Church, mall & S.A. border!

Hi, just a quick post for now – we’re in Pretoria and heading on to Durban very bright and early tomorrow.

After Gaberone evening concert, we had an early start and headed to the local church on Sunday, where there was a really animated and passionate service on Climate Justice. Africans sure know how to sing and praise the Lord! I have never heard such a deep-reaching, heart-wrenching sermon, or met people so friendly and welcoming as that congregation – really overwhelmed by the experience.

I had another chance to say my bit about the UK perspective, as all the countries introduced themselves. I really enjoyed the spontaneity and inclusiveness of the service – it was truly inspirational.

In the afternoon, we did a short petition drive at the (relatively quiet) local mall, got some more photo petitions, and had a chance to pick up some supplies from the shops (always more pens required, it seems!)

Yesterday, we had a long drive day, crossing the border to South Africa, which was problematic, as expected, for Prince from DR Congo, but thankfully he eventually secured his visa, by a stroke of genius from our Norwegian friends, and all the Africans made it into the hardest country to access on the continent, for which we are all very grateful!

It really feels like we are closing in on the COP now. Excitement is really rising in the camp. Today, we *almost* had the change to meet the incoming president of the UNFCCC (the S.A. Minister for Environment), but after spending the morning thoroughly preparing, she was unfortunately called away due to pressing family issues, so we missed this fantastic opportunity. Nevertheless, it had been a really good bonding session for the policy group, and really excellent preparation for all of us before the UN summit. We are becoming more and more familiar with the terms of the negotiations, and confident in our own position, message and voice that we want to send clearly on behalf of the youth of Africa to our world leaders. We also met with the South African “Climate Train” today and had some more speeches to listen to and presentations to regional officials in Gauteng province.

The evening has been busy, with many meetings, as the group will break in two again. I have managed to secure one of 3 spare places on the early YMCA trucks to Durban tomorrow morning, meaning a 5am start and a real need for sleep now! I can’t wait to finally arrive in the city of COP17 – it’s such a fantastic experience, and each stage brings me deeper into an understanding of these complex global issues, and what I can do together with networks of youth, to influence the changes that our generation needs to see.

I am off to bed now, with a full stomach after an impressive demonstration of cooking chipati over an open fire in the middle of a thunderstorm! It’s going to be a short night, but a very welcomed sleep!

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