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Mike Horn and Mercedes-Benz: a long time partnership

From 2008 until 2012, during the Mike Horn Pangaea Expedition, Pangaea was the platform for youths from all around the world to share their passion for the environment, learn about flora and fauna with trained specialists and engage in environmental projects to  protect the environment for the future generations to come.

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Geberit Social Aid Project

Blog written by Lani van Niekerk

Today we rolled up our sleeves and got our hands dirty! We started the day with working in the food garden. The garden is flourishing and the plants are producing veggies in abundance! The teachers and kids from the school have already harvested a large amount of beautiful beetroot. The excess will be bagged and sold in order to raise funds to buy more seeds.

After all the heavy rain, the weeds were growing all over. Along with the school kids, we put in a big effort to rid the beds of all the alien plants. This was followed by the planting of some citrus trees. These will start bearing fruit within the next two years. We also made a pair of new scarecrows that can keep watch over our precious vegetables! The children loved these activities and it really helped them to become more involved in the development of the garden.

A big part of our project is to reach out to the community. We visited an AIDS Haven where they take care of children that suffer from HIV/AIDS. They have 6 “mothers” who take care of the children as if they were her own family. In the future they hope to be able to provide a house for every family. These children also receive much-needed medication every day. We had a great time playing with the little kids (mostly aged 4 years) and talking to the volunteers.

Furthermore, the guys from Geberit are doing a great job with the installation of the sanitation facilities. We have made good progress so far, and are pretty confident that we will finish on schedule, even though we are quite pressed for time.

The afternoon was spent painting the classes of the grade 6 learners. These classes are really old and could do with a new lick of paint! We finished the base coat and started drawing the outlines for the pictures that will go on top. After finishing, we packed up and headed home for a well-deserved rest.

Geberit Social Aid project

It was with broad smiles and big hugs that we were welcomed at Fontein Combined School in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. After three months, we are back at the school with the team from Geberit! Our main goals for the next two weeks include installing brand new bathrooms for the children as well as completing several social projects at the school.

So far we have done presentations about hygiene and sanitation with the foundation phase kids (ages 8-10). Along with this we have distributed food and bowls that they can use for their feeding scheme. The installation of the toilets is going extremely well. Geberit has brought 8 apprentices from Germany, Switzerland and Austria to come and install the sanitation facilities. (And they are in the process of teaching us YEPs how to actually handle pipe-cutters and wood drills. Becci spent her afternoon learning how to weld plastic pipes!) In the end, we will have 72 new installations (toilets, urinals and basins) that will contribute a lot to the sanitation of the school.

Today we experienced a bit of a culture shock. We went deep into the townships in order to get a better understanding of the environments that the school children grow up in. We visited the houses of some of the kids and were touched by the poor circumstances they live in. We were silenced by our emotions as we drove through the dirty streets. Ruben (an apprentice from Geberit) mentioned that he had the feeling of injustice and that he felt very helpless to see the people live like this. Simon (also from Geberit) said he even felt too bad to eat after our trip to the township. After an eye-opener like this, I think we were all humbled and extremely thankful that we can give something to people who really need it.

Geberit event in Abu Dhabi

Update from the UAE

The Geberit event took place on board Pangaea on the 22nd of October 2012, a perfect day in Abu Dhabi. The seas were calm and the skies blue and Mike gave an amazing motivational talk, an insight into his life, tales of 'on board Pangaea', the amazing work he does with todays youths from around the globe instilling them to become ambassadors in taking care of our planet!

Mike had the audience gasping with his tales and opened everyone eyes to the topics of global warming, sustainability, what we all can do to save our planet…. it was great. The event was attended by 25 guests, made up of our VIP clients and press along with the Geberit team.

The guests arrived at 11am, we had an introduction by Stefan Schmied and then Mike Horn introduced his crew and talked through his photo presentation. This was followed by a 40 minute cruise from the Emirates Palace Marina. A light lunch was served on board and the guests departed after a photo opportunity with Mike.

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!

Geberit School Project South Africa – DAY 13

About 60 kids from the school went on the Maitland’s dune excursion. It was a bright and sunny winter’s day on the beach with almost no wind. Our guides from the municipality were very knowledgeable and the students had a great time.

The guides split the kids up in two groups and they had to find and identify the different species of plants and animals that occur in the different zones on the beach. The kids were quick to find the species and with the help of the guides all the animals were identified.

With a Southern Right Whale playing just behind the waves the kids waved goodbye to the beach and made their way back to the school.

Geberit School Project South Africa – DAY 10

The wind is blowing in our faces, the car is bumping, around us bushes and wide planes. The open vehicle we’re sitting in finds its way on tiny little paths through the Shamwari Game Reserve where we will spend the next three days with twenty seven graders of the Fontein School.They are the best students of their grade and will get the possibility to experience wild life and nature in a completely new dimension to learn about it and develop the wish to preserve it.

Our first activity was a game drive and just after ten minutes our guide Graham found a herd of elephants including little cubs. We were amazed by the beauty of this species and how friendly they look like.
Our group was split up into three smaller groups in different vehicles. The guides would show us around individually which gave us the chance to profit from the discovery of the others. When we found the herd of elephants Graham told the others where they were so that they could see these majestic animals.

We even got to see one of the Big 5: the rhino! We were extremely close to a mother and her child which should actually have been scary but we felt completely safe because these massive animals were just calmly eating without taking notice of us. Moreover we were very lucky to see a hippo which is normally were difficult to spot.

The kids enjoyed this first game drive as much as we did and are very much looking forward to the next days which will be fully packed with activities about wild life conservation.

Now we totally understand the advantages of going to a game reserve with a real guide because he knows exactly where to look for a specific animal and can drive off road very close to them.

The excitement didn’t decrease after the first day but grew even bigger as we now know what unique activities will await us in the upcoming days!

Geberit School Project South Africa – Day 7

Every day is full of different activities from which we are learning a lot about the culture. Today we continued building the food garden and painting the walls white as preparation for the murals which we will do with the pupils. However, our main part today was poster making and Art. The Young Explorers were divided up into groups of two and went into one class for drawing posters about different topics. The children made posters about South Africa, Hygiene and Sanitation, Pollution and Water. By drawing the posters we realized how creative and passionate the kids are about art and thus we got a lot of amazing and informative posters.

The most passionate and motivated pupils got selected to help design the murals. During our time in the classrooms we sadly realized that the relation between the pupils and the teachers is different from what we are used to. Many pupils don't have any kind of respect for their teachers so the teachers sometimes had to be very strict. Surprisingly, us Young Explorers got along very well with the children and we had a lot of fun and got wonderful results. So we can say that the Art day was a great success!

Geberit School Project South Africa – DAY 9

We finally reached the day everyone has been waiting for: our sports day! The children were positively quivering with excitement as they all kitted up in their shorts and coloured shirts. We had great fun playing soccer, netball, hockey and cricket with kids from all ages! Festive music and lots of laughter could be heard all over.

On the other hand, we got creative and continued our work on the murals. The kids were more than eager to assist with painting, carrying buckets and drawing outlines! After long hours in the warm African sun, we finished three murals and plenty of games on the tarmac. Success! The children continue to impress us every day! If they are not singing and painting, they are beating us in soccer! Saskia had a hard time defending the Young Explorers team, but we ended an eventful day in good spirits.

In the evening we were treated to a traditional Cape Malay curry prepared by two teachers, Taryn and Sheila. We sang and joked as we cooked, discovering more about each other with every minute. It is great to see how these South Africans open their arms and hearts to us!