Tag Archives: Limpopo Province

2nd Covid-19 emergency food parcel distribution in the Waterberg

Since the rural population of the Waterberg in the Limpopo Province of South Africa relies heavily on tourism, many people have been suffering from lack of income during Lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The Waterberg Trust has launched a Covid-19 Emergency Appeal to raise funds to provide those in extremis with basic food so they can feed their dependents.

TWT has partnered with the Church of St John the Baptist who have been raising funds locally and providing volunteers to deliver nutritious food parcels consisting of 10 Kg Mealie meal – the staple carbohydrate, 2 Kg sugar, tins of fish in tomato sauce, tins of baked beans, 2 litres cooking oil, 7 Kg potatoes, 1 Kg packet of powdered milk, 250g teabags and packets of Koro Krunch. The plan was to include 2kgs of flour, but it was out of stock, so a bottle of mayonnaise was added instead.

In May 2020, we were able to feed 167 adults and children, as reported here.

In June 2020, we have been able to do the same again but, with winter pressing in, we need more funds to keep going. No one in the area has contracted Covid-19 but food security is an issue and the recipients and deeply grateful:

“Can’t thank you enough for what you have done.” Karabo

“Thank you for the food parcel.” Priscilla

“Thank you for always remembering me at this difficult time.” Lizzy

 

Nurse Grace who is managing the project reports:

  ACTS OF MERCY REPORT FOR JUNE 2020

DAILY TASKS:

Follow-up home visits were conducted to those who received food parcels to check if there is any income or job opportunities for them. Some had returned to work and some were doing business, whilst some are still struggling to get income and support their families.

New families have been identified and added to the beneficiary list. Social development also provided a list for those in urgent need of food parcels. School children in certain grades are back to school and are able to have food from the feeding scheme program, and those at home at home continued to study through television and radio broadcasting lessons.

Distribution of clothes donated locally

CHALLENGES:

  • Many families are still struggling to feed their families due to low income
  • Jobs may be lost and lead to increased unemployment
  • Alcohol and drug abuse has risen, leading to gender based violence
  • Increase in teenage pregnancy and school dropouts during lockdown
  • Everyone in the community wants to receive free food parcels even though they don’t qualify.
  • Some people still walk around without wearing masks

SUCCESS STORIES:

Some small businesses were allowed to reopen, generating income to support their families, others found new jobs and surrounding Schools reopened after meeting the required standards to ensure learners and staff are protected from contracting the Corvid-19 virus.

School children are able to have a meal at school and be able to study longer to catch up on their studies.

Food parcels were distributed to the vulnerable families including foreign nationals.

 

Nurse Grace on a home visit

STATISTICS:

TOTAL NUMBER OF HOMES VISITED 75

OF WHICH 40 WERE FOLLOW-UP AND 35 ARE NEW BENEFICIARIES

Food parcels – 34 distributed: 20 identified by social development and 14 assessed during home visits

Clothes donation – 20 people (children & adults)

Counselling – 15 (adherence to chronic treatment, gender- based violence, basic hygiene measures at home, alcohol withdrawal syndrome and coping techniques due to job insecurity and no income)

Teenage pregnancy – 12 teen moms from different schools both primary and secondary

Referrals – 28 (application for birth certificates, ID documents and social relief grants)

FUTURE PLANS:

To continue working with the Social Development Services as they have a database for those who are in urgent need of food parcels and social matters, other stakeholders such as churches and organizations.

Education and support to the community about Corvid 19 virus prevention and regular hygiene measures and importance of wearing masks will continue in the local language.

Food distribution to be conducted during mid-month unless there’s an emergency referral then it can be attended to immediately.

If you could help by making a donation please click here for TWT’s Justgiving page

If you would rather send a cheque, please chick here

Any support with make a real difference and help transform lives.

 

Lockdown report from Nurse Grace in the Waterberg

Nurse Grace helping lady in Leseding

-Nurse Grace conducting a home visit in the township of Leseding-

DAILY TASKS:

During this Corvid-19 pandemic lockdown I dedicated my work in the community to educating families and school children about the Corvid 19 virus signs and symptoms as well as basic hygiene measures to ensure they understand ways of transmission and how they can prevent community infection. It was during that time that I also made home assessments and identified those families that needed support with food, clothes and proper shelter.

