Author Archives: Dave Webb

January 24

Escape to Victory

“You are the only ones who never cried” Betty, Head of Thoughtful Path Munsieville (TPM). Betty, when the plane descended towards Heathrow through dark freezing fog I cried. I also left the plane irritated having been served a poached egg for breakfast rather than the promised omelette, so much for coming home with a better […]

January 23

Evaluation, evaluation, evaluation

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela. One of the most uplifting days during the six months assignment was the graduation ceremony for women from the community who had successfully completed training to become early childhood development educators or home based care workers. The training required […]

January 20

Ugandan Affairs

View from the 18th green at Jinja golf course. It is not possible to play here without paying for a caddy and having them mark your card; two conditions that could be problematic for one of my esteemed colleagues. A mid-winter break allowed a quick trip to tropical Uganda. The big news during the week […]

Ndiyabulela kakhulu. Sizobonana msinya.

A pleasant surprise arrived on my doorstop this morning, a gift box from my US and UK colleagues. I particularly enjoyed and appreciated the personal messages and updates from the UK team. I’ll make sure to update the blog with pictures when the sweets are shared around. Although it is a very generous gesture by […]

Tshepo

For the past four years the Thoughtful Path Munsieville (TPM) has organised the Tshepo (Hope) festival. The main aim of the festival has been to be a day of fun organised for the children of Munsieville, particularly those who may not be having a Christmas of presents and celebration with their family. Although children are […]

South Africans Only

Above the reception desk of the Lawyers for Human Rights office there is a picture of a bench with a plaque stating “South Africans Only”. It needed Saffiera, Health Protection Unit, to explain to me that this was referring back to the time of apartheid when public facilities such as park benches were allocated for […]

Kick, shoot and thunder

Unfortunately my camera battery ran flat while at Lesede, but here is Gladys, Project Hope team member, and the traditional Zulu clothes she designed for her doll. In the interest of balance, having first visited the Lesede cultural village for an entertaining evening of tribal dancing, I had a night out at an International beer […]

And the winning doll is.

“We’re just not missing you at all” my GSK manager. Perhaps now would be a good time for some reflection. Skills that I like to think I have developed while away would include adaptability, creativity and risk taking; skills that appear to be second nature, almost unremarkable, to those living in the township. If a […]

All the fun of the woman’s health fair

The South African government has a policy of allocating themes or campaigns to particular months. May (or Motsheganong in Tswana) is Anti-tobacco campaign month. I arrived late in June (Seetebogiso) in time to prepare for the coming month of Moral Regeneration. September (Lweetse) is the height of the themed month’s season with nine topics to […]

October 04

Days out

Some people fear that I might return to the UK not quite as miserable as before. Munsieville sits on The Highveld, the portion of the South African inland plateau which has an altitude above approximately 1500 m, but below 2100 m. The Highveld covers roughly thirty percent of South Africa’s land area it is high, […]

October 04

Special, special me.

Captain Terreblanche from the Mogale City Child Protection Unit (CPU) drops by the Children’s Embassy. Pleasantries are exchanged. “How was your weekend?” “Awful. We’ve had seven rapes reported in. It’s high for the time of year”. In South Africa a study of people aged 13-23 years found that 42% of females and 38% of males […]

September 17

To boldly go

Friday 6th September, the official launch of the Enterprise Zone, it was a bit of a do. This piece of land in Mayibuye is at the far corner of the Munsieville township a long uphill walk to the nearest schools and clinic. The land will be used by a number of small cooperatives to set […]

September 17

North facing garden

Great relief all around. The surveying of 250+ households in the informal settlement of Mshenguville has been completed. Highlights included a puncture, having a kitchen knife waved at me and learning how to recognize “white man” in three different languages. The knife was very friendly fire. White men or women on foot are very rarely seen […]

August 31

From zeros to heroes

Their caption not mine. Christopher and Nicholas at work Puncture at night, again Project Hope is required to collect evidence that progress is being made towards reaching their stated objectives. When the children’s embassy was first opened the vision was that the compound would become a safe haven for all children in Munsieville and that […]

August 31

Don’t mess with a granny

One of the challenges of carrying out the survey of caregivers and their children is finding a time when both will be at home. Although we are now visiting after school hours, the children may be out playing or the caregiver away at work. The team consider this problem and six volunteers agree to work […]