Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stellenbosch

Dear everyone,

this is a blog. with pictures!
Today My mother arrived from australia :) So I met her at the airport with Anne early in the morning and then we drove to my gran's retirement home to pick her up. So today's been very laid back and just resting and swapping stories and quite joyous!!

Yesterday I drove to Stellenbosch with Louis and Mark to help Mark's gf Melisa move in to her new house that she's staying in for uni. For half of the drive we just had a ute..so Louis and I sat in the back.. (something I ASSURE you is not illegal here...we had a cop car following us for 20 minutes who didn't even pull us over!):



After we helped Melisa move in we also ate some dinnar:



And then drove home. Stellenbosch is a pretty rad place! Most of the people who live there go to stellenbosch uni and therefor it is pretty much a student town! woohoo! It was only an hour drive out of cape town so it didn't take too long to get there and back either.

Over the past week I have also visited a few different family members (all of who are related somehow or another..) but I didn't get pictures of my twin cousins Megan and Andrew :(..or my other reli's Dave and Trish..but I did get a photo of

me, mornie and my granny:



me and josh (now josh is pretty cool because he plays in a band called freshlyground -> www.freshlyground.com):



Anne, Dave, Frank and me:



So I don't think i've ever met as much family in a whole year as I have met in the past week. As a result I have been wearing a large smile :).

When I went to visit frank in a town called napier (which I blogged about on sunday), we came across a large family of baboons! I am happy to report they didn't attack the car.



And today when Dave came home from work he brought with him five Vuveselas! They are the huge african horn things that are used in the soccer:



Apparently there are around 24,000 ready to be given away in time for the World Cup this year by Coke...its like everything here is being geared towards the world cup! and its very exciting.

Well, thats it for now :D. Tonight we're watching the soccer (man u vs man city)..soccer is pretty big here in africa, and plans in the next week are to go on a bus tour down the coast of the western cape, visit a history museum in the city and venture out to Robben Island (where nelson mandela was in prison).

Neil -

Tuesday, January 26, 2010




Sorry its being a while since the last blog..i guess i've been too busy here travelling to really stop and sit back and write! The good news is I am safe and sound and loving life :)

So, I have been venturing through Cape Town, South Africa for the past week. If you don't know, i've come to Cape Town because it is where my gran lives aswell as other family, and it is a beautiful place to be! (google cape town if you've never seen). I came down last sunday (8 days ago) straight from Nakuru, Kenya.. The main difference I noticed when I stepped off the plane was how nice the airport was. woohoo! i was in civilization again! But it did make me feel quite blessed to have been brought up in spoiltness...

Anyway..I have been very busy staying with family and driving all around Cape Town and surrounding towns. The driving here is much less like an amusement park than kenya is, so i've slotted in as a driver quite easily. no pictures today unfortunately :(. I'll load them up tomorrow, so until then i'll leave you with a list of translated words: (aussie -> saffa)

Sweet = Lekker
Cool = Kief
Wassup = Awe
Nap = Kip
Drink = Dop
Bro = Bru
Credit = Air Time
Traffic Lights = Robots
Ute = Bakkie
Scoundrel = Skelm
People on the street = Bergies

Enjoy!

Neil -

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hello again,

So I will finally have pictures this time :D

Today was Saturday and at the orphanage I am staying at this is also known as the Sabbath..something that is followed pretty strictly here! So, we had a church service today that was in both Swahili and English (there was someone translating). Something you learn here is that Christianity is much more prevalent in Kenya than it is in Australia. It's almost as if everyone you talk to is a pastor of some sort! After the service we all went into town and had a goodbye lunch for Nikki because she is leaving tomorrow. So today has been nice and relaxing..but yesterday was much the opposite...

I spent half the day painting the pre-school that is being built here. We are having to do like 20,000,000 coats of paint on all the shelves and cabinets..and it is taking ages! Anyway, later that day when all the kids were in bed, I walked past the kitchen to see my wallet sitting on the counter. When I asked why it was there, someone said the kids had stolen it, and so I opened it and saw that my debit card was missing! So I had been pick pocketed by a bunch of 5 year olds...but I eventually found it :). The other news for the day was that it was Philip's birthday (someone who lives here @ MIA), so in Kenyan tradition we all surprised him with hoses and buckets of water! But, a few of us got caught in the crossfire... :



good news is there WAS a bday cake :D

On thursday I got to drive one of the big van/12-seater buses around the village. Here is proof:

All the roads were actually dirt roads that were quite rough, wet and bumpy..which was quite fun! So I went with a local elder and pastor to deliver food and clothes to people who have neither. Below is a picture of one of the families we visited:



I thought i wouldn't fit in the photo..but i think i could've stood up a bit more in hindsight. The lady to the right of me called herself a shosho (granny in swahili) and apparently she is over 100 years old! And the lady to her right is her daughter. The Shosho was also quite a character... she poked me with her walking stick when i arrived because I only shook her hand but I ended up kissing her on both cheeks like we were happy happy frenchman.

