Saturday, 31 March 2012

Surf's up in J-Bay!

Before heading to J-Bay for a short 'all sites' reunion, our site was going to participate in a little Outtatown ritual over the Blaukrans river... Bunjee jumping!

From day 1 of the program the bunjee jump was somethign that frequently came up in conversation.  In fact, I remember at Camp Squeah when we would practise jumping from the benches.  We made it as realistic as possible you see...

When it was time for the real thing most of us were leaning towards being more excited than terrified.  There were the odd exceptions... *coughjessica&kendra*  Jumping from the bridge was a totally surreal feeling and everyone who ended up jumping had no regrets.  As you're flying through the air, leaving the pounding music on the bridge, all that you can think of is just how much you love Outtatown.
That's it! The bridge we jumped off of!
Getting ready to go!
All done! Go Coral, Alisha & Kaitlyn!

All Sites at J-Bay was a very enjoyable and relaxing 2 days.  We got the chance to take surfing lessons and go for a canter along the beach with some African horses.  After that we took the opportunity to shop in all the outlet stores, searching for a shirts and swimsuits to show off our tans when we get back.  Or, in a couple cases, rent surf boards on our own and spend all day in the water. 
Jess, Carol, Lisa, Kaitlyn, Alisha, Coral, Tobi, Becci & Megan going riding

All in all, it was a fantastic way to spend the  half-way weekend of our semester!

Written by: Andrew

Pietermaritzburg service & Drachensberg Hike

The time at Pietermaritzburg was fantastic!  We met some amazing people who were doing God's work at Project Gateway Prison.  We felt very blessed to be a little part of what they were doing while we were there doing service work.  Whether it was scraping off old paint or painting interior/exterior walls, we enjoyed helping out Project Gateway one group at a time. Both groups worked on preparing and painting some accomodation rooms, painting the hallway and other exterior painting jobs.  It was good to be put to work and I know the people at Project Gateway appreciated everything we did.

We also got to experience some of the Zulu culture one night.  The kitchen ladies prepared a Zulu feast for us, including chicken feet, tripe (cow intestine), chicken gizzard and sour milk,  Let's just say it was an entertaining meal as people tried all the new food.  After dinner we got to play games with some of the local children and that was very fun!  The whole evening was a great taste of Zulu culture.

Our group was split in half that week.  While one group stayed to do service, the other group left to hike Rhino's Peak in the Drachensberg Mountains.  The hike was both challenging and rewarding.  The hike, so beautiful!  It was such an amazing experience to sleep in a cave for two nights and cook our food in a little pot over a single flame.  At night we were surrounded by stars and bats, and in the morning we were greeted by the sunrise rising up through the mountains.  It was such a wonderful experience to be completely surrounded by God's creation.  The hike was challenging and took about 3 hours to get to the top where we met some BaSotho herdsmen.  Along the way we got to drink water right from the river which was a very cool experience (literally, the water was freezing!).  Everyone encouraged one another and I know everyone loved getting to the summit.  We could see for miles - it was such an incredible view!  We also had a lot of fun with our guides, Paul and Josh, who talked with us and even played cards with us.  Overall the hike was one of the most amazing experiences we got to do this year and I'm sure it was a highlight for many members of the group.

Written by: Layla

Carol & Alisha in our home cave
Sandy, Kaitly, Tobi, Carol & Alisha nearing the top

group shot with the BaSotho herdsmen in the country of LeSotho

Chloe taking in the view over SA

Take a walk on the Wild Side

Our week at Mdumbi (on the Wild Coast) was very relaxing.  We enjoyed having free time on the beach with the cows and other random livestock.  There was a cozy chill room where we spent most of our evenings playing cards, listening to music and chatting.  Our hike to Coffee Bay was definitely a highlight.  We hiked along the coast - down the beach, through a cave and off a cliff into the ocean.  With only 2 nights left, some of us decided to sleep outside on the beach:

