Placement Confirmed

On Friday I received an email giving me details of my placement. It has been confirmed that I will be leaving for South Africa in the first week of September. I will be living and working at Mitchell House school. My work will involve working within the Enrichment Centre which is the learning environment for children with mental and physical disabilities. This will include one to one sessions taking the children to the mainstream classes, arts and crafts, cooking sessions, life skills sessions (writing CV’s, preparing for interviews etc), basic hygiene/grooming sessions, horse riding, swimming, social integration sessions, sexuality awareness sessions for the older students, basic numeracy, basic English and more.

I now have to start the process of getting my visa, inoculations, and all the equipment I’ll need for my year abroad. My running total is £5315.23 which means I have £884.77 left to fundraise with 4 months left before I leave.

My training on Coll is on the 6th July and I’ll learn all the crucial information I need whilst there including my definte date for my flight.

I am still looking for sponsors for my skydive. So far I have £179, if i get £46 more, someone has agreed to match my sponsorships and donate £225. So if you would like to sponsor me, please donate via the link

Goodbye Dreadlocks

After wanting dreadlocks for over 4 years last March I finally got them. Just over a year later I’ve spent between 15-20 hours this week picking them out. Anyone who knows me, knows exactly how much I loved them and took so much pride in having them. This post is to explain why I had to remove them and what that has to do with my year in South Africa.

Since last May I have had odd looks, many people asking me questions such as ‘Do you wash them?’ ‘Don’t you have to chop all your hair off after?’, and on the occasion I’ve received racial hatred and abuse due to having them. The first was a hair and beauty student on the bus shouting at me that hair must stink and that I’m dirty etc. A few times I’ve had black men come over to me out in public hold one of my dreads out inspecting it asking why i have dreads considering I’m white. I had some straight up say I shouldn’t have them because I’m white etc. Most recently I was at work and a black lady in my section would not look at me whilst I spoke to her, kept pointing at me and talking about my hair to her family, she stared at me whenever I wasn’t at her table, and tried to be as difficult as possible.

I’m a strong person and I can deal with it. I have an open mind and can see why the ignorant have an issue with my hair. As August draws closer I began to wonder if my dreadlocks would be an problem to more people in South Africa. I spoke to Project Trust and my country coordinator explained she had chosen my placement (although it cannot be confirmed until May) and it would be wise to take the dreadlocks out. It’s a touchy subject and I am the least racist person you could meet coming from a very diverse community. But I could become a victim of racial hatred on a frequent basis out there. Having dreadlocks could almost be like putting a target on my head for anyone who has racist views against white people. In August I want to settle in with the best chance possible, and not have views determined at first impression because of my hairstyle.

As many know, I had dread extensions put in also to make them longer as my hair was so short and thin. So without a cut this is what my hair now looks like. I should be having a cut sometime next week, I hope. The other photos are a bucket with all the hair that fell out and the dread extensions cut out in one piece.

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Nelson Mandela Day

Today is Nelson Mandela’s birthday, the former president of South Africa. He spent 27 years in prison for attempting to overthrow the pro-apartheid government. He was the first black South African president and worked hard on human rights and to bringing peace to South Africa after the apartheid was brought down. He spent most his life trying to help others and make peace within his country. Today is all about remembering his legacy and values during his volunteering and community service.

He is an inspiration to all and should not be forgotten. This annual day is not celebrated by many people other than South Africans. I am lucky enough that on this day in 2 years time I will be coming to the end of my voluntary experience in South Africa, celebrating this day in the country Mandela fought to make a better place.