Here are some random photo's from my travels too:


Us at Lake Nakuru with a nice view: Luke, me, Tim, Jason, Tim and Ivan


Tim and I.. with another view but from the Menengai crater (which is on the other side of nakuru from lake nakuru)


And me being bored before i reversed out of a really thin road

Well, I better be off. Hope you are all well and happy :)

Neil -

Friday, January 8, 2010

Crazyness?

Ok, so just a quick blog post because this is someone else's computer and i should really give it back!

This day has been crazy! In a good way though. I started off driving a van full of food and supplies to local villagers, from around 9am-1pm. Now, all the roads around here are dirt roads and are in very poor condition because it has been raining. So..i got to drive through dangerous tracks and i was driving vertical in a few places! But we managed to deliver supplies to around 13 different families in the morning. Just a quick insight: all the houses that I went to are mud houses and have no electricity, running water, toilets or even proper gutters...so it was quite an intense time, visiting strangers. Now I do have pictures but i once again forgot to bring them over so i'll post them on a latter blog post :p

After I got back at 1pm I had lunch and then a soccer game with all the other staff and volunteers here at the orphanage. It is a weekly thing (2pm every thursday) and all the kids love it! My team scored 4 goals..and i had the main assist in all goals :D. After that Ivan (the founder of MIA) and I tried to fix the wireless internet but we broke it by accident, so we called the internet guy who came and fixed it :). Hard to believe one minute i am giving bread and water to families with no clean drinking water..and the other minute i am fiddling around with a wireless network..

And then tonight the kids stole my wallet and everyone here at MIA spent around 30 minutes trying to find my missing debit card that someone had taken! But it has been found and all has been rectified :)

So a crazy day in all..very busy and lots of thoughts that I still need to place.

Hope all of you are well...thankyou Ryan and Ame for your last comments :D...and i'll try to get some pictures up soon.

Neil -

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm in Kenya!

hello :)


Sorry i've taken so long to start a blog, but here it is!

So I am in Kenya. Kenya is in East Africa, for all of those who don't know.  I'm staying in a children's orphanage 15 mins out from Nakuru, which is a town in Kenya. I've been here for two weeks with a group of 13ish people from melbourne..and i haven't blogged yet because Diane has been blogging so far (http://dianegreenwood.com/).. but she left yesterday so I am picking up where she left off...and there are no pictures in this blog because i forgot to bring my camera to the computer...so i'll bring them for the next installment.

For all who know, my parents are from South Africa..so being there a few times, i thought i'd know what to slightly expect...but i was wrong! Around 5 minutes out from the airport, there were kenyan's standing everywhere, trying to sell things to me through the window..and lots of animals right next to the highway! So i was very surprised with the level of poverty that i was seeing..i didn't expect as much. So we drove from the airport to the orphanage, which took around 3 hours and we stopped off at a couple of places.

While being at the orphanage, I have been kept very busy by doing different tasks varying from looking after the kids, cooking, painting, visiting local people, installing water tanks and visiting places in and around Nakuru. So obviously it will take a very long time to fill you all in..so i won't. But I will tell you about what I have noticed about the culture, seing as though part of the reason of coming here was to experience a new culture. 

Kenya is VERY different to Australia. When you drive places you notice that there are lots of bikes and motorbikes and also lots of mutatu's (vans with lots of seats) as well as a lot of crazy drivers who don't obey road rules :p. I have been into town three times since being here, and every time i am politely hassled - and then just out right hassled - to buy things ranging from flags to earrings. And when in conversation with someone I am always scared that it is always going to end in them asking me for something! Which for those who know me know that it is very hard for me to say no. Anyway, I guess what I am saying is that it is noticeably poorer over here than in Australia, and my mind is ticking because of this. But i'll write more about this later. Maybe check some of Di's pictures if you want to get an idea of things...

Hope this is a quick and good update for all those who may read this :p. Feel free to comment with any questions? I'll try to blog/reply again when I am on the computer next...who knows when that'll be!

Take care everybody,

Neil -