Survivor Aviva House

Trip Start Jan 05, 2009
Trip End Mar 12, 2009

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Flag of South Africa  , Western Cape,
Monday, February 16, 2009

living in a house with 22 other people is nothing short of challenging, especially since i live alone at home. you have no idea how much i am craving my one bedroom apartment with my very own bathroom and kitchen right now! if i leave dishes in the sink for 2-3 days no one cares about it but at Aviva, when someone doesn't do dishes, they sit in a pile on the counter and if you need a pan, you have to clean it. you might even need to wipe down the counters as well. that hardly seems fair now does it? let's talk about sharing the bathroom... there's a constant battle against hair in the sink or on the floor. it's rumored that there was dirty underwear in the showers. there may or may not be toilet paper. my personal favorite moment took place this morning when there was a can of Raid on the counter and a dead cockroach on the floor. the person who killed it could have put it in the trash but no, it was there to greet me on a Monday morning. lovely.

there seems to be a huge lack of common sense among these young ladies and it's slowly driving me insane. our room is full so there are 14 ladies sleeping in there (on 7 sets of bunk beds that are not the sturdiest beds i've encountered in my life). you need to have some sense of common courtesy in this situation. we all have work in the morning but the volunteers for Home of Hope leave earlier than the penguin people. one girl was running in and out of the room in her flip flops at 6:15am. can't she take her shoes off? last night, i was awakened by snoring all over the room and then the light was turned on at 3:15am to see how to help the woman throwing up. are you kidding me? do you not have a flashlight? is there a reason the sicko isn't leaving the room so the rest of us can sleep?

as Laura and i had breakfast before SANCCOB today we had a few laughs about how living in the house could become a season of Survivor. who will get voted out first? we have a few candidates that come immediately to mind!

needless to say, i was really cranky when i got up at 6:30am to get ready for the penguins. i was awakened from a deep sleep that could have lasted another few hours and i would have been very happy. instead, i arrived at SANCCOB to find out i was working on penguin adoptions. that would not have been a problem since i enjoy the work but the woman running it today was ridiculously disorganized. between Laura and i, we were done with the work by 11am and spent the rest of the day looking for something, anything to do. my all time low point in the day was when we were told that we could move dead birds from one freezer to another. really? i nearly cried when two really frozen penguins fell out of the plastic bag and smashed into the bottom of the freezer. i was too tired and annoyed to see the humor in the situation which is too bad really.

i'm booking a week on the Garden Route that will have me staying in a single room with en suite bathroom. i can't wait to NOT share with the group! this entry makes it seem like i'm not having fun but really, despite all the insanity, i am enjoying it. i may need a vacation from my vacation though.

now that i have that off my chest, let's talk funny bird moments, shall we?

i restrained the white pelican for the first time on Saturday afternoon. it's easy to do if you toss a towel over his head so he can't see. he pulls his head down and you grab his beak, throw one leg over his body and use your knees to pin his wings. it's an awkward but effective position. as i was holding him, i asked if i could hold his beak shut since i had more control that way and Richard said "well he can't breathe if you do". right, sorry about that mr. pelican.... you learn something every day now don't you?

penguins have an uncanny knack for knowing where you boot ends and your skin begins. you may be wearing slickers but they have this crazy sense to know right where to peck you for the maximum effect. penguin 007 really got me on Saturday afternoon. i was walking by her and our stumpy penguin (she has no feet) reached out and bit me. my right calf will never be the same.

penguin 491 is named Houdini and he is hilarious. he makes me laugh every day. if there's a way to get out of his current location, he will find it. he's regularly seen squeezing in between the plastic dividers in pen 2. he tries to get out of the pool and into the pen by climbing up the wall. if he were able to jump from the top step of our feeding stools into the pool, he would do it. it's not like he hasn't contemplated it.

we have a few penguins with foot problems. this makes it interesting to put them down after you feed them. you try to help them balance before you let them go but face plants are very common. i feel so badly when that happens but it's not intentional.
- 007 has no feet (we don't  know why) but she has been seen having several successful breeding seasons at Boulders Beach.

- 001 has a hurt foot so he lists toward the left and since he's in the process of moulting, he looks uncomfortable for many reasons.  i really like 001 though. he is really mellow when i feed him and we often have quiet moments where he's just sitting with me afterward, chilling out.   everyone expects him to bite me but i know he can feel my love :-)

- 013 is a newer penguin who is really feisty despite having only one foot. we're not sure how he lost his left foot but the stump is longer than 007's. watching him try to balance and walk around is so fascinating. i'm amazed at how tough these birds are!
- 012 has both feet but his right foot was wrapped in fishing line to it has a fresh cut in it and he favors his left foot at the moment. he's stronger than 001 but he spends a lot of time on his belly instead of standing. 

i'm very fond of a few of the penguins and i need to seriously think about who i am going to adopt. this is my next project now that i have my week away booked. who's it going to be?
Slideshow Report as Spam
Where I stayed
Aviva House


michcrab on

MMMM, sounds like a bloody nightmare this Aviva place. Say, if you're keen / desperate / ready for a change, my friend owns a Guest House in the Northern Suburbs and I'm sure she's love to help you out with a room etc. - but not sure of your set up / costs or who's paying for your accommodation etc. But doooo let me know if you're keen.

I guess you could say it's all part of the adventure hey! Sounds like you're having an interesting time my friend!

Oh, and I too have a pic of me standing under the SF 16690 (or whatever it was) sign at the Waterfront. Looooooong way from home you and I both are!

Enjoy :) x

fifoota on

Hey Tera

Sorry to hear about your trials and tribulations in the share house. Does sound very crowded. We managed very well in our small apartment in Paris!

Your stories about your penguins are a delight to read. Got your postcard with Mr Elephant - totally cute, I agree. Sally comes this weekend - v. exciting.

Kisses, Allison

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