Posted on the 25th August 2018

The Cape of Storms quickly terminated our plans to do a coastal clean-up along the Hoek van de Berg Nature Reserve coastline this morning. We have learnt that it is impossible to handle those yellow bags donated by Plastics SA in gale force conditions. Fortunately we were able to get hold of the volunteers who had confirmed participation, but this was not the case with the kids from the Zwelihle Recycle Swop Shop. Their eats and drinks were already prepared last night and they were on their way in the taxi.

Elaine and Helé then came up with Plan B and contacted Narina Howard to get her approval. Our identification brochures on the common garden and waterbirds of the Western Cape again came to good use as Helé and Narina took the kids for a hike around the Vermont salt pan. Conditions were dreadful, but the children again showed great enthusiasm when they were able to use the brochures to identify avocets, stilts, cormorants and the like. The biggest hit however was their excitement at taking views of the birds through binoculars or my camera – probably a first for them all.

Group across the water at Vermont salt pan




And here they come








Comparing notes between brochures and poster


Mean weather moving in








We loaded them into the three vehicles and came to our house where I gave an Ecobrick demonstration. They started tearing up plastic and stuffing 2 two litre plastic bottles once again with great enthusiasm. Narina challenged them to start building Ecobricks rather than just bringing plastics that they have gathered in the township. This group of children is Narina’s “ambassadors” that assist her on Wednesday afternoons when children of the township visit the swop shop to exchange plastic waste for basic necessities. It is hoped that this demonstration will create more enthusiasm in the children’s war against plastic pollution.

First attempt at Ecobricking


Great Ecobrick fun








The kids then enjoyed a meal sponsored by the girls and the ham and cheese rolls were consumed in no time. The investigation of the house then started. One must assume that this was their first encounter of a brick and mortar house – our African Grey was the main centre of attraction. 

Elaine supervising the meal
Ham and cheese rolls well received









The best was still to come however: Elaine produced her “Sappi Birds of South Africa” and showed them how to operate the Callfinder. They were in awe paging through the book and pressing on birds randomly – the calls of the Black-collared Barbet and Trumpeter Hornbill in particular created wild shrieks of laughter. Then it was time to hand out scarfs to them all kindly donated by Erika Oosthuizen, the social worker at our local NG Church.

Fascination with bird calls
Andy. our youngest partner with new scarf









The morning ended with the children’s normal (and brilliant) song and dance routine outside our house. Already they are great ambassadors in the fight against plastic pollution and maybe, just maybe, there are a few budding birders in there. Elaine and Helé are already chatting about what the special treat will be during next month’s clean-up. Any suggestions on how we can give these kids wider exposure to the world out there would be welcomed.

Baie, baie dankie Vytjie en Sopie.


Showing off with our new scarfs - with appreciation to Erika Oosthuizen












Little wonder that the Zwelihle Recycle Swop Shop was the beneficiary of BirdLife Overberg's Xmas in July fundraising dinner this year









MAUREEN MOULT (posted: 2018-08-29 11:48:03)
Exposing these kids to nature and all that's in it are the first steps to maybe greater things for them. Brilliant work,girls.
MARK BROWN (posted: 2018-08-27 09:46:46)
Dit is briljant! Wel gedaan! Dis mos nou hoe n mens n verskil maak!
Dr Mark Brown
Program Director
Nature’s Valley Trust
CAROL VAN HOOGSTRATEN (posted: 2018-08-26 14:47:37)
You guys are doing a wonderful job, am so grateful and impressed. Baie dankie, and keep up the good work
ELAINE ODENDAL (posted: 2018-08-26 14:19:40)
Wonderlike oggend gehad met die kinders