During the month of October, four young people from West Dunbartonshire will go to South Africa, with their mentors, to develop a computer laboratory and tutor pupils at St James' School in Port Elizabeth.

They are part of West Dunbartonshire Council for Voluntary Services' Mandela and Beyond project, which consists of a group of eight volunteers (four from West Dunbartonshire and four from the Borders), all aged between 16 and 25.

Iain McGuinness, 24, is an artist, film-maker and graphic designer, and a volunteer with the project.

The past seven days have been full of ups and downs.

As I mentioned last week, working on the Mandela and Beyond project has been frustrating at times, mostly due to factors not within our control. (Arguably this was even more annoying and, of course, these problems affected us badly regardless.) Thankfully, most of the major hurdles have now been cleared, and I'm pleased to announce that the PCs and the network have now been installed.

It's satisfying to now see something that looks more like a proper computer lab.

But what have I been getting up to in my time off?

Well, I've been to The Boardwalk, a barbers (one of the hubs of the African community), a casino, a choir practice evening, a club, an heritage site (thanks to Giovanni for organising that one), several taverns, the beach, two local shopping centres, and to so many different people's houses that it'd be difficult to mention each one individually (and I'm usually offered a drink or three - usually some Scotch).

Unfortunately, we received some very sad news on Wednesday, 15 October.

Peter Solomon, the husband of Rose Solomon (a teacher at St. James') was tragically killed in an early morning car accident that day.

Our Project Co-ordinator, Jethro, had been staying with the family at their home in Malabar, Port Elizabeth.

He was understandably quite shaken up to hear of the accident, as were the rest of our group.

On behalf of everyone, I'd like to extend our deepest sympathies to the Solomon family, and I know that all at the school will continue to keep them in their thoughts and prayers.

As we approach the end of our time here in Port Elizabeth, we're still hoping to see as much more of the city as possible, before we set off along the Garden Route to Cape Town next week.

In particular, we're thinking a lot about our friends and families back home.

I'm about to sit down to a delicious feast with the van Wyk family and friends (with live music from two of them).

This is a dinner party, PE-style! Log-on again next week to find out the conclusion of the project, and to continue with us on our travels further west in this beautiful and fascinating country.