Thursday, January 28, 2010

Locally found building materials

The incredible nature of things, is evident in times of extreme hardship.
This school in Port St Johns has morphed into a superb example of how resourceful humans can be. The initial intention was to build a school using raw earth bricks, then the rains came. Its not easy to dry bricks in the rain. The deadline was looming as the eager children prepare for the start of the new school year.

So the builders took a deep breath, lifted their heads and looked around. Bamboo, tin cans and muddy clay lay abundant all around.
Harvest time!
The picture on the left shows the bamboo walls of one of the classrooms (the inside will be plastered).

Tin can collections became the order of the day and soon the new (rather funky walls) were up, this is the best example of recycled building.
Its very exciting and a huge learning for the community members who have access to tin cans chicken wire and clay. Its not complete yet and the children and teachers have had to band together in order to find alternative premises, but it is happening, its innovative and its evolving the way it should. Congratulations to all involved.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

South African volunteers

Its a great start to 2010 for us at VSA, there are 3 wonderful souls embarking on their journeys through South Africa. 2 from the UK and 1 from Canada, its a multi cultural adventure.

The communities they will be spending time with are eager to share their knowledge and culture. Its hot in South Africa so remember to bring hats, long sleeved shirts and sun screen. All 3 volunteers will be involved in the building of the Sisonke school, gardening projects and day to day community life.

Right attitude is the key to a positive experience, while working on any project, keep a check on yourself, how you are feeling and where your thoughts are, you cannot assist others if you are living in the past or future, wishing you were else where or worrying about outcomes beyond your control. Be a sponge to your surroundings taking it all in as a whole experience the good along with the bad. You can make a difference, just with a warm smile and an outstretched hand, the more you participate and engage, the greater your impact within the community.

Happy discovering

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 experiment

Well the last meditation really worked, despite procrastinating and only getting to it in the evening. The basic message is that stilling the mind really does make a difference.
Its like a magical bond that forms within you, there are no bells and whistles nor is it that easy to notice. Its a little more subtle, more like a feeling of calm (albiet brief, in most cases) a kind of little inner buzz.
Even a short 1 minute stillness with intention can set you straight.
If you have the desire to extend this feeling and start setting a few more measurable to the magic, then why not start the 2010 experiment.

How it works:

  • Find a space you can be alone for 20 minutes
  • Light a candle
  • Breathe deeply, in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts out for 4 counts, do this for 5 minutes
  • When you catch your mind wondering, just come back to the breathing and counting.
  • When you feel ready, allow your imagination to take you to a beautiful place, somewhere that makes you smile, a forest, a beach, a mountain, imagine it is December 2010.
  • Look around that place and notice its beauty
  • Notice what you are wearing, holding, drinking or eating
  • Imagine someone walking towards to you (you may know them or you may not)
  • Greet them and begin to tell them about your amazing year, 2010
  • Tell them all the things you have done, places you have visited and people you have met
  • Now show them pictures of the things you have done, describe them in detail
  • When you have finished, say good bye and return to your breathing
  • Breathe in for the count of 4, hold it for the count of 4, and out for the count of 4
  • Come back to the room and open your eyes slowly
What did you do in 2010, where were you, who did you meet?
Take those images that were shown to you and remember them every morning when you wake up. Do this for a month, then let it go!

That's it your done, the magic will unfold.