Today we visited Indukebandla Primary School, about a 10 minute drive from Ikusasalethu, for a couple of hours. It was so, so much fun to see the wee ones! They melt your heart – they’re just so cute! They’re all very well-behaved (well, they were when we visited) and their wee giggles make you want to pick them up and give them a cuddle! They’re very clever too – we visited one class where the teacher wasn’t present, and they had been teaching themselves! One of the wee ones was standing at the front of the room with a ruler pointing to words on the board as the class practised vocabulary. It was spectacular to watch. We also saw them taking turns dishing out their lunches then carrying the pots, plates etc. to the kitchen. There was the sad side, though. The school is by no means large and there are 750 learners there with 22 teachers – a lot of children packed into small classrooms. Just like wonderful people at Ikusasalethu, everyone is optimistic and cheerful. The positivity of the people here constantly amazes us.
We also spent a period in class with Mrs B teaching today – a first for us! The learners made room for us to take a seat and we joined the learners in today’s topic – global warming: how can we be “greener”? It was actually quite an interesting lesson. We were put into teams of 4 or 5, and were given a statement to discuss, for example, my team (“The Satellites”) discussed the idea of losing low-lying land and animals due to global warming. We both really enjoyed being part of 10B for a period. It was also nice to be in one of Mrs B’s classes as it reminded me of Higher Geography last year!
Today we began handing out the pens, some of which were donated by our schoolmates and teachers in Stonelaw. The learners here are so grateful and appreciative of what is “just a pen” to us at home. Seeing some of their faces light up at their new, fancy pens has really made me value what I have. I think when we return to Stonelaw next Monday (ah!) we’ll be grateful for the resources we take for granted.
We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who donated pens! The learners appreciated it so much.
There was also a situation we had to deal with today, which we’d never experienced before.. A swarm of bees attacking Ikusasalethu! To sum it up in one word – terrifying. Having already been stung by a hornet this trip, it is safe to say I am rather cautious around stingy-horrible-flying-things. We ended up causing a bit of a scene when entering a class today. I screamed, Rosy screamed, Rosy ran, I ran, Rosy had to run again because the bee followed her, we were still screaming.. I bet you can imagine how funny the learners found that scenario! Regardless, we weren’t stung, so..1-0 Megan and Rosy.
Half way through last period today with 10E I was invited along to a Grade 9 (S2) Life Orientation class! They were all divided into groups and a member from each group presented a project. The topics were on issues such as teenage pregnancy and the effects of it: mental scarring, contraction and symptoms of HIV as well as preventions. At the end of the presentations the learners then asked questions regarding what was said about each topic and stated their own opinions. It was great to see such young learners take an interest in these really important issues and it was clear that they had all put a lot of effort into the projects as they were of a really high standard! I was very impressed with each group and all the learners were so lovely that it was a shame I didn’t get a chance to spend more time with them during our stay.
We had to say goodbye to two of the classes we’ve been working with since we arrived – 10A and 10E. It was really quite emotional and we’re so sad that we don’t have any time left to spend with them! I don’t even want to think about the mess I’ll be on Friday when we’re really leaving if I got upset saying bye to people today! It’s been so, so amazing to see both classes grow with us, and see such an improvement in their English skills due to the Inspire>Aspire lessons. Their Inspire>Aspire posters were completed to such a high standard and Rosy, Mama G and I are so impressed and so proud of the learners! We’ve made some really good friends in both classes and took loads of photographs – I just hope it will be possible to keep in contact with some of them!
We had more lovely visitors this afternoon at Wendy’s! Mr Mbuyazi brought his two beautiful daughters Omuhle and Aneliswa to see us. They are such well-behaved, independent children, who were very eloquent and confident when speaking to us. After teaching us some isiZulu, they played the isiZulu game on Mama G’s iPad and did extremely well. Such clever girls! They proceeded to play card games afterwards – a six and an eight year old playing card games so well, it was amazing! Mrs B also took them for a walk around the garden at Wendy’s, which I’m sure would have been educational, what with Mrs B’s extensive knowledge of pretty much everything! They were so much fun to be around, like little rays of sunshine. Mama G especially enjoyed being referred to as “auntie”, and we all enjoyed the cuddles!
For dinner tonight we were joined by Dr Ruth Bland, a consultant at Yorkhill in Glasgow, but who worked at the Africa Centre in Mtubatuba for 14 years and still comes back several times a year to oversee projects. Dr Bland is the woman we have to thank for the initiation of the partnership between Stonelaw and Ikusasalethu. She is such a lovely woman and it was a very pleasant evening. From her, we also learned more about the area and the projects going on at the centre, such as the health issues and consequences of HIV/AIDS faced by South Africans. Thank you for coming to visit us!
Love Megan and Rosy
P.S. It was great to discover that the class reps from 10A went back to their class immediately from the talk show yesterday to relay the information discussed. They encouraged their fellow classmates to stop gender discrimination and value/respect all genders, including the idea that male and female teachers should be respected equally.