coming in after their trip in the sea to find fish. On our way to the beach we stopped at the little harbour on the way, this is a small harbour in Kleinmond where I enjoy going to. There are some sweet little shops with local products and there is a stunning view of the see and all the mountains on the coast side. After some lunch we headed to the beach, with nice weather like today you can’t not go to the beach. At the beach we had a few nice hours of relaxing, reading, sunbathing and skipped the swimming part (the water was freezing cold!!!).

24 March Sunday

Started the day with an early morning run, we planned to see the sunrise and although I wasn’t really happy with the alarm going off so early it was worth it. The view was stunning, that makes running fun for everyone! In total we did a run of an hour, we started at the coast side path, really fun path to run, it goes up and down, left and right, good interval training! Then we continued running at the beach, where we had a small break to enjoy the sunrise, to continue again after a few minutes and run back through the park to the coast path and the same way back (can run that path every day, it’s beautiful). Time for breakfast! With renewed energy, we started our hike. I always say my grandfather has a mountain in this backyard, well this is nearly true, it’s a 7-minute walk away and a cool easy hike to do. We started with a small peak and decided from there to continue the three-sister path up. The view, as you can expect, amazing again. Because of the time, we had to turn back after one and a half hour as we made a reservation to have some lunch with my other ‘’grandfather and mother’’ (although maybe not blood-related they definitely feel like family to me) Mervin and Revonica. So off we went, the Finnish girls, my grandmother and grandfather and me and we met at the Shuntin’ Shed for lunch in Botrivier, a nice small family reunion 😊. Last but not least Hermanus, the perfect place to spot a whale, but not this month… unfortunately, the whale season still hasn’t started yet so again no whales today, except for the big fake one outside the museum.

25 March Monday

Today was a nice surprise for me, as well as for the Finnish girls. I had no clue there were such nice wine farms near Hermanus. We spent the whole day driving from one wine farm to another. Everything was perfect, the wine was delicious, the view was stunning, the atmosphere nice and calm. It’s also known as the Hermanus Wine Route, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley vineyards and wineries. There are nine different wine farms on the route, we decided to drive past them all first, and at the end we would choose three to go to. The first wine farm we visited was Creation, of the three their wine and food combination was the best. We ordered a platter and they gave us a huge platter with fruits and cheeses, every cheese combined with a wine during the wine tasting. The second wine farm we went to was Ataraxia, the wine wasn’t bad but of the three it got the third place, but the location of Ataraxia got the first place, that’s for sure. It looked like a church, quite small and surrounded by nature, it was so quiet and peaceful. The building itself was totally white but then they used paintings with lots of colour which made the whole location perfect (in the photo on the left you can see us posing in front of one of the paintings). The last wine farm we went to was La Vierge, the wines over here were the best without a doubt, the location and the style of building was less interesting, it didn’t really fit in with nature and wine yards (we saw five baboons walking through the wine yards!!) Eventually it took us the whole day which we didn’t expect but it was definitely worth it, if we’d had the time we would have gone to the other wine farms as well, but I think we chose three nice and totally different places today so that was a good experience. Back at my grandfather and grandmothers house we held a mini wine and chocolate tasting because they couldn’t come with us. A day full of wine which we will not forget.

26 March Tuesday

Time to go back to Cape Town, but not without a D-Tour through Somerset West. We took the same route as on our way towards Kleinmond, the coastal route. On our way towards Kleinmond we saw the sunset at the beginning of the route and saw the rest of the route in the dark so now we planned to do it again but then in the morning so we could see more. Good choice, that’s for sure, apart from the fact that the coastal route is stunning itself already we also saw baboons on the way, and during our stop we saw a seal swimming in the sea.

In Somerset West we went to the wine estate Vergelegen. Apart from wine tasting this is also a peaceful place to go for a walk, and it has a whole history around the place as well which they show to the guests through a museum.

’The farm was situated in the Hottentots Holland, a former outpost of the Dutch East India Company and, as the name ‘Vergelegen’ indicates, it lay at the far reaches of the settlement. Wouter Valckenier, a Councillor of the ‘Netherlands India’ and Admiral of the Return Fleet, granted it to the new Governor of the Cape. The validity of the grant was later called into question, as Valckenier did not have full authority to sign it.

The original size of Vergelegen was 400 morgen (342,4 ha), which was much larger than the normal grant of 60 morgen (51,4 ha) allocated to settlers. Three years later, Willem Adriaan obtained another farm, thus bringing the total land he owned to 613 morgen (525,0 ha). The new farm was Onverwacht, which he had granted to Jan Hartog, the Company’s Gardener, and then purchased at a nominal price. His brother Frans van der Stel, farmed nearby at Paarlvallei and Paardevlei, while a close friend, Rev. Petrus Kalden, owned extensive lands at Zandvliet on the False Bay coast.

A number of prosperous farmers were already established in the district of Stellenbosch; men like Henning Hüsing (at Meerlust), Ferdinand Appel (at Geduld) and Jacob van der Heiden (at Welmoed), who came to resent the dominant presence of the van der Stels in the Hottentots Holland valley and emerged as their chief opponents. ‘’

Another part of the museum that also caught my attention;

The names of Willem Adriaan van der Stel’s slaves are memorialised on the ceiling directly above. Although they were often given westernised names when they were sold, slaves continued to be known by their lands or origin. Most slaves came from the East Indies and their diverse cultures, languages and religions made the Cape one the most cosmopolitan slave societies in the world.