The Waterberg Trust Food Parcel distribution during Lockdown

-Food parcel distribution to the unemployed during Lockdown-

School children were encouraged to study at home. I also helped those in Matric, through a WhatsApp group, to share ideas and questions for specific subjects. Others were encouraged to access learning through direct teaching from television and radio broadcasting programs at scheduled times. Counselling support service was provided to those facing serious issues and referrals were made when needed for further management.

CHALLENGES:

  • Lack of food in many families due to no income.
  • Family disputes leading to physical injury i.e. fighting and verbal abuse
  • Increase in gender based violence
  • Loss of jobs and insecurity
  • Suicidal attempts in some learners due to emotional stress and poor family support
  • Increase in alcohol & substance abuse in some learners as they are not going to school
  • Increase in crime rates like house breaking, shops and schools
  • Undocumented foreign nationals who have no job nor proper income

Nurse Grace helping a homeless man in Vaalwater May 2020

-Nurse Grace helping the homeless in Vaalwater-

SUCCESS STORIES:

Through the kind donation of funds from The Waterberg Trust, Church of St John the Baptist at 24 Rivers, individual donors and fellow Christians who donated clothes, many people were blessed with food parcels, clothing, bedding and shelter. The criteria for food donation was: vulnerable families, school children and foreign nationals who could not afford to buy food. Thorough assessments, through home visits, were completed and a list drawn of beneficiaries.  Some were referred by the Social Development and Lethabo Kids Club.

Nurse Grace with food parcels purchased in suppermarket

-Sorting TWT food parcels before distribution-

FUTURE PLANS:

To continue reaching out to the vulnerable community and those in urgent need for support.

The next food parcel distribution will be the second week of June to avoid month-end overcrowding when people are busy getting their social grants and buying goods. During mid-month is when most families run out of food supplies.  We will work with Department of Social Development who will help to distribute the food parcels. Those food parcels which are supplied by St John’s and TWT will be clearly marked and carries a personal note for the recipient.

We will continue to liaise with stake holders to avoid duplication of food distribution in the community i.e. Social Development Services staff, religious groups and other institutions which are involved in helping the community.

Nurse Grace with donations of clothes, bedding May 2020

-Sorting donations of clothes and a bed-

STATISTICS:

Total number of people visited and assessed 150 during Lockdown

Food parcels – 75 (TWT funded 40 – St John’s Church and local individuals funded 35)

Clothing parcels – 30

Providing shelter – 2

Counselling – 10 (Gender Based Violence, Sexual abuse, suicide attempts & fighting)

Referrals – 13 (Application for birth & ID certificates, Social grants and food parcel application)

Treatment support – 20 learners reached and assisted to collect medication from clinic and needed adherence counselling.

The above duty commitment was made possible because of the support received from donors, fellow Christians and individuals.

May God greatly bless you for supporting our community during this challenging time.

Nurse Grace and reciepient in Leseding May 2020

ACKNNOWLEDGEMENT MESSAGES FROM SOME OF THE BENEFICIARIES THAT RECEIVED FOOD PARCELS:

  • ‘On behalf of my family I would like to say thanks to St John’s and The Waterberg Trust, the donors and supporters. May the almighty Lord bless them, thanks –’ Emmy Banda
  • ‘Thank you very much you are really God sent’ – Lisa Mofokeng
  • ‘Thank you for the food parcel we appreciate your help Sister Grace’ – Dikeledi Mokoena
  • ‘God knows your heart’ – Julia Ntomane
  • ‘I don’t know what to say but only God will bless you more’ – Maria Nel

Report compiled by: Grace Ismail. Note: The people who appeared on the photos gave consent and agreed that their pictures can be used and shared with sponsors.

Thanks to kind donors in the UK, The Waterberg Trust has been able to send enough funds for a second allocation of food parcels but we winter has set in and we don’t know how long the emergency will last. Schools have gone back but tourism, which is the main source of employment in the district, remains shut down.

To see more photos of the food parcel distribution, please click here.

If you would like to make a donation to TWT’s Covid-19 Appeal, please click here for TWT’s Just giving page (please leave a brief message) or here for the address to which cheques can be sent.

