Days 5 to 8 — From the office to the communities
Hi everyone! What an experience it’s being! A week is already gone and things are becoming as real as it gets, but let’s start from the beginning:
This was the first time we were out to meet our clients in a meeting scheduled at the Ivanplats offices in Mopokane (this is my client and where we’ve being working). It was a 45 minutes drive from Polokwane with some very nice views along the way.
That was the first day we actually started to work. We were driven to the office and the reception by everyone was great, we’re feeling home! We’ve heard a lot from Ivanplats team on what they’re doing for the communities and are still to come.
After a very long and productive day, it was time to have a beer and relax a bit, so I chose the Stellenbrau Lager. A very very crisp and hoppy lager, that goes down very lightly, definitely a must so far!
Day 7 — Going to meet the community
This was one of the most emotional days in my life so far. We left the office and went to a 3 hour drive-by the community that turned into a almost 6 hour meet and greet (and get to know) some of the community members.
We started going to the Thobella Center for Mentally Impaired kids, and it was an awesome experience, but also a call to a reality that isn;t in my day-to-day. We arrived at the center and saw that it was recently renovated, but Tereza, one of the founders, explained to us that she and other 3 ladies started the center 13 yrs ago inside 2 shacks. She had the idea for the center as she has a special brother and she used to take care of him, and carry him in her back, because she was afraid that he would get bullied and abused (and yes, she said that is a common thing there, as people don;t know how to deal with special people).
The center had that day around 20 people, they take care of 42 normally that range from 7 yrs to 42 yrs old.
When we entered the room it was lit up by the smiles in their faces for seeing different people visiting. I entered the room last, and 15 seconds after entering one of the kids came in and hugged my legs and took me by hand to show me around, that was amazing! After we spent some time with the ladies to talk and understand their difficulties, and asked for some pictures, and that was a hoot! All the people wanted to be in the photos, they were posing and squeezing to be in the selfies!!
Later on we went to a Day care that is managed by 12 very dedicated ladies that took their time to talk to us about what would be important for woman and kids in a Community center. It was a vey lively 45–60min chat where several ideas emerged and we got to know the work the ladies do.
The last stop was at a hill where we could check the mining activity from up top, in the Anglo Platinum mine. It’s a huge operation that is really generating a lot of work for the community, but is destroying a good chink of the environment (as you can see below)
On the 8th day we went to meet the tribal chief, or traditional leader as they call him. Stop right now with your (and mine as well) stereotypes! The guy was wearing a polo shirt, with jeans and a leather jacket, seating in from of a computer, yeah, what a character for a “tribal” leader.
His speech started as, ‘look, I’m the boss, so you don;t go around without my permission”, but than he was like, ‘ok, good, you can ask the counsels’.
Than we met with the Kgobudi counsel, were we were able to ask a ton of question and make sure we covered all.
These were extremely nice days, and I hope it can keep up like this!