“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Friday, 4 August 2017

Boogie nights bedding stomp

Tracey and Songiso checking the chicks
The new chicks arrived today – and after a comical stamping down of the bedding by Tracey and Agnes, we set to work.
First we had to get each chick to drink a tiny amount of sugar solution to give them a thirst for drinking, so that once in their new home, they would readily drink the water that contained the anti-stress solution. So one by one we grabbed each chick and dunked it’s tiny beak into the bowl and then, keeping count, dropped them onto the straw and cardboard bedding.
A brazier coal fire had been lit and was placed on top of a concrete block inside with the chickens to raise the temperature of the room. Songiso would come back to check on it and make another fire in an hour or so. The fire will need to be kept live for a good while… these first 2 weeks of the chicks life is critical on the farm. It’s a big investment for them and has the potential to earn them a good return. So must all help to ensure that they have the best chance of success.
First feed
We left the chicks to go and water the newly planted field of Maize, and found Judy and Agnes dancing in the field between rows. Bernard was breaking up the last corner of ploughed soil with a hoe and by about 1130am we were all done. Judy wanted to get started immediately learning to do a circle so she could catch up with the others, she is determined to finish her bag before we leave. She kept disappearing to raid the huts looking for more old T shirts and rags – at this rate half the compounds men will be shirtless before we leave – although they don’t seem to mind and seem almost as excited for their women as the women are.
Judy stayed all throughout lunch time and all afternoon – as more and more women arrived – it was bedlam but really good fun.  Tracey was on the cutting mat getting every last inch of material from the sleeves and chests of the T’shirts the ladies had brought along; joining strips and making yet more boodle in a variety of colours.
Veba’s work was coming along nicely, but unfortunately for her she had added too many stitches in the last few rings of the base of her bag and it was looking more like a crinkled flower than a flat circle. So she took the sensible decision to unpick a substantial portion of it and try again. As my boss would say…. “things are always quicker second time around”.
We had another 4 newbies arrive quite late… so with only an hour to go we had to start teaching again right from the beginning. Our last 2 hooks had been “borrowed” at some point and not returned, so Judy had to go borrow a couple back from other girls in the compound who were not able to make it today. The classroom was manic – all the ladies were at various points in learning and Tracey and I were switching back and forth helping them progress each at their own rate. The afternoon went by in a blur.
Realising we were only a week in and had run out of hooks, we asked Biltong if he would try whittling some more from the recently cut down trees so that we could continue teaching next week if any more newbies turned up. He left with my demonstration hook as an example and seemed confident enough to give it a go.
Songiso is thinking of trying to set up a boodling club for the local community with the supplies we have provided. Fingers crossed we can find a willing local volunteer to run it for them.
It’s Farmers day on Monday, a public holiday, so we thought we had the day off, but Songiso asked the women “who wants to come in and boodle in the afternoon?” and a room full of hands went up. Guess we don’t get a day off after all.
Destroying another T'shirt with Judy
A quick visit to Shoprite on the way back for beers and snacks and, shattered, we headed home for well-earned sundowners.
Two new volunteers had arrived today… Cosima (Italian) and Abdullah (Saudi Arabian). Unfortunately Cosima’s luggage had not arrived with him, so he was missing his anti-malaria tablets, I offered him some of mine, but unfortunately they are not the same ones he takes, which isn’t as bad as it sounds because apparently Livingstone has been declared Malaria free for 3 years now. I certainly won’t be chancing it.
More newbies to teach

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