Another week at Thanda has gone by. We had a Scavenger Hunt fundraiser with St Lucia volunteers on Friday night which raised in total R1120 which shall be split between the two projects. Our money will be put back into the clinic renovation project 🙂
On Sunday Zoe, the new community coordinator, arrived. Monique a volunteer coordinator from the community project in St Lucia also came to Thanda to guide Zoe through her first week. It has felt very different with such an impetus on the community, especially with the new Zulu community liaison re employed, Ziggy.
On Monday we unearthed all of the donations that have ever been given to The Happy Africa Foundation at Thanda. We decided to log all the donations into a database so that I know how many craft supplies etc there are. It was a long slog unloading every single piece of paper, educational book, colouring stencil….we managed to fill the whole office and not see the floor! After a good three and a bit hours, the donations had been recorded and stored far more neatly.
Tuesday we wandered out to Mange community to show Monique and Zoe the vegetable garden, meet Mama Grace and see the crèche. The crèche is still closed as school holidays continue, but we were able to establish a holiday club for the kids, which shall be a project for the community volunteers to be involved with. That afternoon in Mange we entertained around 25 children at the Youth Club. I practiced my frisbee throwing skills, football passing, skipping rope jumping, and other playground games. Great fun was had by all, and Zoe is hoping that this shall be a regular feature for the community volunteers, now that we have a Zulu representative to help organise and translate!
Wednesday was an interesting day, first we headed out to Etshaneni community where the monthly meeting was taking place. Mama Nkhleko asked for me to provide an update on the fundraising progress. When I could confirm the fence would be arriving soon and that it had been ordered and paid for both projects, the vegetable garden and also the clinic, they were ecstatic. The women all rushed to their feet, singing, clapping and dancing. They were extremely excited and so glad of the hard work that had been put in. It truly is a pleasure to work with such grateful and determined women.
The day, however, went from elation to sadness. We had learnt that the daughter of the InDuna of this area had passed away. He, therefore, couldn’t attend the meeting as his family mourns. As customary, we took some large bags of rice, potatoes, butternut and stock to his home. Here we paid our respects to his wife and the other members of his family. It was a moving time sat on our knees singing prayers to comfort their grief. The family was overwhelmed by our gifts, and the sentiment that we cared. It was an eye opening experience of Zulu culture, and how the community rallies around when the worst happens. That afternoon Zoe and Monique had to begin publicising the holiday club by leafleting all round the community.
Thursday evening I hosted another fundraiser for THAF in conjunction with the 4th July. We had home made guacamole, nachos, cheese, sour cream, poker, stars and strips face paint and a vodka / appletiser concoction which I called ‘The Big Apple’. Everyone has a great evening and we have raised some more vital funds for the clinic refurbishment project.
For the rest of the week I have been helping to update the lodge, and helping Zoe to establish inductions for new incoming community volunteers. I shall be at Thanda this weekend, willing the Lions to pull out a victory, though I am not brimming with confidence.
I hope everyone at home is well,