We arrived in South Africa all well and excited for our adventure here over the next couple of days and for some relaxation and recreation. We are staying at the Kwa Maritane Lodge and will be going through Pilanesberg Reserve to see some wildlife.
Monday and Tuesday: our two groups went to the clinic and worksite respectively and then met up together for our evening meetings and dinner together. Wednesday, we all gathered at the worksite and explored the transformation of the existing school and desks that were just frame. We worked alongside the local chiefs, leaders and children of Selengo to renovate the existing classrooms of the secondary school with new paint, beautiful painted alphabet and pictures, along with numbers on the wall and a map of Malawi in one of the rooms. They were painted with such wonderful teamwork, joy, laughter and care in doing our best work with all the utensils and tools provided. We cut wood to build and varnish the school desks for the children and they were such a welcome site for the teachers and children. The 3-room primary school block walls are complete and half of the iron windows and doors were installed. The library foundation was poured and a couple layers of brick had been finished there too. Everyone on our team and in the village was in awe at all that was accomplished in such a short time. We delivered more of our donations and then went down to the borehole to plant additional plants around the banana trees and start to pump water with the chiefs and elders of all the villages with the brand new pump giving life to this area. Eston then took us on a tour all around the village of Selengo and the children were being carried, riding on top of or holding hands with just about every member of the team at some point. Really precious moments going on while we looked at the humble circumstances where they lived. Their smiles were big and bright and though teeth were missing, brown or mis-colored… their hearts smiled through their eyes and it has been wonderful spending time with them. Truly, they emulate “The Warm Heart of Africa.” What stands out to me is when the headmaster told us previously that the schools had NO books… I spoke with him about how this worked and he explained that teachers would have the children spell in the dirt and that older children might help the younger ones. Their community is strong and loving.
Following our village tour, we returned to the school and were greeted with many performers, such as drummers, various dancing and singing groups and some men in costumes (sorry – can’t remember what they are called). We had our last PBJ’s and said our goodbyes, leaving Eston there to further educate village leaders and members about permaculture and sustainability principles for planting and how to better care for the earth and manage the rain runoff for a more sustainable solution to grow their food.
Thursday we travelled to South Africa and enjoyed a later dinner out in the bush.