Blog from South Africa No. 3 – Thomas Anders

Hello again! This is the 3rd blog I’ve done and already we’ve just passed the halfway stage. It’s been an unusual two weeks for us, the weather has turned Irish – lashing rain!  That unfortunately has meant cancelled matches and little outdoor training. A lot of gym work and games of squash has filled some time, as cricket took a back seat.

The four of us have also been reflecting on the month we’ve had here already and look on it as a success. We’re enjoying ourselves so much. We’ve met a lot of new people and found 95% to our liking! School is getting better every day as we get to know our teachers and fellow classmates. I’ve even taken up Ballroom & Latin dancing and am very much finding it suits me! In the photo below, the boy on the left is the deputy head boy Darren Wates. He is a good friend of ours and the first team captain (Rugby and Cricket), he’s been very generous to us so far and helped us to fit in.

Unfortunately last week’s match against Graemestown was called off due to rain but the week proceeding it has been fantastic. A thorough set of training sessions in the gym and on the square on the first four days had already made the week brilliant (not to mention going to see ‘Underworld: Awakening’ on Thursday). The best days though were Friday and Saturday. We all took part in Sports day on Friday morning (after I had received a generous Happy Birthday for the following day from the breakfast tables and had to make my first birthday speech! – a tradition here apparently!!). I won a 3rdplace medal (800m) with 4th in discus and in long jump, Jack took 4th in the high jump and the other two competed well in every event. I then happened to walk past a small crowd singing the school song passionately and joined in. Within five minutes there were 80 people singing songs of pride and culture on the hill looking down on the sports field! I had a fantastic time and now have a few Afrikaans songs stuck in my head.

After a relaxing afternoon we got ready for the Valentines Dance to which we all had dates! By 11 that night I had enjoyed one of the best nights I’ve had on a dance floor (and discovered muscles I didn’t know I had!) with a whole host of people I didn’t even know! We all had a good time but the 4 hours dancing had made us tired and so we bade farewell and retired to bed to prepare for our game the next day.

We had to get up the next day at 6:30am for our match (I was playing for the seconds for some batting practice before a big game next week) and it was only half an hour after waking that Jack reminded me it was my 16th birthday! After an hour’s scenic journey through the picturesque Eastern Cape we arrived at Westering College and got ready to bowl first. I was very happy an hour or two later with my birthday gift of a six-for! Jack also got a wicket and Benn a run-out as we bowled them out for 98. I batted at 3 but was not even needed as Jack finished up on 51 not out. We won by ten wickets and were in good spirits for the rest of the day. A lovely evening was had with a meal and few laughs later on and I was happy with my sweet sixteenth!

Yes it’s just gone halfway and we’re all satisfied but not ready to go home just yet as we all have some work to still get done.

Looking forward to blogging again,

Thomas Anders