We left Johannesburg on Monday and we flew to Mthatha on the same day. By the time we were sitting comfortably the seat belt signs were back on and we were ready to land.
The views from the plane were amazing. We could see snow on top of some of the mountains but by the time we arrived in Mthatha it was a sunny 22C day.
After a rocky start with accommodation issues we finally got settled in our small but homely Bethany flat. Chloe (my Project Trust partner) and I were thankful that, finally, we could unpack and put our photos up. Here are some pictures of my room.
We devised a cooking and cleaning rota (I hope you’re proud Mum and I’m pleased to say that all this week we did the washing up and drying up the same day we used it). In our kitchen we have a cooker, fridge-freezer and a microwave (even more luxurious than my home life!).
We spent the majority of Saturday cleaning the flat. I didn’t think I’d care too much about mess but when it’s your own home you have to present it well and so I can only thank my parents for teaching me good tidiness skills.
The first week was a whirlwind of excitement, newness and tiredness. When we arrived on Monday we were given a tour around Bethany and we couldn’t wait to get started on Tuesday morning.
The whole of Bethany Home is part of a massive compound that stretches for miles and it’s surrounded by fences and security guards so it is pretty safe to walk across. When we arrived at Bethany Home we saw the artwork drawn by the Project Trust volunteers of 1999.
To get into Bethany you need to get through the gate which is there for the children’s safety and security. You will then see the flags of the countries that other Bethany volunteers are from.
Around the corner is the children’s playground where there are only two choices of games to play – hula hoops or balls. I realised how much I’d taken for granted the numerous options of playground games that I could choose from, where as here they’re restricted so much and it’s truly unfair. All of the paintings have been done by previous volunteers and the paint was kindly donated by the local community.
Being here has made me realise just how important the community and family is. Whilst the children are in Bethany the police and social workers are searching for any relatives for the child so that they can return to the home that they deserve but it’s sad to think that sometimes no one will even come looking for their child and they are left without any family to turn to.
We spent the whole first week in the day room with the toddlers cuddling them, giving them the love they deserve, feeding them and changing their nappies. Talk about parent training! The crazy thing is how much attention they all wanted. They all wanted to hold our hands, stroke our hair and have cuddles with us.
Thank you very much for reading. Sorry for the delay in the upload; I don’t have wifi in my flat but I will try to update you of my journey as often as I can.