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Friends of Chintsa – big picture thinking

What a relief to get to the coast and some warm weather. Upon first sight of the ocean, Lettie broke out in a sing-song, “I can see, I can see, I can see the sea!” Not only did the seaside setting put us in better spirits, but the team at Friends of Chintsa had generously organised an entire itinerary of projects for us to visit.
FOC start
© 2013 Lettie Irving Wildlife Photography

Tobz jumped in the navigator’s seat (amongst Lisa’s birthday balloons) and directed us to the first stop. Phiks then took over and told us all about the vegetable garden, seedling project, and nursery on the municipal land at the top of the hill. This is not only a food security project, but also an income generating initiative. Phiks and his team are committed to an organic approach to growing things and even use fertiliser produced by the worm compost.
FOC Pix crop
© 2013 Lisa Scriven | levelle perspectives (top), © 2013 Lettie Irving Wildlife Photography (bottom)

Noxie then showed us around the Thuba Bamboo project. She is one of a team of bamboo crafters who make bird feeders, curtains, and bird houses from their local bamboo plantation (which was another job creation project in the area). The Thuba Bamboo team sell their wares at local markets and are looking into other expansion opportunities.
FOC bamboo crop
© 2013 Lisa Scriven | levelle perspectives

The Ntuthukweni Crèche was just a few metres away, providing essential early childhood development to local children. Robyn and Bantu shared their experiences and the challenges they face. Their endless energy was apparent and we struggled to keep up as we were yet again in demand as climbing frames and paparazzi (the kids loved seeing photos of themselves).
FOC creche
© 2013 Lisa Scriven | levelle perspectives

Chintsa East Primary School was a short walk down the road. We were incredibly impressed by the computer lab that benefits the learners there. An essential part of this is the bringing in volunteers to teach the learners how to use the computers; the program therefore doesn’t take up valuable time from the teachers. The school’s feeding programme, which ensures that all children aren’t trying to learn on an empty stomach, is supplied by well tended on site vegetable gardens. A recent biogas installation provides power from waste material – a truly self-sustaining formula.
FOC School crop
© 2013 Lettie Irving Wildlife Photography (top), © 2013 Lisa Scriven | levelle perspectives (bottom)

Tobz then led us to the recently completed sports field but we didn’t manage to catch any sporting action apart from the cows grazing on the lovely lawns. So… he took us to the “finale” – one of the most innovative ideas we’ve seen. The Big Green E-Machine – a mobile computer lab for schools that don’t have adequate facilities for permanent computer labs. Tobz is the proud driver of the Big Green, which is fully kitted out with solar panels to power the laptops.
FOC tobz
© 2013 Lettie Irving Wildlife Photography

Friends of Chintsa is a non-profit organisation that works in partnerships with a variety of other local organisations in the fields of education development, environment, social transformation, and sport development. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with them – thanks FOC! For more information about the activities and achievements of Friends of Chintsa, visit www.friendsofchintsa.org.

This photo blog was prepared in support of The EXPEDITION Project 2013.