Homtini, it’s already finished! Six weeks have already passed since my arrival, but it’s seems like it was yesterday… back to two intense last weeks at the farm.
We went to Victoria Bay one Saturday with Peter, Franzeska and Solène, after enjoying one Sedgefield market. We have definitely honored this last time at the market by eating vegan brownies, cheesecakes and other deserts to die for!
Our stomachs full, we then went to Victoria Bay, located between Wilderness and George. This little cove is full of charm and a paradise for surfers and children wanting to enjoy the waves with less danger than on the wide beaches. The place may be small and the stroll quite limited, we stayed for a long time just watching the kids playing in the water and the surfers practicing.
A young bride and her husband also came with their families to take pictures along the water. They looked proud and happy that we also took pictures of them, so I really enjoyed photographing them!
On the way back, we stopped in Knysna, where there was a festival for the weekend. The named festival was actually a market with mainly food and some art and crafts stands. It looks like we don’t have all the same definition of a festival…
Back on a bike
Several weeks without a bike, I was starting to seriously miss it! Luckily, Jeremy and Margreta bought two bikes for the farm, so we were able to enjoy them a few times with Solène, and what an indescribable pleasure to ride with such amazing landscapes!
We had our first ride on a Sunday morning with Essie, who led us to the Seven Passes Road. Starting with the Homtini Pas, that begins directly from the farm: 2,5 km down and 2,5 km up, all with zigzags and very steep parts! The rest of the ride, even though less difficult, was still quite demanding for the calves. Mountain-bikes are necessary on these sand roads that keep on going up and down. Almost 27 km and 578 of height for this nice first ride!
We went cycling again twice at the end of the day with Solène. We will especially remember of our last ride to Phantom Pas (in the direction of Knysna). We had a wonderful spectacle during all the way, with a colorful sunset and a splendid light on the mountains in the background.
One thing is certain, I will need to go cycling as much as possible during the rest of this trip!
The Future You project
We have received again the girls of the project Future You during our last weekend at the farm. The group was composed half of the girls that already came three weeks ago, half of new ones. This time, three specialists came from the hospice to animate the workshops.
They raised subjects such a the periods, contraception, pregnancy, sexuality… and more than simply explaining or showing how to use a condom, they let the girls to it themselves, which is probably the best way to do raise this topic without any taboo and to reduce the fears and embarrassments when it comes to it.
Our role with Solène was less obvious than last time, especially as they talked in Afrikaans and had to translate so that we could understand. The experience was still enriching for us. Especially to notice that these topics are still not raised enough among the families – many young girls had no explanation from their mother about periods for example – and how such initiatives still need to be developed.
The end of the volunteering
The last days at Homtini were full of work and emotions.
Of work because we didn’t know where to store the blueberries with such an abundant harvest!
Besides picking and packing (and then looking for space in the fridges!), we also made a lot of successful cooking tests: coulis, jams, tarts, sorbets, muffins… when you know the price of the blueberries in France, it feels crazy to have had the occasion to cook and eat so many blueberries every day!
Of emotions because one of the employees attempted suicide before we left. On the top of that, many other troubles were added, which consequently changed the atmosphere at the farm. We did our best with Solène to be available, helping and reactive in these special conditions.
This drama did of course tarnish the end of our stay, but this experience is just like this country. I wanted to discover and understand more deeply the South African culture and society, and the goal is absolutely reached thanks to this volunteering. I couldn’t have a 100% positive conclusion and claim that everything was perfect, even if this place is a little piece of heaven.
Yet, that is how South Africa is: a country that one can simply see with a touristic eye and where one can be amazed by the spectacular landscapes, the rich fauna and flora, the quality of the food. But a country where inequalities are still too much there, but also the daily criminality, poverty, alcoholism, drug, school dropout… a reality that is way too important.
This stay at Homtini gave me some keys to understand this complex-history country but also opened my eyes on my passions and wishes for the future. It is still unclear at this stage, but it is reassuring to see that only one month here was enough to realize how I love working outside, but also cooking, focusing on the people’s health, discovering and exchanging on the food properties… to be continued now!
This human experience was also the occasion the meet lovely people, starting with Jeremy and Margreta, who opened their doors with such an incredible generosity and with who our daily-life was so enthralling. But also with Solène, with who I spend most of my time here, and the other volunteers, the Esthers, and Peter and Franzeska. And members of the staff, who slowly became more appealing with us…
Next stop in Cape Town!