Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We're going to Hogsback!

Magical Hogsback
Two weekends ago, a Kombi mini-bus crammed full of South Africans and two Canadians journeyed to the mystical world of Hogsback for a training weekend for the Youth Driven Generation project funded by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Foundation.  Everyone was still nervous and uncomfortable with each other but enthusiasm and expectations were high as we all heard so much about the beautiful Lord of the Rings-esque scenery. 1pm turned into a 6pm departure and when we finally made it to Hogsback in the dark (after lots of singing including Sarah and I belting out "Oh Canada" and a broken windshield wiper in the pouring rain), we were ready for dinner and bed before a busy weekend!

 Highlights included:

Kicking and jabbing
6am group exercises--Sunday morning had me leading a beginner kickboxing class from memories of university aerobics.  I still get abuse about some of the moves I showed them although I heard complaints of stiff thighs and bums so I must have done something right!

Our hike to the Madonna and Child waterfall which turned into a messy group swim with waterfights, see-through shirts, a photo shoot, and Lumka jumping in the water with her cellphone still in her pants.  Our hike back was made a little terrifying by the huge thunderstorm that rolled in and the lightning bolt that struck 5 feet from us! 

Team building activities like the obstacle course where I was reminded that cheating can get you pretty far and the process of pretending like you’re playing by the rules can cause uncontrollable laughter!  Or the group trust game where we took turns being blindfolded and leading our partners around--including on a big slide!


and then the serious stuff
like trainings on project management,
leadership, and budgeting

By the end of the weekend, all of the awkward barriers that were put up by skin colour, education, hometown, clothes, or family background had been broken down and we hugged and cried when we said our goodbyes.  For most of us, it was our first time to Hogsback, but for many, it was the first bonfire, the first zipline, the first obstacle course, and I felt like a proud mum when I saw how hard everyone was working and the enthusiasm in what they had been chosen to do. 
It has been a really rewarding and exciting experience to have been at the beginning of a project and see it through to this point.  I know that Lumka will keep us updated when we leave and I’m jealous and excited for the next team of interns who get to continue our work!

The Cool Kids

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