Trip Start Sep 04, 2007
Trip End Mar 05, 2008

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Monday, October 1, 2007

Sorry it has been so long since I've written.  I tried to get to a computer but it just never worked out.

I spent the last 2 weeks at Amapondo Backpacker's in Port St. John's.  I was able to volunteer with their programs there (Amapondo Children's Project and Amapondo People's Project). 

With the Amapondo Children's Project they are starting a school which will use the Waldorf teaching method.  Their aim is to make this new school affordable.  In South Africa parents have to pay to send their children to school, any school.  It can cost about $100/quarter per child for a mediocre school. Parents with children attending this new school will only be required to pay what they can.  The parents that pay less may be asked to volunteer at the school or bring in some veggies for the school lunch.  They are in the process of training the teachers now.  They hope to open their doors to students in January (the beginning of the school year in South Africa).  I was able to give a short class on spool knitting and I also gave a short talk on Alaska.  I helped organize books in their library too.

In the Amapondo People's Project they are starting a self-sustaining village.  They are setting up the village so it will be kind of like a trade school (teaching gardening, brick-making, handy crafts, etc.).  They are also in the beginnings of this project.  The village will have solar and wind power, grow all of its food, and have a bio-digester (a septic tank system which harvests methane from waste and makes the solid waste into compost).  They even hope to some day have a water habitat where they will raise fish and grow water crops (rice, water chestnuts, watercrest...).  With this project I worked in the gardens at the village and also behind the hostel they are planting a garden for their use.  They are using a method of gardening called permaculture.  Permaculture is organic farming with a focus on producing the most food you can while minimizing waste and labor.  You grow plants together that complement one another like corn, beans, and squash.  It was hard work but I really learned a lot.

I got to know some new people and really enjoyed my time there.  I hope that I get to go back someday.
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