 

 

Food parcels for vulnerable families in the Waterberg

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-Nurse Grace preparing food parcels for the needy in the Waterberg-

Thanks to over fifty individuals in the UK who made personal donations to The Waterberg Trust’s Corvid-19 emergency appeal, food parcels have been distributed to people in need in the Vaalwater community.

The original idea was to support those who lost their jobs due to Lockdown, which virtually closed the tourism in South Africa overnight. In practice, Nurse Grace drew up a list of about 40 families / persons in need.

A local supermarket, which has very good prices, packed the food into bundles. Volunteers from St John’s Church supervised distribution directly from the shop to the grantees, who collected their food parcels to avoid transport costs. The volunteers checked the contents of each food parcel and recorded receipts from the correct grantee. Each package contained a message of encouragement in the local language.

All funds are carefully monitored by TWT’s local partner, St John’s Church.

Thanks to careful planning and the support of Choppies Supermarket, each food parcel contained a decent amount of nutritious groceries for the equivalent of about £27.

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10 Kg Mealie meal – the staple carbohydrate

2 Kg Rice

2 Kg Sugar

4 Tins of fish in tomato sauce

4 Tins of baked beans

2 litres Cooking oil

500g Salt

3 packets of soup (used as a sauce with mealie meal)

7 Kg potatoes

1 Kg packet of powdered milk

250g teabags

1 bottle dish washing liquid

The plan was to include 2kgs of flour, but it was out of stock, so nurse Grace added a bottle of mayonnaise instead.

-Some of the many people who received food parcels in May 2020-

Very many thanks to all our donors!

If you are able to make another donation please click here for TWT’s Justgiving page where donations show up if you leave a message. We can take CAF cheques and normal cheques. The address can be found here.

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Thanks also to Nurse Grace and the volunteers from St John’s Church at 24 Rivers – it was heavy work!

Nurse Grace has also able to help a pregnant lady who had been evicted from her home and organize a kind donation of a bed and equipment needed for the baby.

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Covid-19 Appeal

Covid 19 Appeal for Waterberg Families 2

EIMS’ gift of advice & resources for Mokolo Primary School’s vegetable garden

~Mr Thipe with nurse Grace Ismail at Mokolo Primary School’s vegetable garden~

The Environment Club, run by nurse Grace of TWT, have been busy establishing a vegetable garden at Mokolo Primary School in Leseding Township in the heart of the Waterberg . A great deal of effort has been put into cultivation but the project lacked resources.

~Tomato seedlings at Mokolo Primary School vegetable garden in need of shade netting~

The Waterberg has been experiencing a heatwave this Spring and without shade netting it is difficult to get plants established.

~Mr Thipe of Mokolo Primary School with Andrew Smith and his team from EIMS ~

On Friday 25th October, Andrew Smith returned to Vaalwater with the team from Environmental Impact Management Services to offer advice on optimising irrigation.

~Mr Thrip of Mokolo Primary School receiving advice from Andrew Smith of EIMS~

EIMS brought with them a trailer-load of supplies carefully selected to fullfill the needs of a school vegetable garden, help it succeed and provide nutritious food for pupils.

Members of the Environment Club and other pupils helped unload 20 x 20kg bags or organic fertilizer, along with spinach, green pepper, beetroot and tomato plants.

EIMS also donated garden tools, compost, shade netting, fencing material, fence posts and seeds to be planted in their school veggie garden.

Very many thanks to Environmental Impact Management Services for this amazing gift!

Do get in touch if you would like to help uplift the people and place of the Waterberg. It is quick and easy to make a donation here, specifying how you would like to help.

The Environment Club

Nurse Grace Ismail and life skills teacher Ivy Rachele have  formed an Environment Club made up of 45 pupils who have been involved in establishing a school vegetable garden.  Since tilling the soil, thirty children from Meetsetshehla Secondary School and fifteen who attend Leseding High School have been going on amazing visits to local game reserves to observe wild animals in their natural habitat.

~School Nurse Grace Ismail with members of the Environment Club leaving Vaalwater for a day-visit to Marakele National Park~ 

South African National Parks have started a ‘Kids in Parks’ initiative aimed at primary schools. Nurse Grace says, they “teach children about wildlife, nature conservation and cultural heritage so that when they reach high school they will be able to understand the importance of protecting animals and preserving the environment.” Special activities make young people aware of water conservation, so critical in South Africa.

