Khayelisha Week Four

It’s incredible to think that we have now been in South Africa for a month, so much has happened yet it’s passed so quickly.

This past week has been really incredible, we started off on Monday up at the bore hole investigating the water issue. To show us how deep the pipes went, Laurens (who works with Khayelisha) dropped a pebble down the hole and we were amazed to hear that there was a splash of water as it hit the bottom. We all kept our fingers crossed in the hopes that it was more than a puddle. After lowering the pipe and giving it a test we were so grateful to find water pouring out at the other end. This hole was completely dry just last week yet somehow God has answered our prayers and provided for the people here. There are still some issues regarding the water but we are encouraged to have gotten this far and we continue to pray for solutions.


Tuesday saw the start of our life skills lessons on ‘Poverty’ and ‘Human Trafficking’. We were relieved to find that the students really listened to a lot of what was being said and reacted in a way that provided us hope. They weren’t easy subjects to teach, nor to listen to, yet we are glad to be given such important topics.

We were finally able to start on the solar ovens this week, which we have all been looking forward to. Our first job was to dust them down and give them three coats of paint, and with each coat taking a day to dry, this took a while to work on. We hope to finish twenty of them by the 28th May, so far we have eight, but we continue with determination, after all the sooner they’re finished the sooner we can test them out (yum).


There was some excitement on Wednesday this week, as we greeted Debbie and Tracey, where we shared our progress and were able to hear about how the other teams were getting on. As much as we love being out in Tugela Ferry we are sad not to keep contact with the other volunteers, we are so excited to be reunited with them next week for the midterm review, it’ll be so good to hear everyone’s stories.

Prayer Requests

We pray that water issue continues to improve, so much has happened yet there is still much to overcome.

That we finish the solar ovens on time. It would be so great to deliver all twenty to the care workers.

That we arrive safely back in Durban, and we get the chance to reconnect with the other teams.

Our life skills lessons next week are on Children’s rights, something we are all passionate about so we also pray that these go well.


Khayelisha Week Two

This past week has been a real insight into the area of Tugela Ferry, where we are based. We’ve been working on a number of different projects and have spoken to a wide variety of people, all of whom have inspired us in multiple ways. We started the week off with work on the library, it wasn’t particularly hard work but it was time consuming and tedious. In attempt to make it more interesting we blasted the music and began filming for a video we intend to put together.

Most of our week has been spent in the school doing lesson cover for maths and science, as well as teaching our life skills sessions; time management for grade 8 and 9 (which is a bit of an unheard novelty in South Africa), and HIV/AIDS to grades 4,5,6, and 10. Nonto was definitely the hero of the hour in these lessons as she captivated each class she was in.

Unfortunately we haven’t had as much time as we would like at the Khayelisha project but we hope that this will change next week. We already find ourselves researching recipes we could experiment with in the solar ovens (that we are still to build). Our stomachs grumble at the thought.


A challenge that most of us face is the language barrier. Zulu is a particularly difficult language to come to grips with, the clicks and rhythm that comes so easily to those here, have caused us westerners to stumble. It really is a musical language and we are envious of the chants we hear daily. However, we persevere; we attend lessons every Tuesday in an aim to better ourselves. Nonto and Katlego laugh as we practice (badly). Our favourite words (the ones we can remember) are amanzi (water), woza (come), and inlovu (elephant).

This past weekend has been fantastic, we had a chance to meet up with the Pastor of the mission church (which works alongside the school and Khayelisha) and discussed with him our ideas for the community. It was fascinating hearing how he has strived in the area, and we feel encouraged to pursue our passion to help in the area.

Sunday was our relaxation day, which we thoroughly enjoyed as we took the opportunity to have our first braai (bbq) down by the river.

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At times this week has been quite stressful, but we have found rewards in unlikely places and are excited to work with so many inspirational people.

Prayer Requests

Our life skills lessons next week consist of Human Trafficking, and Poverty, both of which are difficult subjects. It would be great if our message comes across strong and effective.

Our Zulu needs to improve (a lot).

