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Month: July 2012

YEP 12 Africa Expedition – Day 21

Blog written by Seb and Nora

Our final full day of the expedition. The day started early at Moose’s house after an awesome night scouting for illegal abalone poachers in Scarborough. We packed up and headed down to the beach again for a beach cleanup; this beach was actually relatively clean, speaking from experience I know that any beach in Asia would have far more rubbish on it. We swept the beach in less than two hours and headed back to PANGAEA for a pit stop and refuel.

Our next activity for the day was with the Laureus Foundation, a surfing session with township kids in Muisenberg. Before we actually started surfing we played touch rugby with two very biased groups (most of us had no idea what to do).

When the kids arrived we started with some exercises for surfing which were supposed to teach the kids teambuilding. Finally we paired up and took turns trying to catch waves, mostly falling flat on our faces. Although we weren’t successful in surfing and we didn’t have so much time, it was great fun and the water was warmer than the air so when it was time to get out none of us wanted to. Fortunately we warmed up with some hot chocolate and a good meal…

Now we are back on the boat. All that is left to do is write blogs, do some water testing and then we will be able to enjoy the last evening together… why does it have to end?

Geberit School Project South Africa – DAY 16

Blog written by Saskia Bauer

We don’t want to say good bye because the past three weeks shall only be the beginning of a long term cooperation with the Fountein Combined School. All of us want to come back one day, some already in October, others next year to continue the project.

We’ve achieved even more than we expected. Although it was hard sometimes and not everything went so smoothly like in Europe we started to understand the South African culture at least a little bit and have hopefully brought new hope to the community.

The food garden gives the kids the opportunity to help grow their own vegetables and eat a healthy meal.
We introduced trash bins to the kids which can’t be stolen because the weigh 250kg. The next step will be to teach the students about recycling but at this stage it is enough that they start throwing their rubbish into the bins

During the break the kids can now play games which we have drawn on the tarmac and use the new playground we have installed. When they play soccer others can watch the match now comfortably seated on one of the 25 new benches.

We spoke with the kids about environmental issues, about water conservation and hygiene.With the help of the kids we managed to give their school a nicer and child friendlier appearance by painting the murals. And last but not least every student got the chance to go on an excursion with us whether it was the dunes, the Lion’s Park, Bay World or Shamwari.

Some kids have never before left their community so this was something very exciting for them as well as for us who were infected by the excitement of the kids.

All in all the last three weeks have been a great success and all of us have formed new friendships with the kids in the school. We learned a lot about their culture but also about their poor living conditions which helps us even more to appreciate what we have. We should be happy with what we have and help others who are less privileged. As we wrote on one of the murals: Together we can make the world a better place!

YEP 12 Africa Expedition – Day 20

Blog witten by Nadja

Shark diving tomorrow!! To get there was a long drive away however, so we drove there on the 29th and then spent the night. On the way we stopped and had a look at an African penguin colony. We managed to loose each other afterwards so it took us forever to get to the camping spot, but once we finally all arrived we put up our tents and then went and found some cliffs to dive off. The water was rough and cold and the wind was blowing right through us, so no one was very keen to go in, but once a couple of people started most of us joined in. When we got back to the camp site we had a nice braai with Rosewitha`s famous Bavarian potato salad. Danny brought his slackline and guitar and we had an amusing and relaxing time watching people fall off, singing songs and listening to Mike’s stories.

Next morning we woke up early, and left for the shark diving. We arrived all very excited, and got kitted up. We jumped on the boat, and headed for Dyer Island where there is a seal colony which attracts the great whites. We waited with great anticipation …. and waited….and waited. Finally we saw an enormous, dark shadow sliding through the water right next to the boat. With adrenalin pumping, the first seven divers put on their masks and slipped into the cage. ‘Right! Down right!’ yelled those on the boat and the divers took a deep breath and watched the silent predator glide effortlessly past them. To see such a feared animal mere feet away, moving with such beautiful grace, made us appreciate that these animals have much more to fear from us than we have from them. And yet watching them trying to take a hunk out of the penguin decoys also reminded us that we shouldn’t ever make the mistake of taking them for granted!!

Once everyone had come face to face with the Great Whites and excitement was running high, we headed back into town and went to visit Moose, who deserves the host of the year award for feeding 40+ ravenous young explorers and staff! After the most delicious marlin braai any of us could imagine, old and current Young Explorers headed down to beach for poacher patrol. Abalone grows in these waters and poachers come at night to take them, so we went to see if we could foil their plans, but we didn’t see any activity. So instead, after a midnight dip, we made a small fire, sang songs and discussed ideas, plans and projects for the future.

This might be end of the last PANGAEA expedition, but it’s only the beginning for each of us and the projects we will pursue!

YEP 12 Africa Expedition – Day 19

Blog written by Seb & Laura

Up early for the table mountain climb, we almost overslept completely as two peoples alarms didn’t go off! But we managed to prepare in time and woke up to the familiar site of Michael & Ben, two staff from our selection camp who were working in Port Elizabeth on the Geberit project. Upon arriving at the foot of the impressive Table Mountain we were also greeted by the Port Elizabeth Young Explorers, making our group of YEPs around 40 strong!

We all started the hike up Table Mountain together and had the opportunity to chat with lots of people form around the world who we haven’t met before, all in the spirit of strengthening the ties between our YEP network. As we climbed higher and higher the wind picked up throwing us around the mountain like leaves and the temperature dropped so we all put on as many layers as possible. Looking around up there you had a 180 degree view of Cape Town city and a fantastic day, we could also see the famous table cloth of clouds that sits just on top of Table Mountain.