16th June 2019 was Youth Day. Some members of the Environment Club were invited to talk on Waterberg Waves community radio to educate listeners about environmental issues.  Elvis Chitanda, aged 11, who attends Vaalwater Primary School, had the opportunity to speak on air, saying, “I really hope people don’t poach animals.”

Samuel Motswi from the People and Conservation Department of Marekele National Park  in the Waterberg, delivered a number of indigenous trees that could be planted by children in school grounds.

Pupils learnt how to plant saplings, which included marula, red bushwillow, weeping boerbean and knob thorn.

~Planting indigenous trees in the grounds of Mokolo and Mahlasedi Primary Schools, Meesetshehla and Leseding secondary Schools and two creches in Vaalwater ~

The Environment Club has also partnered with Morji Kitsi, who visits schools and takes groups to Welgevonden Game Reserve and the Living Museum, which is also supported by The Waterberg Trust.

TWT pupils going to Welgrovenden

They learn about eco-systems while driving through the bush, viewing game.

The Waterberg Biosphere recently sponsored members of the club to attend a one day course at Lapalala Wilderness School when they were able to handle a python.

~Members of the Environment Club on a day visit to Lapalala Wilderness School~

Club members and other students are engaged in collecting litter and talking to people about waste, encouraging them to recycle.

The Environment Club talking to people about recycling

It is a great project for the youth and has been successful in Vaalwater where there is an agent in town who receives the materials and sends them on in bulk.

It works particularly well as people need the money earned from recycling tins, paper and glass, which would otherwise languish in the bush.

Members communicate via a Whatsapp group, giving dates for meetings or environmental activities.

Nurse Grace also gives students the opportunity to meet those engaged in traditional crafts such as making brooms out of grass cut from roadside verges.

Meanwhile the school vegetable garden sponsored by EIMS is producing a fine harvest of nutritious greens, including spinach, French beans and beetroot.

To read more about the gift of a school vegetable garden please click here.

Sales of produce are being saved to buy more seedlings. Some of the vegetables have been used by students studying hotel and catering management at Meetsetshehla School.

If you would like to help with the Environment Club please contact TWT

donate_white Justgiving button

TWT sponsors another residential course at Lapalala Wilderness School

This year, The Waterberg Trust enabled 59 students and two teachers from Meetsetshehla Secondary School in Vaalwater to attend a week’s residential course at Lapalala Wilderness School in the Limpopo Province of South Africa about 3 hours due north of Pretoria.

The group travelled north into the Africa bush on a bus also funded by TWT so that no one was excluded by the cost of transport.

Since other pupils from Meetsetshehla had been on the environmental course on previous years, everyone was expectant, eager to grasp the opportunity to learn about ecology and nature conservation.

After a course on snakes and the value of all creatures in balanced eco-systems there was a module on plastic pollution and re-cycling.  Everyone learned how they can make a difference and improve the environment, allowing wildlife to thrive.

Students donned life-jackets to examine aquatic organisms and try swimming in the Palala River, which runs in front of the eco-school.

This was a new experience for most and proved an opportunity to learn about physics.

Teamwork proved essential when constructing a raft and negotiating the river.

Leadership training has always been recognised as an important life-skill at Lapalala Wilderness. It will be interesting to see if any of these young people take up a career in wildlife conservation or management of natural resources.

Learners were set a number of different challenges during the course of the week.

There were a range of outdoor activities that tested pupils in a variety of ways.

The obstacle course in the African bush was enjoyed by one and all

including the teachers accompanying the teenagers who found themselves wearing many hats.

It proved an unforgettable, life-changing experience. To read more about previous visits to Laplala Wilderness School, funded by TWT and watch a short film, please click here.

If you would like to sponsor children of the Waterberg to go on a 5 day residential course at Lapalala Wilderness, please contact us using the comments blow or find details here.

EIMS sponsor Dignity Dreams sanitary pads for school pupils

School Nurse Grace Ismail of the Northern Education Trust, whose salary is provided by The Waterberg Trust, reported that pupils in the Waterberg were struggling to find the money to buy sanitary towels. In 2018, The Waterberg Trust were able to donate a number of disposable pads but a permanent solution needed to be found. Some girls were missing more than five days of lessons a month and their academic results were being effected.