We’re a passionate team with many ideas, we pray that we can focus on the right things for the community and ensure that our time is spent wisely.

The boys have now moved up to Hebron (the boys site), so we pray that we are still able to communicate with them, and we manage to find time to socialise with them as well as work. The water is still an issue, so again we hope that this is solved soon.

Embracing the Zulu life!

Sanibonani! Ninjani? (Hello! How are you?)

Siyaphila! (We are fine!) We have been living in Zulu host homes for almost a month now, and what was once very new and very different is gradually becoming normal! For us UK volunteers, it took a lot of getting used to!

We are living in a beautiful community called KwaNyuswa in the Valley of 1000 hills. The views here are breath-taking and on a clear day you can see for miles and miles into the distance. I wish you could capture the sheer beauty on camera, but a photo doesn’t even come close to showing how amazing it is.

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The first and most noticeable difference between our life in the UK and the Zulu lifestyle is the food. No complaints at all, it is delicious! But very different too; Zulu culture, similar to many African cultures, is to eat in order to fill up so that you can last as long as possible before your next meal. That means that every meal is very VERY carbohydrate heavy, with a minimum of 1, usually 2 large portions of starch: rice, pasta, potatoes and “maize meal” which can be cooked in lots of different ways – porridge for breakfast, pap (sticky) or phutu (grainy) for lunch and dinner. The majority of meals will have some sort of a stew – beef curry, chicken soup, fish stew, mostly fairly spicy and really tasty, with lots of sauce to soak into the rest of your plate. The main vegetables here are pumpkins and butternut squashes, as well as tomatoes, onions and carrots which go nicely in soups. For our packed lunches, peanut butter and apricot jam sandwiches have become a regular favourite, along with avocados, bananas, apples and delicious, juicy, in-season oranges. Yum!


The second difference in our host homes is the lack of running warm water. Bathing is interesting – some of us are lucky enough to have a tap in the house, and others have to fill up a bucket at the tap outside. Then you heat up some water in the kettle and pour it into a wide shallow bucket. “Bucket baths” basically consist of lots of splashing – you pour the water over you, lather up, then splash it over you to clean off all the dirt and dust! It took some practice to get the right technique, but it’s becoming easier now. And a gecho in the bathroom is a common sight!


We wash all our clothes by hand in buckets which, if you’re not used to it, gives you blisters very quickly. But the plus side is that everything dries really quickly on the washing line out in the sun!

Once a day we have “load shedding” which is a 2 hour period where the electricity goes off. It’s not too bad if you know what time it’s happening because you can prepare and make sure everything is charged up and you’ve got a torch nearby if you need it, but it can be a pain when it comes unexpectedly! The absolute worst is when it means that dinner is delayed by 2 hours.

An interesting part of life in KwaNyuswa is the transport. Public transport doesn’t exist, so we get to and from the HACT offices in local taxis, which are minibuses that comfortably seat 13 people but quite often squeeze in around 17 or more. Once everyone is in, you get out your money and amalgamate it as a row, then pass it to the front. The unlucky person who gets the front seat then sorts out everyone’s change and passes it back down. It’s a process that requires honesty and trust from all the passengers, because there are lots of opportunities to quietly pocket someone else’s taxi fare, but no one ever does. It’s something we have grown to admire about South Africans.

Living with a host family is a really special experience that we value a lot – it has allowed us to really connect with the community and live how they live, as well as practicing our Zulu. Here are a few Zulu phrases we have learnt:

Ngicela amanzi? – please may I have water?
Ngiyajabula – I am happy
Ngilambile – I am hungry (an important one to know!!!)
Ngikhathele – I am tired
Ikuphi ithoyilethe? – where is the toilet?
Ngiyabonga – thank you

We’ve also learnt phrases that are useful for playing cards with the kids:

Ithuba lakho – your turn
Thatha – pick up
Unakho… – do you have…?
Sizodlala kusasa – we will play tomorrow
Kuhle – well done

If you have any questions about what it’s like to live in a Zulu community, please leave a comment below! We hope you’re enjoying your luxurious bath tubs, washing machines and ant-free homes!