Sarah Wade – a volunteer on our Over 30’s Pre-School and Community Development Project at Thanda Private Game Reserve, South Africa and author of www.allmyeyeshaveseen.blogspot.com - gives us the lowdown on her time so far and how it all came about… "Referencing my bucket list (also known in my family as the more morbidly titled “25 things I want to do before I die”), I scanned the list, settling on “volunteer in Africa.” Now I’m pretty sure that when I created this list what I meant was… Cue movie scene: I go to Africa as a glamorous foreign aid worker who, though very poor, lives in cute apartment, wears gorgeous, if somewhat practical, clothing and despite the heat has perfect hair and makeup, has adventures I always survive, falls in love with the attractive photo-journalist who is there on special assignment, and saves lives along the way. Oh and all set to a fantastic soundtrack with a lot of 30’s and 40’s jazz invoking a Hemmingway/Out of Africa vibe. End scene. You might want to sit down because I know this will be shocking…it isn’t like that at all: this has been one of the craziest, hardest, most amazing experiences of my life. I am dirty and sweaty and ridiculous looking all day. My hut is full of dirt and bugs and some days we run out of water and I can’t shower. When I walk back to my hut after dark, I must watch out for lions, wild dogs, leopards, and 20 varieties of venomous snakes. Since I arrived, the days have been sunny, hot, and dusty but Monday we awoke to our first rain. And it rained and rained… Cassandra, Sibu, and I loaded up in the Land Rover and headed up to Etshaneni Creche. Though we had been to the school before, this was our first visit with the kids, and we were excited to get started. The school sits on the top of the mountain, through rough terrain and dirt roads. With the fog rolling in it was a bit difficult to get there but the Land Rover did its job and we were so excited to start the day. Because of the rain, only six children made it to school. Those who did were quite wet from the rain and had to take off their clothes to dry out, so they were sitting huddled in blankets. The roof of the creche is tin with a seam running down the middle and the windows do not have glass so the wind and rain were whipping through the small room.
And in the evenings…I go on game drives and see gorgeous wildlife. Wild, complex, stunning South Africa." This is a project set up specifically and exclusively for anyone over 30 years of age. The activities have been chosen to deliver sustainable change whilst providing you with the opportunity to share your knowledge, skills and experiences with young people in the Zulu heartland, all whilst living in the heart of a Big 5 Game Reserve! For more information on the Over 30’s Pre-School and Community Development Project at Thanda Private Game Reserve, South Africa, click here. Or if Sarah has already confirmed your decision to take the plunge and book yourself in for the experience of a lifetime, email firstname.lastname@example.org!