August 20

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South Africa – Trip 1 – Day 1-3

ECD on the move - Tug of war

ECD on the move – Tug of war

Mshenguville, Munsieville, 18Aug14

Mshenguville, Munsieville, 18Aug14

ECD Center - Clever kids :)

ECD Center – Clever kids 🙂

South Africa – Trip 1 – Day 1

The real adventure has begun!!!

I have landed in Johannesburg this morning after 11 hours on a plane… I have to say that considering I don’t love flying, it was a good flight – nearly no turbulence and a super smooth landing – well done Captain!! But I didn’t get any sleep hence my current state of sleepiness at not even quite 6pm local time!

Everything feels very different… as expected… One thing though, people are lovely!

And the sky is blue… warm ish during the day, but getting really cool at night! I am struggling to come to terms with the ‘southern hemisphere’ concept….

South Africa – Trip 1 – Day 2 & 3

My introduction to the community in Munsieville… I could literally write a 10-page essay here but I’ll try to be stay fairly brief…

The Project HOPE UK team in Munsieville is a lovely bunch: Betty, Saffiera, Gladys, Tumi, Sara, Sibongile, Stella, Papa, OB, Innocent, DK (I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few… apologies if I have!!!) – they are so nice that I am already dreading a week Friday when I will have to [temporarily] leave them! I am working on getting a picture of the entire team but they are constantly on the move so I haven’t managed yet… but it’s only day 2 ‘out there’ so bear with me!!!!

Day 1 – I have visited 4 Early Child Development (ECD) centres and I have to say that I am rather impressed by the learning ability of these really young kids (4-5 year old). They are learning numbers, shapes, colours, day of the week, months of the year in English and all those things that hopefully will make them receptive to learning at school in the future. I have only been here 2 days but I can see how important this is for the community, to shape a better future for this ‘next generation’ 🙂

Day 2 – ECD on the move… this is happening in an ‘open space’ in the community and kids just come out to play. Obstacle course, soccer for the boys, netball for the girls and tug of war… could be a worse way to spend a few hours… I didn’t do too badly at obstacle course (yes, I completed the course…), avoided soccer (but I did cheer the Pirates on who won 4-1 against the Chiefs if my memory is correct) and just about managed to catch a ball or 2 with the girls (I’m French – we don’t do netball!!!), we did however do quite well at tug of war where the girls (that would be 9 4-5 year old girls, Tumi & me) beat the boys (17 4-5 year old boys and OB) Yay!
I have to say I might have met my match in terms of energy and enthusiasm in OB, he was jumping up and down for ages motivating the kids… and was still going for hours after that… (I did ask him how he did it… apparently… too much sugar!!!)

I did also do some relevant work for my project (you will be relieved to hear… 🙂 – I presented my ‘vision’ for the Young Entrepreneur Academy Curriculum to Betty, Gladys, Sara, Saffiera and Sibongile and they were very enthusiastic about the whole thing. Clearly, there is still a lot to do. Figure out the where and when to run the course and also, crucially, to make sure the materials are understood by the target audience… (and get funding, and advertise it, and make it real…) I wouldn’t like to underestimate this task!!! I did ask for honest feedback, as this project will only be successful if the students ‘get it’.  I have to say though…. I am 200% on board and I really can see the impact it could have if we get this right. It is soooo exciting that I’m struggling to contain my enthusiasm… I have been grinning all day…. it’s exhausting!!!

Now I shall leave you with this thought… I have never seen people living in such a challenging environment be so happy… everyone is always saying hello and the kids literally throw themselves at you (I have to say I’m really enjoying that bit!!!!) Why do people in the ‘developed’ world seem so unhappy in comparison? On paper, we have so much more than they do!