Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Something has arrived...

Hey guess what… no laptops here in Grahamstown... but we’ve got swine flu!
(Don’t worry parents, they’re far away in quarantine out of town.) 4 students; 2 at a boarding highschool and 2 from Rhodes got it while at a sports tournament that international students attended.
Ohh.. globalisation.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

eXOcuse me?

Oh the frustration of customs and burea-crazy. The days are quickly passing by, and the 100 XO laptops are still stuck in Johannesburg customs. Even though these laptops are donations, customs has placed a monetary value on the laptops and it exceeds the ZAR20,000 limit. This is in spite of the fact that we are working with non-profits, but once again formalities and paperwork gets in the way of progress! Luckily, we have some XOs on hand; 8 in all from us team members and extras purchased, so we have been able to manage working with the children in small groups at a time.

It has worked so far because it is the primary school holidays; many children are away with family and so the afterschool is also closed. Kids have come in small groups, and we have been able to manage working with two people max on each XO. However, the holidays are coming to an end this week. We really need to get these laptops that have been stuck in customs for over a month!

Know anyone in Johannesburg customs? Help us out! :)

Aimee & Anna

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Two years ago, we arrived in Grahamstown just days after this huge event called “Fest.” Little did we know, that the small town of Grahamstown was the venue for the National Arts Festival. A 10 day celebration of every category imaginable that could fall under Art, it is the largest festival in the continent and the second largest in the world (after the Edinburgh Fest). Luckily this time around, we were able to experience all of Fest and the transformation of the town itself. July 2-11.. they flew quickly
One of the volunteers at Holy Cross, Matt, wrote in to the Festival committee and requested free tickets for the kids. All of the children have grown up in Grahamstown, but have never had the opportunity to truly experience Fest. For most, if not all, it was their first ballet, rock concert, musical and dance show they had seen on a professional level.
Yup, that’s right, we had a very tough life: taking children from Holy Cross to a variety of art shows, stuffing ourselves with street food, bargain shopping at fairs and being surrounded by people and talent from all over the country and globe.
Enjoy these shots from the week!

Simphiwe Dana (the 'new' Miriam Makeba)

Jazz talent

Street performers...

trying to 'outkick' each a sign of strength (i think!)

Statues.. pay pennies and get a treat

Ohhh.. the Egg man

Always on the prowl..

for a good bargain.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Off to the Holy Cross Monastery!

Driving up to the Holy Cross Monastery, I saw a rural side to Grahamstown that I had not fully been exposed to yet. The rolling hills that went on forever took my breath away and as we pulled up the Monastery, I immediately felt peace. The set-up was beautiful and I just felt comfortable there. The scenery was breath-taking and looked like it came from a painting. I met some of the Brothers, who were all extremely friendly and down to earth, excited for the XO program to ignite.

We met with approx. 9 of the older children and let them play with the XOs. Similar to the first day I was with the kids at St. Mary’s we had the kids go around, inside and out, taking pictures of whatever they wanted. The kids went off together exploring the land around the Monastery, taking pictures of the mountains and the various statues around the yard. The kids were excited and energetic. After, the kids picked their favourite one, were instructed how to cut and paste into word document and could write or paint whatever they wanted with the image they chose.

Our set up in one of the rooms

Thembalani and me, playing Maze