"So a few of us hauled our sleeping bags, blankets and pillows down to the beach.  Others decided to mooch off the people who did bring warmth *coughandrewcough* and one true woodsman thought to make bot rock lounge chairs to keep him warm throughout the night.  Too bad it took him all night to make it!  About 10 of us drifted off to sleep by the fired, snuggling in the sand, looking at the starts and hearing the crashing of the waves.  However, as we slept, the waves kept crashing and the tide rose higher and higher... higher than it had all week.  Some beach bums felt the waves coming earlier on, but instead of warning the rest of us they decided to keep that information to themselves leaving the rest of us to a shocking wake up.  Water rushed into our sleeping bags, soaking everything inside and taking our pillows, sweaters and glasses cases right out to sea!  It was a mad dash to find all our belongings followed by a lovely hike back up the hill carrying all our dripping sleeping gear with us.  Not the most ideal thing to be doing at 3am... but it sure makes for a funny memory!"

Nathan Reiger also flew down to spend some time with us and Site 3.  Many of us got to have one-on-one conversations with him.  He spoke to us about V.I.M. - Vision, Intention and Means.  This was important to learn about as many of us are considering our next steps following Outtatown.  In our Knowing Yourself session with Sandy we discussed the importance of transitioning well.  Leaving our Outtatown community and transitioning well back to Canada will take intentionality!  With only 10 days left, we want to make the most of our time and finish off the year well.

One final note, one beautiful morning at the beach, Kaitlyn decided to get baptized.  It was an incredible moment where she dedicated her life to Jesus.  Cool beans :)

Written by: Emily Brubaker-Zehr
Story by: Rachel Parkinson

Kaitlyn sharing her testimony

beach at Mdumbi

hiking to Coffee Bay

Our apologies

Hi Everyone,

I'm sure you're all rather frustrated with the lack of posts on the blog lately.  All we as media committee can say is, sorry.  Internet has been scarce in the past month as we've visited a few of our more remote locations.


Good News!!

We have internet again and hopefully you'll be overwhelmed with our stories in the next day or two.  And pictures, so check our some of our older posts!  We miss you and will be seeing you again shortly.  Who can believe we're only here for another 10 days?!

Site 2

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Time for some R&R

Bonnievale was a place with a gorgeous view where it felt like we were camping for a weekend.  We got to swim, soak up the sun, play games, hang out and have lots of fun relaxing.  One of the best parts of the weekend was kayaking up the river to the rope swing!  We also got to go slingshot paintballing - it's a ton of fun hitting your friends and comparing bruises afterwards.  Another highlight was the high ropes course we got to do!  Later we got an adrenalin rush on the King Swing, which is where you're sitting on a seat 30ft up in the air, let go of the rope you were pulled up by and swing like you've never swung before.  Tons of fun!

During our time at Bonnievale you could tell that our site had a different, more relaxed, chill atmosphere which was really nice to see.  We also loved the food that was cooked over an open fire, delicious after an afternoon swim.  Bonnievale was definitely a highlight for everyone.

Written by: Larissa

Jess, Lauren and Alisha post paintball
Chloe taking some serious R&R, Mowgli style
Megan, Rachel, Lauren and Jess on the high ropes course

Stellenbosch Work Projects

During our time in Stellenbosch we did service work in the local township Kayamandi.  We were split up into 6 groups and each group was assigned a local organization to work with.  Each organization gave us suggestions as to how we could most benefit the community and once each group had a project in mine, we set out to plan how to achieve this goal.  we had 3 days to complete our projects and a day to plan what supplies we needed. We were all given the task of budgeting out what supplies we could buy with the ZAR 1800 we were given.  This showed us how frustrating and difficult it can be to make these people's dream become a reality, but ultimately how gratifying the work was.

Each group was given a local guide, which gave us the chance to really connect with people from this community.  Working with the guides was a great opportunity to learn more about their lives as we worked side by side with them.

The projects that were completed varied from painting a creche or fixing a bathroom and soccer stadium to building a library at the local high school from scratch and rebuilding a guard house.  it was an amazing experience to see first hand how we influenced the community and how, in return, they influenced our lives.

Written by: Jessica and Kaitlyn

Chloe working on a Kuyasa bathroom
Goerz, Chloe, Matt, Kelsey and Becci after a hard day's work!
Kaitlyn looking bright and lovely