Verita Shikwambana, Andrew Smith, Sophie Neville, Ivy Rachele and School Nurse Grace Ismail at Meetsetshehla Secondary School in Vaalwater

On Thursday 24th January, Andrew Smith of EMIS (Environmental Impact Management Services) in Johannesburg kindly drove Verita Shikwambana from the NGO Dignity Dreams up to Meetsetshehla Secondary School in Vaalwater to meet Life Orientation teacher Ivy Rachele and School Nurse Grace Ismail.

Verita Shikwambana of  the not-for profit organisation Dignity Dreams

After being a short meeting with the Headmaster,  Verita Shikwambana of Dignity Dreams gave a talk on menstrual health to about ninety schoolgirls before introducing the concept of eco-friendly, washable sanitary pads.

Packs of 3 day time pads, 3 night time pads, a zip-lock bag and cotton carrier bag

Dignity Dreams manufacture multi-use pads that are designed to be washed in cold water with Sunlight soap, rinsed in salt water and dried in the sun. The packs of six are carefully made by hand and last four or five years. Lessons need no longer be missed. Girls gain in confidence and are free to achieve their potential in life.

Artist Susie Airy, who has raised funds for TWT by selling her paintings, helped to distribute one pack to each learner. ‘I wish my daughters could have heard such an interesting talk when they were at school,’ she said later. ‘It was wonderful to take part in this project.’

Nurse Grace, TWT Trustee Sophie Neville and pupils with the packs of Dignity Dreams

The girls were amazed to hear that the packs were theirs to keep and for them alone. Four weeks after this talk, Nurse Grace reported:

“I have received positive results from 75 girls who said the pads are working well without any problems…. many girls at Meetshetshela are no longer absent because of menstrual issues. Girls are also reading the book which Dignity Dreams left, entitled MY BODY #Noshame which talks about puberty, pre-menstrual syndrome, hygiene, period pain and exercises to relieve cramps during menstruation. The remaining learners from grade 10 to 12 will need 180 packs.”

Nurse Grace wants to see if the pads can be made locally. Dignity Dreams provide lessons for those keen to sew at home as a small business initiative and encourage tailors to sell to adults.

Very many thanks to Andrew Smith of Environmental Impact Management Services who sponsored 96 packs and drove the consignment up from Pretoria, along with the speaker. The Waterberg Trust was able to match his donation to provide a total of 210 packs so all the girls in Grades 8 and 9 could be equipped. The other state secondary school in the Waterberg also has girls who are also in need of sanitary pads and of course new girls arrive every year. Horizon Horseback Safaris have kindly given a donation of disposable pads to help keep the girls supplied in the short-term.

It costs approximately £10 to give one pack of six sanitary pads to a schoolgirl in the Waterberg and yet it can have life-changing consequences. If you would like to give one pack , or perhaps one pack a month, please click here for details on how to make a donatation.

We noticed that Nurse Grace needs a hospital screen on wheels, so that she can conduct examinations in private. She also needs a new office chair or these old ones to be repaired. Is there anyone in Vaalwater who could help?

 

The gift of a vegetable garden

The environmental consulting company Environmental Impact Management Services (EIMS), based in Gauteng, has made the astonishing gift of a vegetable garden to aid Nurse Grace in her work teaching life orientation skills at Meetsetshehla Secondary School at Vaalwater in the Waterberg.

Andrew Smith and his team of twenty environmental scientists wanted to contribute to the work of The Waterberg Trust by making a gift of their know-how before spending a weekend in the African bush.

We never guessed that they would arrive with 33 bags of compost.

The staff and pupils gratefully accepted trays of lettuce, spinach, beetroot and onion seedlings as well as a variety of much-needed seeds. ‘I was speechless,’ Nurse Grace said. It was an answer to prayer. They even brought seed markers.

EIMS also donated garden netting, watering cans, tools and ordered treated poles from a local supplier so that pupils could erect shade-netting to protect the seedlings from birds and drying out in the sun.

