This first week has just flown by!
i'll start with Saturday! a rather stressfull day spent on a very warm bus, but we arrived safely in Venda just after 4pm. We were picked up by Suzi, the founder of Vhutshilo Mountain School where we are being accommodated for the next 8 weeks! Our accommodation is great! the 7 girls are staying in two rooms in a separate building just next to the school, and the boys are staying in a classroom of the school. There are two flushing toilets, two clean showers and a great kitchen area. They even gave us a tv! very happy.
Sunday we hd a lazy day and got used to our surroundings! We made a friend in the little girl who lives next door so spent the afternoon entertaining her!
Now to the beginning of the project!
Monday we headed to Jumbo School in the afternoon, The school where we have worked in a teaching capacity for 3 years. Unfortunately the kids had finished school early and the head teacher Mercy was not in, but it gave the volunteers the opportunity to have a look around the school. They were all quite taken aback by how rundown the Jumbo School is, and how few resources it has, but it fired them up to want to make a difference! After our visit to the school we went into Thohoyandou, the nearest big town for some food and to show the volunteers around.
Tuesday we got up bright and early and got to Jumbo for 8am! Only the older grades are in this week for "winter school" We got an overwhelming welcome from the children! Screaming their wee hearts out, it was wonderful! The children then sang the south african national anthem for us, then flower of scotland! We had a great day getting to know the children, playing games, and trying to learn their names (so hard!) When the children left we did a big clean up of the playground (glass and rubbish everywhere) and swept the classrooms.
Wednesday, back to jumbo to begin more structured lessons. We split the volunteers up into two group with two classes to do lessons of their choice in the morning, then outside games after break. All were a great success! the older class designed their own coat of arms, and the younger class played hangman! then the boys played football (our volunteers were put to shame by the kids) and the girls taught us lots of fun games!
Thursday, we met with Khatu who works at vhutshilo mountain school and she told us about an HIV drama she needed our help with. The idea is that the HIV positive children at the school will perform this drama at the local HIV clinic because the people have to wait a very very long time for their drugs, so it saves them from getting bored, and they can be educated at the same time! We are helping out by making all the props, scenery and costumes and also directing it, which will be great! Khatu then took a few of us to the local hospital, where the HIV clinic is. It was very very busy, and there was only one doctor to see them all. Some people had been waiting for 5 hours already, and could easily be waiting for another 5 hours before they were seen by the doctor!
Friday we met with our NGO, the Centre for Positive Care in Sibasa. At the meeting we discussed where they would like us to help this year and settled on two programmes. The Love Life programme which requires us to visit local schools and raise awareness of HIV and AIDS, and a resource centre programme where we will spend afternoons in centres playing games with the children and helping the NGO with its work of identifying the orphans and vulnerable children andchecking on their progress!
I'm about to run out of time in the internet cafe but we've had a great week! The weather is starting to get better (its winter here) and next week its full steam ahed with the project, busy busy!