Published: October 25th 2009October 25th 2009
The illness actually lasted for the entire week and I ended up taking the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off sick, but I went back again on Thursday due to extreme boredom more than anything else! I’m not really sure what was wrong with me, I definitely got my cold back that I had generously shared with the whole Family Centre in my first week, but I was also feeling very breathless, light headed and dizzy, which made standing up or moving quickly quite hard! I spent Monday & Tuesday just chilling out, not really doing anything but resting. Then on Wednesday I felt much better & it was also Shelly’s birthday. Shelly is an incredible lady. She’s the wife of Grant, the Director of Ethembeni, although that isn’t what makes her incredible! She is one of the most caring and patient people I have ever met, and is therefore a fantastic influence on me! I spent all Wednesday attempting to bake a birthday cake for her, I clearly was not feeling myself and after 2 failed attempts, I decided cupcakes were the way forward! We had a lovely meal together in the evening, Grant’s parents are over from Capetown, and Shelly’s Mum, sister & 2 nephews who all live locally, came along too. It was a real privilege to spend time with the whole family, they’re all such fantastic characters!
I spent Thursday and Friday really investing in the ECD children. I spent a lot of time with them, teaching and coming up with new games. I think that when it comes to these kids, my mum is my biggest inspiration & as it was her birthday on the Thursday, I thought I’d do her proud ☺ It's wonderful to see how eager they are to learn, I think a lot of it is because they want the praise and attention when they get something right. Many times a day, a child comes up to me and starts singing the alphabet or counting, or starts singing a nursery rhyme for me to finish off. I'm really hoping that soon I will be able to work with smaller groups to give them more attention and work geared more towards them, rather than very general as at the moment, the group has 1 year olds with 6 year olds!
Saturday was quite a chilled day, I definitely needed to rest after 2 high-energy days at the Family Centre, when perhaps I ought to have still been in bed! This all ended on Sunday though, with the first ever Ethembeni Fun Day, hosted by Hilton College, which is the most expensive school in the whole of South Africa! My working day began at 6:45am, as I was helping out on registration for the morning’s races, plus I was scabbing a lift off Grant! The main aspect of the day were races which started at 9, 10 and 11am. People could enter to either walk, run or cycle 5, 10 or 20kms. I felt very lucky to be inside doing registration rather than out there running as the weather was very foggy and miserable and I’m told people came back caked in mud - actually I would probably have enjoyed that! Despite the atrocious weather, it was still a brilliant day and I think the profit was about R12 000, which is over £1000 - good stuff! The other exciting part was that there were stalls selling all kinds of crafts etc, and a fruit and veggie stall. The exciting part is that this stall decided to donate about R10 000 worth of vegetables to Ethembeni! You can imagine how incredible that is - try to picture how many cauliflowers you could buy with £900! Well I think there were about 200 cauliflowers, a similar number of lettuces, alongside dozens of bags of carrots, and lots of avocados, spinach, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes and green beans!
My "Fun Day" was cut short as Linda invited me to her house to help her and her husband Gareth and his family eat a HUGE chicken they had. Not wanting to let her down, I accepted her invitation and we left together at about 11:30am. Gareth's family were lovely, it turns out they have family who live in Chester, as Gareth's Dad told me. I then went to chat to his Grandfather, who also told me the same story about Chester and then when his Mother started telling me for a 3rd time how they had walked the walls, his Father chipped in to say I probably heard the first 2 times! Gareth's Grandfather seemed to be quite an English fellow himself, which he told me was due to the fact most of his school masters had been English. It intrigues me to see the effect our country has had on this nation, and others around the world. I often wonder at little English-isms that have somehow got into the culture of other countries. He also told me about how he was in the process of getting his car back after it was hijacked a few weeks ago. He was held at gunpoint by gangsters in his little town, who took away his car and then presumably sold it to someone else. He told me of how it was in remarkably good condition it had been hijacked, in fact it even had a stereo now, whereas it didn't before! Again, I was quite overwhelmed by how violence is such a part of everyday life, the conversation lingered for quite some time on other people they knew who had be hijacked and the state of their cars if they got them back. On the other hand, Gareth's Father says the only time he was ever mugged was on the underground!
Over n out