May 062015

The day begins at the gate, welcoming the kids into the school. As cars and taxis and buses pull up in front of the creche off the busy main road, we run to the door and fetch the children, greeting the parents as we go. It is in this way that volunteers are able to become involved with the wider community as we get to know all the parents, caregivers, grannies, taxi drivers and siblings and everyone passing by on their was to work on the busy main road is able to see you (as white person, I am quite the eye opener and get a lot of double-or triple-looks, !). I love this beggining to the day as the kids love coming to school and, once they get to know you, love being greeted by you. So the children jump into your arms and the parents greet you with big smiles and the busy two hours at the gate are full of good spirits, waves, smiles and happiness from everyone. After a week or so you get to know that this is the taxi with lots of children, this one is the driver with lots of jokes, that parent loves to stay for a chat and the kid in that car is the one that crys when his mother goes. We call out to what we call the ‘teenagers’ zulu grannies walking past with thier faces full of make up and wait for the lady selling scones to come with our breakfast. After that comes assembly which uses about half the energy my normal day requires as we jump and dance around loudly singing songs and chants and teaching them unconsciously as we go. Once we split into classrooms, I assist or run my own class on body parts or colours or numbers or the alphabet before break time and so it goes until the time comes for collection and we frantically run around trying to get the kid and thier bags to their rides as fast as we can (taxi drivers can be impatient!) Overall we have a whole lot of fun, singingn and playing with the children. What I have learnt is two things: if you want to control a class of children you have to be more exciting and louder than whatever it is they are doing which takes a whole lot of energy and if you really want to entertain them, you have to put yourself back down on their level and become a child again. So I spent a great deal of time running and jumping and shouting and answering hand-made telephones. We begin the day before the sun does, at 6 am and finish around 7pm. In the evening high school students come for extra classes which, if I had more time, I would have been running. Once everyone has gone, the teachers and I living at the creche started doing exercises and stretches before going for a walk to the shop and making dinner (theres no fridge so we have to do this most days). During these timss with these teachers fromZimbabwe I learnt a lot about their culture on that side and the situations many of them are placed with. Although our day is full of happiness, at the end of it their is an unspoken sorrow as they go to bed thinking about their children and families back home. I think about the childhoods they are missing out on and how unfair it is when the children at the crèche (who come from the more wealthy homes) have bags full of food everyday but their teacher feeding them runs out of money for their own food half way through the month and goes to sleep hungry some nights. Going to this creche was a huge inspiration to me, after coming from a public creche in the village and I enjoyed most of all the energy, the time, the passion and the love the teachers, most of all the principle, put into their work.


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