Friday, May 31:
This morning there was no electricity at the school. Luckily, they can cook with gas in the kitchen for the children's meals. We don't turn the lights on in the classrooms and offices, since the windows let in enough light, so I didn't even know the electricity was off until Esther said something.
Today I gave out some of the supplies I brought from home, like toothbrushes that I received from a dentist (Thank you, Dr. Mead!) and soap, lotion and shampoo from his wife (Thank you Deb!). Many of the children here do not have soap or toothbrushes at their houses, and shampoo is really out of the question.
I also typed up some more case notes today. Today at recess time for the students, I played a hand clapping game with them, where we all stand in a circle and put our hands on top of each others (like the “Down by the banks” game. But for this one, the children end up choosing an artist to sing a little clip of a song, so I heard them sing Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Hannah Montana, etc. It was really funny.
After school, we had oratory. So we walked to the park with some of the children, and we were listening to my ipod on the way there. The children liked singing the Soccer World Cup songs from three years ago in South Africa , like “Waka Waka” and “Waving Flag”. The boys played soccer while the girls read books and made bracelets, and the baby Innocent came eventually, so I was reading a story to him as well. After Oratory, all of us girls walked home with the Brothers.
Thursday May 30:
Today about 50 children were super late, so Esther took their names down, and we will be monitoring them more. The problem is that most of them walk at least 20 minutes to school, and some even farther to get to school. And, due to family situations or parents working early, some of them must get themselves up without a clock and get ready by themselves. So, you really can't blame them for being late, but we have to teach them how to be on time.
I typed up more of Esther's hand-written notes on children's cases today, and organized and labelled the filing system.
We talked with two children today and I wrote out their case study. They have 8 family members living in a one room shack, and they just lost a brother. Their mother is in and out of the picture, so they must take care of themselves. We will be referring them to social services for help, but in the meantime, we gave them two food parcels to take home so at least they will have food.
When the doctors came today for the students, there were North Carolina pre-med students with them. They came to South Africa for 4 weeks to learn about the medical system here, and to tour around different hospitals and clinics. When I mentioned that I was going to school in Canada, one of them asked where, because he had lived in Calgary for a little while when he was younger for his dad's work.
There are more volunteers coming soon! We already knew about one teacher from Alabama, coming this Sunday for 6 months, but there are three more coming from Ireland next Saturday for a month.
Wednesday May 29:
This morning the Sister's power was out, and they said that it may be because the city is trying to save electricity. So they sometimes shut off areas for a couple of hours, but there could have also just been a problem with it for a while. I typed up case studies notes today, and while Esther was dealing with an issue outside of the office, I was dealing with some troublesome kids in her office. As they were just sitting there, I made them do school work, which meant I was making up school work for them to do. Since they were in trouble and missing class, they might as well be doing school work. I went for bread today, but again there was very little. This is sad because for some of the children that takes a loaf home at the end of the day, this is all of the food the family will have that night.
There is a mother who comes to volunteer a lot, and she sometimes brings her almost 2 year old with her. He is the cutest baby, and now he is comfortable around me, as today he ran over to me and hugged a bunch of times.
Tuesday May 28:
Well, the teachers never ended up showing up except for one, so I was put in grade 4 for the morning by myself, and then Anezka joined me after their breakfast time luckily. Again, I am thankful for the books that take place in Africa my mother gave me from a neighbor before I left, because it kept them quite for 10 minutes while I read the story to them. Anezka taught math and I taught English, and then luckily the children got to go home early after lunch. One of the Fathers here said that he must have us over for “drinks” after school because it was so crazy today!
After school Sister Geovanna took me to multiple to try to figure out my phone working here, but with it being “locked”, no one knew how to unlock it. (In Ghana, all of the phone places knew how to do this, so I figured that they could just do it here). We went pretty far away from Ennerdale, where I live, but it was nice to see the area outside of the community that I live in. I also was surprised to see a Kentucky Fried Chicken here!
Monday May 27:
Today we have been hearing from the teachers that they will not come to school anymore unless something changes because they are not happy with working here. Which means that Anezka, Magda, and probably me will be teaching all day tomorrow. Which is fine for one day, but we are all currently freaking out, as the children do not learn as much when we have to take over since we don't know the curriculum and they do not listen to us as much as they do with their teachers. Also, most students are already pretty far behind, and state testing is coming up soon. Today I worked on my Masters of Social Work goals/objectives while Esther was dealing with an issue with the police.Esther also pulled out many files she had hand-written, and I will be typing those up when I get a chance. I went to get bead with Anezka today, but it was hard to find good loaves of bread for the children. I also visited the crafts room, and when Esther came to take me away, all of the girls were yelling at her because they wanted me to stay. Esther and I talked a lot about culture today at the end of the day, which is always interesting to hear about. Today we walked home from school with the “brothers” as it was a nice day, and we wanted to leave school instead of waiting to be driven back home.