Our first week here in Port Elizabeth has been amazing!

Although I went straight to my host family's house from the airport last Monday evening - without the few days to relax and the formal welcome from the school that the rest of the group had - I have to say that it really didn't take long for me to settle in here.

I'd like to thank my host family for making me feel very welcome; Hilton and Carol Ann van Wyk, their two sons, Justin and Jade, and their maid, Gladys. And I can't forget the many family friends that we've visited so far, with whom we've shared several glasses of whisky.

Scotch is really popular here!

The filming for my documentary mini-series, South Ifrica, is coming along nicely, and I can't wait for everyone to see the footage back home.

On Tuesday morning, we began the day with a meeting with key staff at St James', to detail our plans, and to explain what we needed from them.

Then, it was onto the physical work of removing the old desks from the former typing room, which were actually bolted onto the floor.

Meanwhile, Robert, Tina and I went to a meeting with the boss of Pinnacle Computers - the local computer hardware supplier that we had chosen - with our South African IT consultant, Bruce.

We let them know our requirements and started to talk about some figures.

Over the next couple of days, everything was a bit up in the air, which was very frustrating for everyone, to be honest.

However, we did manage to get a lot of the cabling done, and consulted with local handymen and electricians to provide support for us, where needed.

We had originally set a minimum target of installing 12 PCs.

With the help of an insurance company payment to the school (to replace some previously broken computers), we had hoped to increase that number.

However, the school was in disagreement, and it took some careful negotiation with its board to convince it to contribute part of this funding to the Mandela and Beyond project.

Happily, they agreed to this, and we ended up committing to buying 20 PCs, a file server and a network printer.

On Wednesday, Callum, James and Leeanne and me went back to Pinnacle Computers, and learned how to build computers from components (processor, memory, motherboard, etc.), and built all 20 PCs.

This was one of the most rewarding parts of the week, because it was a skill that none of us had previously, and yet we picked it up in a day!

This is one of the beauties of being on the project.

On Thursday evening, Leeanne and I went along to Carol Ann and Jade's choir practice at a local church, which was very bright and colourful inside. Their style of singing was also very refreshing.

Saturday was wonderful. We went on safari, and saw giraffes, lions and zebra, and got to handle lion cubs.

Afterwards, we ate at a traditional barbeque, and then some of us went on a short hike.

Today, Sunday October 12, we went to the beach to have a wee dip in the Indian Ocean.

We then went to The Boardwalk, a large entertainment and shopping complex, which is where I leave you from for this week.

But we're all in hot anticipation of further adventures during the coming week!

Until next time...