December 02

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South Africa – Trip 2 – Tshepo festival 2014 (28Nov)

Another cute bunch! [underneath Aquafresh umbrellas :) ]

Another cute bunch! [underneath Aquafresh umbrellas 🙂 ]

For the past few weeks, everyone had been living and breathing Tshepo festival, to do lists a kilometre long (or a 0.6 of a mile if you speak imperial units… 🙂 ), ground plans, security plans, program, shopping, party packs packing, loud hailing, and many other activities…. and finally… today was the day!!! Yay!

Sandwich making operation

Sandwich making operation

I got to the Embassy at 7am and it had long been buzzing with volunteers making sandwiches for the children. The sandwiches had then to be packed with the party packs, so this is where I started my day as a volunteer for the Tshepo festival. There were people everywhere; there was hardly any room to move… It really was ‘organised chaos’! But still friendly and fun. We were still making sandwiches / packing them by 9am and it felt like it would never end! But it did, once all the party packs had been upgraded to ‘lunch party packs’ 😉

DK - the artist at work :)

DK – the artist at work 🙂

Tumi = the artist at work

Tumi – another artist at work

Some of the volunteers then went to school to start face painting the kids and distribute the party packs. I joined them a little later to take some pics and I have included some of them here [I have taken so many that I had to pick a few of my favourites… happy to share the link to the complete set of pics should you wish to see them 🙂 ]. The kids looked so happy and smiley and ready for some fun – the face painting was quite cute too…

A cute bunch! [with Aquafresh hats :) ]

A cute bunch! [with Aquafresh hats 🙂 ]

Children at the Phatudi school

Children at the Phatudi school

Children at the Diphalane school

Children at the Diphalane school

Face painting volunteers

Face painting volunteers

When I came back to the Embassy, it must have been nearly 10.30 already and the start of the event, scheduled at 11am at the Munsieville stadium, looked like it might be delayed a little 😉 I made the most of this small window of opportunity to go and fill up the car (which had inconveniently decided to run out of petrol despite looking quite fine the previous evening – unreliable petrol gauge!).
I must have been gone about 10 minutes, 15 minutes max, but when I came back, I found Gladys sitting on a chair outside the Embassy with her right arm all wrapped up in bandages. What happened?!? Apparently, she fell in the courtyard and injured her wrist. She clearly was in pain so I was asked to take her to the Krugersdorp private hospital. I had done so well to avoid doctors, clinics, hospital or any kind of injury requiring attention so far…. but I had to. When we got there, we went straight to A&E and, pretty much like any other A&E department; we had to wait to be seen by a triage nurse who asked the usual questions about what happened, when it happened, where it hurt, etc. By that time Gladys was looking like she was in a lot of pain and could do with some pain relief of sorts… but apparently there was some problem with her private health insurance and they refused to give her anything until it was all cleared up – it was painful to see! We had to get back to the embassy so we left her at the hospital – with the promise of returning later of course!

ECD children on their way to the stadium

ECD children on their way to the stadium

When we got back to Munsieville we headed for the stadium and it was lovely to see it buzzing with kids everywhere; Some watching the entertainment on the main stage, some just sitting in groups in the shade of Aquafresh garden umbrellas (thanks GSK!), some just running around… Again, I have included selected [few] pics, there were so many, it was hard to choose!!!

The crowd at the stadium

The crowd at the stadium

Traditional dancers

Traditional dancers

Trying to master the local 'hello' hand gesture

Trying to master the local ‘hello’ hand gesture

ECD children having a boogie at the stadium!

ECD children having a boogie at the stadium!

More ECD kids :)

More ECD kids 🙂

Then it was time to head back to the Embassy for the unveiling of the new design – the old design had pretty much worn out with all that sun… [And heavy rain at times!] It was time for a ‘refresh’!!! So just to give you a bit of a quick recap of the steps to get to the unveiling…. I missed the removal of the old design… some of it happened one the first day I was here and I didn’t have my camera! [But you may still see the ‘old’ design on the Project HOPE UK website!], I did witness the prep, the smell of whatever product they were using to clean the exterior was quite strong!

The prep

The prep

Then they installed [I’m not sure what the proper word is…stuck?] the new design before ‘wrapping it up’ to hide it before the official unveiling.

Installation

Installation

The Embassy - ready for the unveiling

The Embassy – ready for the unveiling

On the day, it was great fun to see the ECD [Early Child Development] children gather around and sing and dance before ripping up the paper cover and revealing the new design:) Here’s the link to a short video… I think I must work on my videoing skills… but it’s better than nothing! (right???…) https://www.dropbox.com/s/20vc8g44ktq9l0j/MOV02449.MPG?dl=0

The inauguration 'crowd'

The inauguration ‘crowd’

ECD kids with banner

ECD kids with banner

Mam Betty & Santa minutes before the unveiling

Mam Betty & Santa minutes before the unveiling

There is something a little weird about seeing Santa Claus all dressed up when it’s 25+C outside 🙂 but the kids loved it and clearly this is what the Tshepo festival is about!

New look embassy 1

New look embassy 1

New look embassy 2

New look embassy 2

Stella, Santa, ECD kids in front of the new design

Stella, Santa, ECD kids in front of the new design

After that we briefly went back to the stadium as the event was drawing to a close and this concluded a long day of fun! Definitely a great experience!

The end 🙂