15th & 17th June, Thohoyandou & Giyani

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Saturday 15th June, one day before Father’s day and it dawned a clear wintery morning which saw James and I packing the trailer prior to heading off to the Spar in Thohoyandou for our sixth IAU/OAD astronomy outreach event for the year.  I have had the opportunity to visit the University of Venda on a number of occasions before for astronomy related outreach but this would be the first time that we would be in the busy centre of Thohoyandou.  So it was with some trepidation that we set off to one of the busiest Spar outlets in the country without Sarah’s help, but with loads of extra handout material.  We were set up and raring to go well before mid-day and it proved to be just as hectic as anticipated.  The local Spar outlet was humming with customers who kept us on our toes and there were not many opportunities to sit down and have a drink or a quick bite.  By 3pm we were starting to run out of posters even though I’d packed double the normal quota. The public at Thohoyandou did not disappoint and we hope to visit the town in the near future again.

Sunday was Fathers Day, and the weather was heavily overcast with a possibility of rain.  A call to Giyani confirmed that the weather was no better there and so, with Monday being a public holiday, we decided to postpone for the day and wait till tomorrow.

Shortly after 7am the following morning found James and I heading to the Mopane Mall in Giyani where we setup outside the entrance of the Mopane Spar.  After postponing for one day due to bad weather we were a little concerned as we’d left Louis Trichardt with clear skies but shortly after passing Elim, a scant 30 km from us it was totally overcast.  But we need not have worried, the sun soon came through and we were there until well after lunch time handing out astronomy related posters and information as well as offering the friendly folk of the town views of the Sun through the telescope.

Unfortunately the shops at both venues closed shortly after sunset so there was no evening astronomy but the longer day time outreach certainly make up for this.

A warm thank you to the management of both Spars who went out of their way to assist us.