Willem Adriaan, who was descended from an Indian woman, had a particularly exotic mixture of slaves, with Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists in their midst. Because of their widespread origins, slaves at the time communicated with one another in Malayo-Portuguese: it was only later that a creolised from of Dutch emerged.

While people recoil nowadays from notion of slavery, three centuries ago it was common practice. It was even to be found amongst freed slaves and leaders of different faiths, such as Rev. Petrus Kalden and the exiled Sheik Yusuf who lived at Zandvliet on the False Bay coast.

All the names of the slaves were indeed written on the ceiling, with details such as age, country, the price paid.. very impressive to see and most of all shocking how many slaves there were at this estate and how little life was worth to the slave owners..

27 March Wednesday

Something that has been on my bucket list for a long time now is visiting an ostrich farm and today is my lucky day. Just outside Cape Town there is an ostrich farm located and today we booked a guided tour at this farm. The tour started with a small museum tour, in this museum they told us about the anatomy of the ostrich, the ostrich eggs, the feathers and other facts. An interesting fact about the ostriches, their skinny legs give them great speed and manoeuvrability, they can run up to 64,3 km/h for sustained periods of time. They can kill a lion with one kick, but they can only kick forward and upward so when you’re being attacked by an ostrich lay on the ground and cover your head, that way they won’t be able to hit you. An interesting tour through the museum followed up by visiting the ostriches itself. Our guide brought some food for the ostriches as well which we were allowed to give which turned out to be really funny. The ostriches really attacked us for the food, which gave us hilarious (not really charming) pictures.

28 March Thursday

When I was six years old I broke my leg. I was running from my brother and his friends. And tasted the sweet perfume of the mountain grass I rolled down. I was younger then, take me back to when I……

The lyrics of the song that Ed Sheeran used to open his concert in the Cape Town stadium! This was my first big concert I’ve ever been to and it was awesome. It’s amazing to see how one man and his guitar can get the whole audience to sing along.

We went with all the girls, the Finnish girls, the girls who stay in Mowbray and us from Maitland. Before the concert we went to the Bootleggers (restaurant), we arrived an hour too late because of the hectic traffic (should have thought about it a bit better since the whole concert was sold-out), but after a quick dinner we made it just in time for the concert. One thing I now know for sure, I’m going to another concert! I loved the whole atmosphere and would love to go and see different artists.

After the concert I learned that waiting for the uber is part of the experience, we had to wait for over an hour before we found someone who wanted to take us home. We could have chosen to go for a drink somewhere but since we were driving to George the next day (4-hour drive) we figured it would be wise to get the first Uber home. Alarm set for 7:00 AM.

29 March Friday

Goodmorningggggg, early morning. A drive that should have been only a 4-hour drive to George turned out to be an 8-hour drive. Just when we past the mountain route we got stuck in a traffic jam due to protests. Our route was blocked because of the protests going on, so instead we had to drive though Villiersdorp. The way towards Villiersdorp was beautiful but went really slow because of all the trucks who had to take the same route as us, this gave us a delay of 2 hours. Before we left we decided to make a lunch stop in Gansbaai, after that we had to drive through Villiersdorp this was a bit off the route but still we decided to continue our trip there, which afterwards turned out to be a bit of a bad call, that took us another extra hour and plus another hour for our lunch break. The restaurant where we had lunch ‘’Coffee on the Rocks’’ was really nice though and if we’d decided differently we wouldn’t have seen the restaurant and the view, so at least we got that out of our stop. Next stop was in Swellendam, a quick stop to get some extra fuel. After that we drove straight to George. Once we arrived in George I was broken, I drove eight hours with only one stop, and on the ‘other’ side of the road. It went really well actually, but besides eating some pizza and drink some wine with the other CASO students from George I didn’t do anything else that day, early night.

30 March Saturday

First morning in George and with a full day ahead of us we left in the morning for a canoeing and hiking trail in Wilderness. The trail started with the canoeing part. If you like pure nature, lots of green and wild life, you should definitely do this trail, and come to Wilderness in general. While canoeing we saw baboons climbing from tree to tree, birds everywhere and so much green, STUNNING. When we arrived at the end of the canoeing trail we had to continue on foot. It was an easy hiking trail but the walk was again stunning, nature everywhere and at the end of the trail there were two waterfalls waiting for us.

Once we were back at our accommodation, we had hired a house (more like a luxurious villa, including a huge garden, swimming pool and a big braai area) for the weekend, we thought we might as well make use of the braai area. So in the evening we organised a braai with all of us. Quality time if you ask me!

31 March Sunday

Day two in George, because there are a lot of wildlife parks in and around George it was the perfect opportunity to visit one today. We choose the elephant park in Knysna, something to know about this park;

‘’The Knysna Elephant Park (est. 1994) was the first facility in South Africa to house and care for orphaned African elephants. Over the last twenty years, the park has cared for and raised more than forty elephants. These animals include relocated animals, orphaned calves, elephants rescued from culls and ex-circus animals. Some have become part of the resident herd, others have moved onto other reserves and facilities in the Western and Eastern Cape, depending on their personalities, bonds with other animals and welfare needs.’’

What an experience!! We did a morning walk with the elephants, we started the tour with feeding them. The park chooses to feed the elephants as well because normally the elephants will only eat plants but then after so many years their teeth will fall out and they will die due to starvation, this way the teeth of the elephants will be used more often and the elephant’s life’s will be increased by sometimes ten years even. After feeding we split up in small groups where we walked around through the park. We walked next to different elephants and even touched some of them.

Once we were back at the house we continued our braai of yesterday, with all the leftovers we simply had a whole new meal and only had to make some more salads. Ending the day with some fun card games it was again a beautiful day to remember.

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