Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A general understanding

All we need is a general understanding of what we want and a willingness to allow access to the transformation tools available and there it is! life! happiness! finances! love.

The universe is magical and unexplainable, there are experiences that can touch the deepest primal part of ourselves while others others just pass us by. Is it a case of awareness, recognition, intention or is it just faith. I like to think its a combination of both as without faith we would struggle to tray and explain the unexplainable yet without awareness and intention for the highest good we would not know faith.

We have unlimited power in creating our lives for example this morning as I sit here I am actively choosing to do an experiment for the day, I am going to try and meditate and clear the mind then ask for inspiration within the workplace, to guide me on the right track.
How will I know if it has worked or if there was any divine guidance?
Not sure
I will let you know.

Right now I am just going to sit and meditate!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Building a school

It is a wonderful feeling to be a part of the building process, new beginning, each step is embedded in hope. I suppose we all want to feel like we are making a difference in some form or another and a school is a real soft target. One has a sense of pride that in the building of this simple structure the way is set for generations of knowledge transfer. Inspirational at best.
The steel honeycomb structures go up pretty quickly, the brick making is the laborious part. One hand compressor is used to compact a mixture of mud, clay and straw, they are then left to bake in in the African sun oven. Time is urgent yet allusive as it will take as long as it takes.

The community are behind the school and have seen the improvements in their children, so the energy is high and there are many helpers at the ready.

There is always room for more help!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Transport in South Africa

Luckily for us South Africans the 2010 world cup is bringing a lot of long overdue changes to our basic infrastructure. The roads are much improved and public transport is being overhauled in many cities. South Africa is a great country to hire a car and hit the open road in, we drive on the left side of the road which may take some getting used to if you are used to the wrong side.

There are a few bus services that are comfortable and affordable, they link all major cites and the smaller town in between, the most popular are the Greyhound and Roadlink then there is the tourist backpacker bus that reaches slightly less mainstream destinations called the Baz Bus. The local minibus taxis, of which there are thousands on our roads are often overcrowded and poorly maintained which gives them a really bad rap. Having said that there is nothing wrong with catching these taxis provided you have a contact within the country who can suggest a particular driver and where exactly you are heading. As I am part of a volunteer organization within South Africa we are careful to select the appropriate mode of transport for our volunteers, in many cases the project is based in the heart of rural South Africa and the only means of getting there is by minibus taxi of private vehicles.

For long distance travel the train is a must, South Africans are not big on trains as a mode of transport but for you as a traveler the Shosholoza Meyl is the way to go, kick back and relax in relative comfort and seriously wonderful secenary. Check out this blog for a great discription of the trip http://moralfibre.co.za/vincenthofmann/shosholoza-meyl-train-review/

Then there are the airlines, obviously the fastest mode and there are many local airlines offering great deals on in country but if you have time on your hands then nothing beats a slow meandering road trip.

Empowerment and sustainability in South Africa

This picture shows Adam (a volunteer from the UK) and Northa (a resident in Sicambeni village) working side by side making bricks, they are using a simple machine that compacts the locally found mixture of clay, sand and reeds.

It's a great way to contribute and keep fit at the same time, as a volunteer with VSA you will definitely find yourself a part of this process.
A community is built brick by brick, person by person and if you believe in karma, energy exchange or intention, then these bricks are the foundation of a community built out of love, care and mutual respect. Every human has the basic right to shelter, take that right remove the entitlement attitude many governments install in their people and empower each individual to take an active role in the building of his/her own community buildings and you are left with a strong individual and a united community.

Action is the first step to a result.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

South Africa 2010 Durban

So much is on the go, the country is a buzz with change. The best thing about the up and coming 2010 soccer world cup is the camaraderie it brings. Stop anyone on the street at any time and say in what ever language you speak, the words 2010 and you will be rewarded with a smile and 2 thumbs up! Durban is my home town and I am living right on the coast line overlooking the Indian ocean, the workman are busily improving every corner of the city. Jobs have been created and proposals are being written as people are believing in their ideas.
It is exactly this kind of energy that we at Voluntour South Africa are harnessing.

Live well :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


When we are borne we leave the nourishing watery amniotic fluid so vital to our healthy development and life support to enter a world where our nourishment is a little harder to come by. So begins our dependence on water. While the body can survive without food for about 5 weeks, the body cannot survive without water for longer than 5 days.
For many of us, this is no biggy, water flows freely from every tap, it is bottled at source available in it's purest state, but for millions it is a struggle. Water, simple water, is heavy, scarce and dirty.
Due to mismanagement on many levels there are communities of people who must walk far to carry back dirty, polluted water the stakes are high and we are unaware.

So what to do? Do not feel guilty for what you have or where you were borne, just take the time to think of others and remain ever aware.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sicambeni, Port St Johns

Have a look at this clip showing the progress at Sicambeni, there is still a long way to go but it is clear that the efforts of the people involved are starting to take shape. Wonderful.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The food project

We are very far away from our original source of food, organic foods are luxury high priced items, while processed nutrient deficient foods are on every corner. In Rural South Africa most people live off highly processed starch, maize and wheat and add refined white sugar to their daily diet.