We split 100m below the summit into two groups; current Young Explorers along with Mike, and the past Young Explorers. We climbed two different routes, ours called the Staircase, it involved 3 pitches and two short traverses before we arrived at the top of Table Mountain, one of the worlds natural wonders. The climb was really fun and was at a good level of difficulty considering most of us had never properly rock climbed before. We hiked down the other side of Table Mountain through a ravine where Robert and Anika both fell and almost broke their backs. Now we are all sitting in the conference room onboard PANGAEA with all the other Young Explorers and having a great time!

Geberit School Project South Africa – DAY 15

Blog 26th July 2012, written by Saskia Bauer Today was our last working day at Fontein Combined School and we still had some things to be done: The food garden is now officially finished after having carried 7 tons of stones up from the school yard as they had been delivered to the wrong place. But with the help of some keen learners we packed them into bags of around 25kg each and carried them up to the garden. The two scarecrows we built to prevent the birds from eating the seeds symbolize the successful building of the vegetable garden, may it give the community lots of fun while gardening, friendships and above all fresh food. Our second mission of the day was to finish the murals. Ben impressed us all with his incredible art skills as he painted at least 20 faces on one wall that were all unique and completely different from each other. The last wall we did shows the South African Flag, Europe with the Mike Horn expedition center and PANGAEA in the middle. All of us signed our name so that the kids have something to remember us. Let’s hope that this wasn’t the last project in Port Elizabeth and we come back to continue our work. We’ve built friendships with the kids and teachers which we have to keep for the future. For me that was one of my main expectations which is now fulfilled: becoming friends with people from a totally different background and starting to understand their lives. These people have taught me a lot and I enjoyed it very much to learn from them.

YEP 12 Africa Expedition – Day 18

Blog written by Ollie & Nadja

Our second day at the Masiphumelele township started with a warm welcome and songs performed by the choir of the local elementary school. We were welcomed by the principal of the school and were then grouped up in teams for tree planting. We picked up our shovels and trees, listened to a simple intro to tree planting from the guys from GREENPOP and then started digging our holes. The plan was to plant 50 trees around the soccer field and with 40 kids helping out it was easy work. We were pleasantly surprised when the weather turned from raining and cloudy into a bright sunny warm day. The kids who we were working with were all part of the schools’ eco club, so they were all very excited to work with us, always ready and eager to learn.

After a very successful tree planting session and handing out first aid kits, we joined a street football tournament. We played two games and lost both! The kids we played were from the local schools primary and high school. We rewarded the winning sides by handing out a couple of first aid kits the organizers, which they will be able to use for the tournaments and events in the future.

We then presented to a group of Youths, talking about the PANGAEA project and what it was we were doing in their township. We didn’t know what exactly to expect, but when we arrived at the library and went into the classroom, they welcomed us warmly. It was great for both sides that we could talk more relaxed, laugh and that’s what really connected us to our audience. They were all impressed by the project and had a lot of questions which was a clear sign they listened to us carefully.

Afterwards we said goodbye to our guides through Masiphumelele and went back to the boat where we tested water samples taken from the Orange River and a stream in the township. It was very surprising to find a huge amount of Phosphates and Nitrates in the township water.

The rest of the night we spent listening about plans for climbing Table Mountain tomorrow and testing out our gear.

YEP 12 Africa Expedition – Day 17

Blog written by Nora and Robert

Today we spent the entire day in the township of Masiphumelele. The name of this township means success and it recently won an award for being exceptionally peaceful. We met our guides, Ali and Charlotte, from the international volunteer organization i-to-i who gave us a tour of the township.

Along the way, we visited several kindergartens to meet the kids and give them first aid kits. The kids were extremely friendly and excited to see us. As soon as we walked in the door, they ran up to hug us and take photos.

We also met Yandiswa who makes art from plastic gathered from local beaches. She was able to make amazing figures, jewelry, and masks from what most people would consider trash. She gave us a brief lesson on making our own, but we found it was much more difficult than it appeared to be.

Following lunch, we joined a music class at the local library. The young kids danced and sang surprisingly well. It was a unique experience to hear the national anthem and many other traditional South African songs from the kids. Next, we had a brief drawing lesson where we attempted to draw a portrait of Nelson Mandela which produced some very amusing pieces of art.

At the end of the day, we joined the old Young Explorers on Pangaea to hear stories of Mike’s exciting adventures. We are excited to return to Masiphumelele tomorrow to plant trees and distribute more first aid kits.

YEP 12 Africa Expedition – Day 16

Blog written by Seb & Anika

We sailed through the night and arrived early this morning just outside of Cape Town where we picked up several celebrities/friends of the PANGAEA project. After a brief introduction and a great breakfast of croissants we hoisted and set sails heading straight home to Cape Town. We arrived to a fantastic and extremely jubilant crowd of ex-young explorers, journalists from all over the world and of course the faithful sponsor representatives.

After a short press conference type event we invited everyone on board PANGAEA for a sail. There was a great turn out and we possibly had more people onboard than ever before. Hoping to impress Mike ordered all sails up and off we went; along with the past young explorers we grinded and grinded those sails up! During the sail we had more time to get to further know the other young explorers and the rest of the entourage. We ended the night with a nice, well-deserved dinner on land and we are going to sleep comfortably in the harbour tonight.

Mike is in a constant state of travel and adventure , so keep up to date on all his expeditions !