Swivs' Safaris

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The African Experience

Swiv is proud to offer you a taste of her experiences in Africa. There are two safaris available to you. The itinerary for the first, Living and Working, is a one day safari outlined below. The second, Hiking and Canoeing, follows next week.

The School

Safari 1: Living and Working

There may be other clients on this safari, in which case you will probably share accommodation with them. Otherwise you will be living and working with people who speak either none or a small amount of your first language.

All alcohol is prohibited for this part of the safari, it is evil and you will go to hell if caught with it.

For this part of the safari all equipment will be supplied, it will include:

  • 2 nights accommodation in an unsecured house at the far end of the village, where the watchman rarely visits. Your accommodation will be without electricity or running water, (unless we are also hosting some German clients) you will be provided with a narrow, squeaky bed, a mosquito net with holes in it, and a kerosene lamp.

  • The 'library'
  • a kindergarten comprising 70 children aged 2-7 and 3 untrained teachers.

  • a disorganised school library. (the books will be piled on the floor)

  • a boss.

  • a bucket of cold water to wash in.

  • a supply of boiled water, sprinkled with charcoal, for you to drink.

  • a house girl to cook for you.


  • 0700hrs: You will get up, and attempt to wash yourself, including your hair (if any) in the bucket of cold water provided. You will find your own breakfast, it will probably consist of bread and margarine, though if you are lucky there may be chapatis left over from the previous nights dinner.

  • In The School
  • 0730hrs: You will walk approximately 1 mile to the kindergarten. On your arrival you will be mobbed by the children, and you will have to wait half an hour while the teachers try to unlock the door. You will attempt to run the kindergarten for 3 hours. The children will not speak your language, and the teachers will only be able to manage a small amount. The children will be raggedly dressed, make large amounts of noise, and hit each other with their flip flops. They will call you Mzungu... the generic term for a white person of European descent. They will also be able to sing nicely.

  • 1100hrs: After kindergarten you will walk to the school library accompanied by about a dozen children who all want to hold your hands. In the library you will find books piled on the floor in no kind of order, and a selection of badly built shelves - unstable and of varying heights. There will also be a friendly librarian who speaks your language excellently but has no experience of how to run a library. You will spend about 2 ½ hours organising the books, arranging them on shelves and cataloguing them. Most of the books will be in a state of disrepair, many will be in a foreign language (even to the country you are working in) and several will be completely out of place in a school library - for example 'Taurus: Your Stars for 1996'. While you work you will be regularly interrupted by your boss... happily married with children... coming to gaze moo-eyed at you and fish for compliments.

  • 1330hrs: You will return home for lunch. On the way you will be greeted by many people... all of which you must reply to out of politeness, and called out to by children, too poor to pay for kindergarten, asking you for sweets, money and maybe a bicycle. When you arrive home (allow half an hour for the walk, greetings take time and the temperature will be well over 30 C) you will find lunch has been prepared for you by your house girl. It will be rice and kidney beans, which you may make more palatable by adding tomato or chilly sauce.

  • The Class
  • 1430hrs: The afternoon is your free time. You can return to work in the library, go for a short walk to the local viewpoint (beware of snakes), or relax with a book. At some point you will be visited by a villager who claims to require medical treatment that they cannot afford. You must assess whether the claim is genuine, and whether or not to help the person. You must take into account that you are only being paid 70p an hour for your work, and that your actions will set a precedent. Your house girl may be of assistance in helping you make this decision.

  • 1900hrs: By now it will be dark and your only source of light will be a kerosene lantern and perhaps a torch. Your evening meal of rice and kidney beans will have been prepared by your house girl, who will then return to her ever-expanding family. There will be water to drink with your meal. If you want a soda (fizzy drink) you must buy it in the village during the afternoon. It will come in a crown topped bottle, but you will be unable to find a bottle opener. Alternative openers may include other bottles, forks, wooden chairs or your teeth.

  • 2100hrs: You will go to bed. The mosquito net will take you a while to unwind and tuck in, and you will be too hot at first.

  • 0300hrs: You will wake up to find the house crawling with biting ants. You must get up, put on whatever clothes come to hand... pulling socks up over trousers is a good way to stop ants crawling up your legs... and attempt to destroy them. You should be able to find a nearly empty can of insect killer, which you can sprinkle round the house before retreating outside. You will then spend 2 hours attempting to burn off the long columns of ants heading for your house (when they aren't trying to eat live bats). You have kerosene, lantern wick and kindling at your disposal. Please note the matches you will find in the kitchen tend not to work when you most need them, and you must not burn the house down.

  • 0500hrs: You should have driven all the ants away by now, and the ones inside the house should be dead... when swept into a pile it should measure approximately a foot square and an inch high. You must now decide whether it is worth your while going back to bed, or if you would rather wait to watch the sunrise.

If you survive this experience you will be given a gift... a shirt, or skirt and blouse, made in traditional style. Congratulations!

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