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Published: July 10th 2011
My Group, hard at work.
So the remainder of our work week with the Edunova trainers, teachers, and IT Entrepreneurs (young adults) was really pretty great. We let them all have a hand at working in groups to facilitate a session and try out different grouping strategies, work strategies, and reflections. The group that I mentored did an excellent job, if I do say so myself, and as I watched them lead the session and work with their colleagues, I could tell that they had internalized some of what I’d told them about working with teachers and how to lead sessions. I hope that they are able to continue with that hard work and skill acquisition as we go into week 2- where they are in charge of the entire week-long workshop for about 60 teachers from local township schools!
We also spent some of last week working with our colleagues on how to use Photostory to create a lesson or a reflection on a lesson, gave them time to prepare their sessions for this coming week, and then had a pretty intense afternoon of working with just the Edunova trainers on program evaluation. It’s a very different feeling here in the Western Cape, where
there is so much more available both in terms of hardware and training, and the people that we worked with so far were there because it was part of their job/training, not because they’d been specially selected to attend a workshop week (like in the Eastern Cape). I will be interested to see how this next week goes, with all of the teachers coming in. I believe that they will bring the same enthusiasm and technology-readiness that the Eastern Cape teachers did, which would make the workshop week so fun and make the time pass just as quickly as it did in the Eastern Cape.
One great thing that has happened so far is in our work with the IT Entrepreneurs. These are young adults that are taking this year-long training course at the Edunova center, and then with it are assisting in the school IT labs. Several of the current Edunova trainers started out in the very same position as lab assistants, so it is a great career opportunity for these kids. Well, in the past week, throughout out presentations and discussion sessions, a handful of these young adults really started to stick out as taking an interest
The Start of Linga.
in and having great natural ability for working with teachers. They contributed to the discussions, asked relevant questions, and really showed a knack for being able to have a vision for ICT use in the schools. I’d love to keep their motivation going and push for them to have a career in schools or even in Education administration to get ICTs really going by some motivated and well-trained individuals!
Other than work, we had some quiet evenings at home - which are very welcomed, given that this is still my holiday period and my chance to really catch up on sleep and relaxation before the next school year begins! Then, we took Friday off and used the morning half of the day to tour some of the local townships. We started by driving around District 6, which is an area of Capetown where blacks and coloreds (non-whites who are also not black - asians, middle-easterners, etc.)lived harmoniously until apartheid struck and they were all forced to leave their homes and move into other areas (townships), which were further from the desirable waterfront, and segregated. Most of the houses that were in District 6 were leveled, and nothing was able
to be built in their stead, as the people that would do the building were the ones that had just lost their houses there! Now, the government is slowly working through claims to reapportion the land to the rightful owners, but in the meantime it still sits as a massive open space, with evidence of rubble still scattered around.
We then went on to the Langa township, which is the oldest township in Cape Town. We were met by a young man that lives there and he walked us around to see the buildings, hostels, vendors, and even a kindergarten. It was all very interesting, and we did learn a lot about the unity within townships, and how even though some people had steady incomes and could afford to live in other areas, they chose to continue living in the township because of their connection to the community. There was even an area of the township which was referred to as the “Beverly Hills of Langa.” There, the inhabitants had big houses, nice fenced in yards, BMW’s or other luxury cars, and clearly had money. But, they chose to have this money and these houses in the middle of the
Goat heads are a delicious meat treat for the locals, and are nicknamed Smileys because as the fire cooks the muscles of the heads, it pulls the lips back and makes it look like the goats are smiling!
township, again because of the kinship. In harsh contrast to Beverly Hills, we also saw some squatter homes, which, although discouraged by the government, were still also taken care of by them in the form of port-a-potties and a clean, potable, water spigot outside the cluster of “homes.” This was a nice way of the government still making sure that the conditions were survivable, even though these unregistered homes were not in allotted spaces and would not be first in line for the new, concrete, government houses.
We also visited a kindergarten in the middle of the township. It was a private school, as the public schools are all out on holiday right now. The building houses about 60 children, with an outdoor playground and large multipurpose room inside. A group of the children sang and danced for us, and it was really, really sweet. Also really heartbreaking that one of the songs they chanted for us was about their body being their property and that nobody could touch it without their permission. This led into a discussion on how sexual offenses definitely happened with children in the township, and how they tried to avoid it by teaching the
This room is rented out by 3 families- 1 family per bed- and is where all their worldly possessions are housed.
children how to react early on. We were also told about drug issues in the different townships- marijuana and alcoholism in the black areas and crystal meth in the colored areas. Very sad realities. But realities.
As we walked along the houses and scenes of kids spinning tops, boys playing cards, grownups hanging up the laundry, a large swarm of children came running up to us and I immediately had about 10 sets of hands around my waist and then 4 hands in my own, walking along with me. It was really sweet and put an immediate smile on my face. Until they asked for money. I’d been forewarned about that, so just said no, and they accepted that, but still walked along with me, tripping over each other in an effort to at least be touching me, if not have the coveted spot within one of my hands. Children are the best.
We continued our tour by visiting a local garden, which some of the women of the township had started. They learned how to plant and cultivate their own fruits and vegetables and then started up a nutrition center to feed and educate other people within
Another Hostel Room
1 room, 3 families.
the township. All non-profit. It was really interesting to meet the women and see their pride as they showed us around.
Our tour ended by stopping alongside the township of Gugulethu, which is right along the side of the road as you leave the airport to drive into Cape Town, and apparently one of the “worst of the worst.” I think that’s why we only stopped on the outskirts and didn’t get out to walk around.
The rest of our day was spent in a little bit more of a luxurious way, as we headed to the V & A Waterfront for lunch and some shopping. I met up with my friend Robin, whom I hadn’t seen in 3 years since my last visit, and she helped me to locate many of the items that I had on my list for myself and others. We caught up over a delicious lunch, with some singers caroling South African tunes in our background. It was really nice, and great to get to see her again. Then I met back up with Noble and we had some drinks at a restaurant on a beach while we waited for Sarah to come
back down off of Table Mountain. The night ended with a delicious dinner in Camps Bay, a beautiful area on the water, with great restaurants, with open patios, and a Miami-like feel, in my opinion. But, nice Miami, not party central. So, in one day we went from the squalors to the luxuries of living in Cape Town.
Saturday brought warm weather, lots of sunshine, and a visit to an area full of wineries. I was picked up by Roger and Jacqueline, friends of my Aunt Ine and Uncle Colin, from university days. They took me out for a delicious lunch, with wonderful views, and even more spectacular conversation. Roger has been working with another NGO, Education Without Borders, for a few years now, so it was really great to compare notes, worries, and frustrations of how much we were capable of actually getting done in the face of the government and district offices. I really enjoyed my time with them, and will be seeing them again on my last night here before heading back to America.
Sunday was a gorgeous day outside. Pretty much summer weather, with everyone in sandals and shorts outside! So, we spent the day
with the Penguins. We drove along the “whale spotting route,” over to Betty’s Bay, where we saw, and smelled, hundreds of penguins and rock hyraxes. We even saw many penguin babies, who were just so cute and fluffy!
We got home in the late afternoon and spent the rest of our time relaxing and preparing for the work week ahead. A good mix of work and seeing what Cape Town has to offer me on this second go around, and I’m not complaining about it one bit!
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