15 November 2019

Global Action trip to South Africa

As part of the Global Action trip, 17 students spent two weeks in South Africa in October half term.

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As part of the Global Action trip, 17 students spent two weeks in South Africa in October half term. During our first week we engaged in collaborative service activities with a range of communities, as well as visiting the charities which we were fundraising for.

After a brief stop in Cape Town with a visit to Robben Island, our first week was spent in Swellendam, working in three different groups. The first group worked with Donovan Julius, an artist based in Suurbraak who works with groups of children from local schools. They worked on creating a large mural around the theme of education on a wall in the village and made posters with the children and also played with them in the river, thus enabling the children to improve their English and share their ideas to be incorporated into their posters.

The second project was painting educational games on the walls and floor of a primary school in Buffeljags. We spent half a day planning which games we wanted to paint, and decided to do multiple activities such as a ‘mirror me’ dance game, and the school values in Afrikaans. We decided it would be more personal if we involved the children in the paintings, using their silhouettes and footprints. In addition to this, we were allowed to play with the children in their break time, setting up netball games and cricket matches, which we all really enjoyed.

The third activity which we were involved in was more conservation based, working with Andrew in Masbiekers Kloof, where the Mozambican slaves took refuge 200 years ago. We helped to clear forest areas, which Andrew has converted into a sculpture park for the local people. The aim of clearing this area is to turn it into a beautiful space for the wide range of people who live there, to give them space to appreciate nature and share time with each other.

The second week was spent in Pilanesburg National Park, three hours from Johannesburg airport. This involved working with conservationists, the Rhinoceros Protection Unit, Park Rangers and experts in the field of wildlife, conservation and anti-poaching. We spent time tracking animals and helping carry and transport bricks for an aircraft landing platform to protect the aircraft engine from the dust as it prepares to search for poachers. We also spent a morning with a team of experts and vets while they carried out a process called rhino notching; helping to identify the rhinos by take DNA samples and microchipping the horn while giving the best possible care to the young rhino throughout so that it could be reunited with its mother – who remained close throughout – as quickly as possible. We had a once in a lifetime chance to get close up to the rhino during the procedure.

We were all very sad to leave and hope we left a lasting impact on the community and the people that we worked with. There is no doubt the people and experiences will stay in our thoughts forever.

Issie Wild, Lower Sixth, and Miss Delpech

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