It’s Weekend Baby!

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Indulge me for a moment as in all honesty, it is Friday and my brain is shouting “It is Weekend Baby” and here I am trying to put together a post.  Tempting this stringing-of-words-to-form-sentences stuff on a Friday morning is something which needs major mojo. Clearly I do not have it.

Imagine what creative posts I would write if I was sitting on the beachfront, Marguerita in front of me, stunning view of Table Bay with the mountain photo-bombing every photograph I take?  My grey matter seems to turn to sludge at about 3.30pm and though I have missive after missive of rough drafts, they were good at the time of writing and now appear to be somewhat “eh”.  That, and the timing is not yet right.

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Anyhoo, here are 10 fun facts you may or may not know about Cape Town:

  1. Named after the classic comedy about a Jamaican bobsled team, Cool Runnings (http://www.cool-runnings.co.za/) just 20 minutes from the city centre is the only place on the African continent where you can find a tobogganing track.
  2. You can get married on Table Mountain and, in fact, on average two couples get married on top of the mountain every month! And, you can spend the night on Table Mountain in a lovely cozy cottage.
  3. “The Cape of Good Hope” was originally called the “Cape of Storms” by Bartholomeu Dias after he had to endure terrible storms on his way to the East coast of the Cape. He only changed it to the name we are familiar with now to appease the then king of Portugal.
  4. Although the youngest language in the world, Afrikaans is the most widely spoken home language in the Western Cape – about 40% of the population speaks it. Rest of the population’s home language is either English or Xhosa.
  5. Cape Town has the highest number of homes valued at more than R20 million in South Africa! The most sought after property is in Camps Bay, where there are 155 homes valued at over R20 million.
  6. Adderley Street’s road was originally made out of wooden tiles before being tarred over, in fact, you can see the wooden blocks for yourself at the Cultural History Museum in Cape Town.
  7. There’s a river that flows through Cape Town. It’s called the Fresh River and it comes off the slopes of Table Mountain, through the Company Gardens, and then travels underneath Adderley Street to the Waagenaar reservoir underneath Golden Acre.
  8. The oldest living tradition is Cape Town, the Noon Day Gun is fired at exactly 12 pm every day (except on Sundays) at Lion Battery on Signal Hill. The two Noon Guns are also the oldest cannons still in daily use.
  9. On 11 February 1990 on the balcony of Cape Town’s City Hall, Nelson Mandela made his first public speech since being released from prison.
  10. Cape Town celebrates Tweede Nuwe Jaar (Second New Year) with a parade and dancing Kaapse Klopse minstrels. This tradition originates almost 200 years ago when Cape Malay slaves celebrated the New Year on the only leave day they were allowed, 02 January.

Clearly, Cape Town has many surprises for the traveller, the adverturer, the explorer.  Are you one of those who would love to explore every nook and cranny of this beautiful City?

Till next time, peeps, have a wonderfully awesome weekend.

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The Who, The Why and The How

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The grey matter certainly was not doing its job when I decided that enough time had gone by and the blogging had to begin, come hell or high water.  Preferably neither hell or high water as I am the sun and calm water type of gal.

So I said to myself “Self, you need to start at the beginning and let is flow”.

Before I get carried away and you think I am rude, let me introduce myself.  My name is Michelle and I started out as the Social Media Manager for AVIVA Volunteers.  I am the new kid on the block and really enjoyed my fancy title and the chance to interact with the volunteers and check out the projects and do the odd tour and excursion with the Volunteer. We have a great team – some on the forefront and some in the background whom you may get to meet or may not, but everyone is 100% utterly and totally dedicated to making your volunteering experience, one to remember.  And don’t take my word for it, you just need to listen or read up on our testimonials which are heart-felt comments of the experiences of volunteers who have come and gone and come back again.  (Just saying, the gun we held to their head was not loaded at the time of their giving us their testimonials.  Just needed to make that clear).

AVIVA started operating in 2001 and became fully operational in 2002.  We have a very well run, beautifully furnished Volunteer House in Table View, Cape Town which is totally dedicated to the Volunteers. This is the responsibility of Megan our wonderful Volunteer Coordinator (more about her later) who mothers everyone all the time. In fact, when Volunteers return to South Africa for a holiday, they always contact us to find out if we have room for them.  They like it and Megan, THAT much.

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It is difficult when you are sitting on the other side of the globe Googling or Yahooing or Facebooking to find an organisation whom you can trust.  There are so many out there.  Much more than when we first started out way back when.  When we started we were one of the first in South Africa and then voluntourism became a huge hit and soon others followed suit and wham bam, you now have a choice so vast that it makes your head spin.  Fear not.  We are legit.  Here are some facts about AVIVA we cannot hide from and which gives you an indication, if not a guarantee, that we will not take your money and head off on some safari, only to leave you stranded at the airport.  That is not us.  That is not the AVIVA way.

  • We are an official member of Cape Town Tourism and have been since 2003.
  • We are registered with the South African Tourism organisation.
  • AVIVA is a full member of SAYTC (South African Youth Travel Confederation).
  • We are registered as a Gold Corporate member of the Volunteer Centre which is affiliated to the International Association of Volunteer Effort (IAVE) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV).

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Those accreditations alone, should give you a warm fuzzy feeling but, if not, you can be rest assured of the following:

  • What we say on our website is true.
  • The testimonials on our You Tube channel are genuine.
  • When you book you are able to connect with past and present volunteers and talk to them directly about their volunteering experience or to make friends with them before you arrive at the Volunteer House.
  • Your safety is our No. 1 priority.
  • Your enjoyment and the enjoyment of your project and of our country is tied in first place with your safety.
  • We provide you with in-country support and look after you from the time you arrive until you leave.

That is AVIVA Volunteers in a nutshell.  Volunteering in South Africa with AVIVA is the one option when you are wanting to experience a holiday, another country and volunteering with peace of mind.

Hello world!

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If you were able to see me now, I would not blame you for thinking I was acting like a kid on Christmas morning.  When joining a couple of months ago, I was told one of my job functions would be blogging.  And how I love to blog when I have the time and now to do it as part of my job, well, I was in 7th heaven.

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Then there was a delay.  And the delay was delayed and then that was delayed.  So I decided that I would start an interim blog to get the brain matter working creatively.

Then I had a brain freeze (which I put down to the temperature in the office being at 18 celsius and I was cold).  That is my story and I am sticking to it.