TTS22 Group photo

Monday, August 26, 2013

(mini) Update from Abroad

Hello TTS22 fans~

I had my first check-in with Brenna over the weekend and things sound great.  Everyone is adjusting to the new time zone and living in a group out of duffel bags in tents and experiencing new foods.  Lots of changes all happening at once!  The group is in the South Africa Standard Time Zone, which is 6 hours ahead of the East Coast Time Zone and 9 hours ahead of the Pacific Time Zone.  So, while I am finishing up my lunch at 1:15 pm Mountain Time, TTS22 is winding down for the evening (either telling stories or finishing study hall) at 9:15 pm.  I will check in weekly with Brenna to touch base about academics, group dynamics, health, activities and much more.  By doing this, I can help keep you all up to date about the happenings overseas.  Here’s a little update on the group so far: 

TTS22 is experiencing one of South Africa’s lesser known seasons – the rainy and chilly spring in the mountains.  However, the group is bonding with orientation activities and introductions while drinking rooibos tea in their cozy conference room.  On Saturday, when the sun finally peaked through the clouds for the first time, Brenna paused the i-Life class to go out and dance under the African sun.

The girls are getting used to sleeping in tents and waking up to misty, cloud draped mornings.  They are discovering monkey broilers, a common way to heat shower water throughout Africa.  Pot belly stoves are hidden behind the bathroom building and every morning one of the camp workers comes to light a fire in the stove to heat barrels of water for the showers.  Of course, once the fire goes out, the showers go cold.  So speed is key in a group of 21!  Luckily, the fires are periodically stoked and often re-started in the evenings.

On Sunday night the girls enjoyed a fire under a cloudy sky with some of the guides from Magoebskloof.  Julie, a zip line guide, was going to teach everyone some Afrikaans and Xhosa phrases.  And Monday was the first full day of school!  PE class started at 6:30 am followed by breakfast and seven class periods.  As you read this the girls are probably tucked into their tents and dreaming about their youth challenge course on Tuesday.  This challenge involves working as teams to climb over 8 feet tall wooden fences, balance & walk over a see-saw log and slither through tunnels.

I am headed to South Africa on Monday to join the group and take tons of pictures.  Until then, here’s a glance at what Magoebskloof looks like and activities your girls will be enjoying.  These pictures are from TTS18.

 The common area deck - where meals  and socializing happen
 Class time over looking the hills
 Youth adventure challenge
Morning P.E

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