A balanced, natural diet can ease mood swings, panic attacks, anxiety, and mild depression. Since the mental and physical selves are closely bound to one another, it makes sence to feed both foods on which they can thrive. Poverty is a common cause for poor nutrition, however if communities and individuals could only see how much food can be produced form a very small patch of land we could all be the tenders of our inner and outer gardens.

There is a project up in the hills of Port st Johns which is focused on showing the community how to grow a variety of foods, how to cook the foods and how to save the seeds and plant the next cycle. It is called CART (Centre for Appropriate Rural Technology).


Monday, June 29, 2009

What kind of animals live in South Africa?

This is a common question asked by visitors to South Africa so here is a brief overview of the magnificent animals that once roamed free on this land (before humans invented the concept of 'ownership' and built fences to claim their territory)

Southern Africa is very fortunate to have the largest variety of animals in the world. It is home to more than 800 bird species, 229 mammal species, about 400 reptiles & thousands of invertebrate animals like insects and arachnids.

Best known are the mammals, the most famous being the Big Five: elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo. A list of some of the better known mammals
are: elephants, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, buffaloes and elands and many other antelope, zebra, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, civet cat, wild dog, hyena, otter, mongoose, apes, baboons,warthog
Of the 299 mammal species in South Africa , 2 are critically endangered namely the black rhino and the wild dog, 11 are endangered, 15 are vulnerable, and 13 are near-threatened (conservation status as assessed by the IUCN- International Union for Conservation of Nature www.iucn.org)

There are more than 400 species of reptiles and about 130 snake species occurring in Southern Africa. Interesting reptiles to look out for are the tortoise, crocodile, chameleon and numerous lizard species and the african rock python. Although there are many snakes only 1 tenth are poisonous, they are highly sensitive and keep out of humans way.

South Africa ranks as one of the best birding areas in the world and is home to over 850 species of which around 50 are endemic to South Africa. (found only in SA). The list is long and it would be wise to check out this site www.sabirding.co.za. The most well known are, african penguin, knysna loerie, blue crane, lilic breasted roller, cape vulture and the jackal buzzard.

Insects are the most abundant animal species on earth. There are more than a million insect species on earth and more than 100 000 can be found in South Africa. The praying mantis is one to look out for as it is a symbol of good luck.The Baboon spider, a common resident, is a ground dwelling hairy spider and is considered one of the largest spiders in the world. It ranges in size from 2 to 6 cm in body length, but is not poisonous.

The marine life abundant along the South Africa coast line and at certain times of the year you can see the humpback and southern right whales come close to shore to calve. Besides the dolphins, jelly fish, leather back turtles and other colorful sea creatures the one worth mentioning is the infamous great white shark, this is a highly underrated animal which is worthy of our respect rather than fear.

South Africa's marine and wildlife is continually under threat from the ever expanding human race, the creatures are fast loosing their habitat and food source. We as individuals have a responsibility to be the voice of these creatures to honor them and ensure their continued survival. It is thanks to the ever-increasing presence of wildlife sanctuaries, animal welfare groups and concerned members of the public that the animals have a rightful chance on this earth.

A quick tip: if you are a fish eater, then sms the name of the fish you are about to eat to 0794998795 BEFORE you order it, you will be sent an sms reply telling you if that species is endangered or not.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A good day

Today was a good day, a day where the spirit of giving delivered a gift.

These are the mostly orphaned children of the Nondwayiza Farm School in Kwa Zulu Natal. The school is supported by SchoolTrade and it is through a seemingly small gesture initiated by Vanessa Mc Kay (pictured wearing white) that these children are now dressed in their warm winter track suits.

It was a chillly winters morning when Vanessa went into the hills to visit the Nondwayiza Farm school. She was there in response to a plee from the teachers to SchoolTrade for help to build a kitchen. During the visit she noticed how scarcely dressed the youngsters were, and felt the glaring disparity between her warm woolen attire and their sparsely glad bodies. She resolved there and then so send out a simple request to her friends on face book highlighting the need for winter clothing. The response was immediate and the donations came from as far afield as Australia and New Zea land. Within a week the tracksuits were ordered and delivered, in good time too, as the cold front is upon us Kwa Zulu Natalians.

So there you have it, a need was identified, a request sent out and an answer given.

Its that simple!

Listen to this wonderful song of gratitude sung by the children.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Your journey starts here.

We are all a part of this magical journey called life and we can support one another to live in harmony.
It starts with an intention, a simple thought that is followed with a smile.

When we do something for others without expectation we are acting out of love and there is nothing more nourishing than love. So if you are reading this right now.....take a moment to give yourself a gift, breathe deeply and smile, do it again, did you feel a little tingle? or a glimpse of serenity?

Its that simple!