The team from Environmental Impact Management Services also bought a year-planner and books that provide information and advice on when to plant and how to gain optimum productivity.  Nurse Grace said, ‘We learnt a lot about keeping vegetables healthy and effective planting methods.’

School exams were in progress but the team were able to meet some of the pupils and explain how best to sustain the vegetable garden established by Nurse Grace a year ago. While Meetsstshehla has been acknowledged as a leading Green School in the Limpopo Province, nurse Grace plans to share the vision with other schools that she visits in the Waterberg.

Nurse Grace had time to discuss other plans for the community. Environmental Impact services are generously donating 95 packs of washable sanitary pads so that all the Grade 8 school girls can participate fully in school activities. A team from Dignity Dreams  in Pretoria will come to instruct both boys and girls on menstrual health when exams finish.

~Explaining to guests about our green school project~

 

Andrew Smith said, ‘We have been involved in developing an air quality awareness campaign for one of our clients over the last 12 months. The programme is aimed at education focused specifically on how burning practices in the homes and communities can negatively impact the air we breath. Burning of waste and the use of coal fires in the home for cooking and warmth during winter are some of the issues the campaign focuses on. We have rolled the campaign out in some primary schools as well and we’ve developed puzzles, colouring books, quizzes and drama competitions. We have asked our client whether they will allow us to use the material elsewhere and we’re waiting for their comments. This educational content might be something Nurse Grace, or other teachers, could use during some of the Life Orientation classes.’

~Showing EIMS part of the garden and how we make compost manure from waste~

Andrew Smith's donation 4

If you would like to make a donation towards the creation of a school vegetable garden in the Waterberg or towards multi-use sanitary pads for pupils please click here detailing your wishes. Sets of sanitary packs cost R220  and last for approx 48 months. We are hoping to raise enough money for all the school girls in the Waterberg to be kitted out.

 

Highlights of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018

Ant Baber led the fourth Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride, taking a new route across the Waterberg Plateau from Ant’s Nest to Jembisa on the Palala River to the north, covering 187kms on horseback over six days and crossing seven different game reserves.

Team members from the UK and Bermuda had been busy raising sponsorship, 50% of funds going to Save The Waterberg Rhino and 50% to community projects that uplift the people and place of the Waterberg in the Limpopo Province of South Africa

White rhino on Ant's Nest

While we had excellent game viewing, we also enjoyed very good food.

Meals were served in a variety of different settings, enabling the team to get to know each other and have time to chat to guides and directors of the game reserve. It was a true safari, in that we went on a journey through the African bush.

Coming across wild animals made our spirits soar.

We were able to get unusually close both on foot and on horseback.

What the animals thought can only be guessed.

But the riders wrote to say how amazing it was. ‘I think you have a winning formula as the riding is wonderful but all the extra experiences such as the school, youth club, church and visiting Clive Walker, enriched it and made it a truly unique experience and insight into the Waterberg.’

On the second day we had a real life adventure, helping the local vet.

‘It was a truly memorable adventure’

The horses were used to approaching wildlife as they graze with other animals in the bush.

It was high summer in South Africa so the afternoons could get hot and tiring

and the road was sometimes steep

but each day was full of variety

and we developed a huge sense of camaraderie.

‘…it was just pure fun and I felt so carefree’

We each had time to develop a relationship with our horse.

While the herd enjoyed the grazing we loved finding out about the projects supported by The Waterberg Trust.

It was a privilege to meet the local people.

These included exceptional women changing the lives of children.

‘Apart from the riding, we so enjoyed seeing all that The Waterberg Trust supports. There are some incredible people involved.’

We met the conservationist Clive Walker and learned of  what he had achieved for the UNESCO Biosphere and good to hear his new plans for the Waterberg Living Museum.

It was a privilege to be able to watch wild animals from horseback.

The landscape was ever-changing.

After five days in the saddle we reached the Palala River without mishap and thanks to the teams at Ant’s Nest and Jembisa, we were able celebrated the finish in style.

‘It really was a very special trip and a challenge at that.’

Special thanks go to Ant Baber and his family for looking after us and enabling us to ride across the land of their forefathers and beyond.

It was ‘a really amazing experience’.

The horses needed a good rest and the riders were tired but everyone agreed that it had been an incredible week of exploration.