My first week with my new roommies was really great, we get along well and have a lot of fun together. They spent the weekend settling in and getting to know the kids and staff, and then on Monday, another new girl arrived, bringing our total to 6! Magdalena is from Germany and had spent two months volunteering here last year. She loved it so much she came back this year for two weeks to do more volunteering and to visit with everyone. She’s really sweet and fits right into the group, which is perfect.
It was a pretty quiet week, mostly spent in the nursery and just getting to know each other. We also got pedicures and I re-dyed my hair, which was nice. And on Friday Marian, Heleen and Francesca left us to go on their trip to Kruger National Park. So it was just me, Kim and Magda left in the cottage and we had fun hanging out with the kids and with each other.
Week 7 continued in much the same way, spending time in the nursery, having dance parties with the kids, going to the mall for wifi, hanging out and watching Pitch Perfect (new people to convert to the amazingness that is Pitch Perfect!).
On Friday we went back to the hostel to visit with some of the girls from the second orientation I attended, as some of them were heading onwards or heading home. It was nice to see them again, and to meet other people who were also leaving but that had been in different orientations, including one guy from Canada!!! Finally, a fellow Canadian and only the second volunteer I’ve met since I’ve been here that is from North America. I guess the program isn’t as popular in North America, as most everyone is from Europe or New Zealand. We went to the mall for dinner, then hung out at the hostel before taking uber back to the orphanage. Technically, that was supposed to be my last day at the orphanage, but since my Southern Africa tour didn’t start for another week, and I had a trip to Swaziland booked with some of the girls for the following week, I asked if I could stay another week at the orphanage, and they said yes. It was perfect, because I didn’t have to find another place to stay, and I could spend more time with the girls and the kids.
We spent the weekend in the nursery and working our little butts off in the library, as they told us on Friday that they wanted the library to be done and open on Monday, because the kids would be on vacation from school. And there was still a LOT left to be done in 2 days. We hadn’t really been rushing since they had said it wouldn’t be open until they got a librarian, and they still hadn’t found one, but they decided that they wanted the kids to use it while on vacation.
We’ve been working on it since I arrived 2 months ago, and we’d made a lot of progress, but every time we started to get things organized, they’d bring in more books that had been donated, and so it really made it hard. We were also trying to clean them all, as they were all really dirty and dusty. And sorting takes forever, as you often had to read the back cover to figure out what category to put the book into, so it was a big task. Plus the library gets HOT in the afternoons and there isn’t any air conditioning.
But we actually managed to get it done and it looks so good! Just in time too, as Monday Heleen, Marian and I were leaving for Swaziland; Kim and Magda were leaving for Durban, and Frankie would be staying at the cottage alone. Turns out we didn’t need to rush, because the kids never did use the library that week, but oh well, at least it’s done. And now we can relax on our Swaziland adventure!
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