Well, we are officially in Cape Town now! Work is in full swing, but life is comfortably less hectic than it was when we hit the ground running in the Eastern Cape.
On our way out of town on Saturday, we drove to The Lion Park. A little black sign on the side of the road with a dangerously sharp hairpin turn to go into a driveway of someone’s farm property. We paid our entrance fee of about $5, bought one of the little optional feed bags, and were given the instruction of “the wild dogs are here, the cheetah is there, the lions are over there, and there are 4 new little lion cubs that you can go in to play with, but just be warned that they do bite and scratch.” And with that, we were off to see the animals.
We happened to be at the “park” (read: low-key zoo) at the same time as a small child’s birthday party, and in true South African fashion, the children were running around barefoot, unsupervised and chasing whichever poor animal happened to cross their paths (bunnies, peacocks, chicken, and even a poor old kudu were allowed to roam
Feeding the Alpacca!
They'd spit at her if she didn't hand over the food fast enough!
free). The crowds of three and four year olds were still fairly concentrated around the food table, so we took the opportunity to roam the park and see the animals up for viewing. We saw some giant tortoises, a cheetah, some wild dogs, 4 white lions, several peacocks and ostriches, and even 2 tigers (not-native!). They were all out and about, which made the viewing that much more fun, as we watched them scope out birds, us, or even in once case tear apart an ostrich carcass. Then, we came across, and entered, the lion cub den (or rickety little fenced in circle). We went right in and started by tentatively petting and taking photos with the lions. Then Noble brazenly decided to just go for it and pick one up, and the cub cuddled right up to him! It was so cute, that I of course immediately wanted to do the same. I was terrified of the “giant” paws, which contained claws, and whatever other cat-like reflexes these little cubs might intuitively already possess, but I went ahead and held one of the babies. It was so cute and cuddly, but don’t be fooled, these wild babies also smelled
wild and were not so soft as one might assume with the baby status. The fur was more like rough sheep fur. Sarah, a bonafide cat owner and lover had her turn, and really had that lion all cuddled in. It then went on the playfully chew on her finger and paw at her face. She was unfazed and it was so cute. To watch. I probably would have cried if that cub tried to do anything but lay there in my arms.
We escaped the cubs just as about 6 or 7 small children (5 and under) came running in, to play with the lions, in some cases even throwing the small animal food at them to “eat!” So, with that being our cue to leave and not witness any cub on child massacres, we continued on our way to East London Airport, stopping briefly in town for some lunch and ocean views.
We arrived in Cape Town Saturday evening and picked up a rental car for the week before driving out to Noble’s apartment, where we are staying since our group is so small and can therefore save on hotel bills. It is in a lovely
location of Cape Town, called Strand (Dutch for “beach,” which is appropriate given that it is on the beach), but which all my friends in Cape Town keep telling me is so far out of the way, close to nothing, etc. I have yet to feel so far out of the way though, as we have lovely ocean views, especially at sunset, a path along the beach to walk/jog along, and several streetside markets and normal stores and restaurants within walking distance!
We spent Sunday relaxing and getting some of the essentials out of the way: groceries, SIM cards, extra shoes and sweaters, and even went to visit the weekend pop-up stalls, which sell everything from toiletries to spices, to beaded crafts, shoes, purses, and naturally South African rugby team jerseys. We also met some of the neighbors in the building and I got a chance to practice some of my Afrikaans!
On Monday, work began. Our venue this week is only about 30 minutes from the apartment, and we don’t begin until 9am, so it’s actually a pretty luxurious sleep in by teacher standards! We began the week by meeting with the IT facilitators at the center we
are working with: Edunova. They have all been assigned to about 5-6 schools, which they visit each week to work with teachers, give presentations, assist with lessons, etc. all dealing with ICT skills. The facility we met them in is their new learning center, where they have students and teachers come for workshops and independent learning. It’s equipped with a conference room (with projector) and a learning center with 3 projectors, a mimio, a Polyvision Eno interactive board, and about 20 computer workstations. Pretty drastic difference compared to what we were working with in the Eastern Cape! AND THE INTERNET WORKS RELIABLY! So, we met with the 8 Edunova staffers to plan the organization of this week and get to know them a bit. Then we began to talk them through the steps to evaluating their program and their work, which we will continue working with them on throughout the week.
Today began the “meat” of our work this week, wherein we had the Edunova staff, 3 teacher ICT leaders (one of them comes from a school with a lab AND 3 SMARTBoards!), and 8 IT Entrepreneurs- young adults who are finishing school and learning IT skills while assisting
Still pretty terrified. I'm not a cat person.
in school labs. We are helping them all to learn how to properly facilitate teacher learning sessions, talking with them about how to relate to teachers, how to overcome obstacles in ICT integration, and how to give an effective presentation. It is an interesting mix of interest and ability, but they all were smiling and laughing throughout the day, and I think they even picked up a few tips on presentations. Tomorrow, the small group that I tutored in how to give a presentation and how to get teachers to reflect on sessions will be trying their hand at it with the whole group, so we’ll see how that goes!
This whole week will be in preparation for next week, when we have about 50-60 teachers coming in for a similar workshop to what we did last week in the Eastern Cape. Only, this time we will be taking more of a backseat to the sessions and will be mentoring the Edunova staff in leading the sessions themselves. The aim of this is that they can then create and run similar workshops throughout the year, without us needing to be here!
In other exciting news, my friend Emily
has a fashion, style and art blog which she posts on regularly. She is currently traveling the USA and world for weddings and visits to friends and asked if I could help fill in with a guest blog post! Totally out of my realm of usual literary meanderings, but I was up for the challenge! Look for it on Thursday or Friday here (http://www.emilykatehargrove.com/blog-3/)!
We have Friday off from going into work at the center this week, and will use some of that time to go and visit a local township, to really see what some of the conditions are like here. I will also be meeting up with some friends that I haven’t seen since I was last in South Africa, as well as some family friends of Mom and Tante Ine! Much to come, stay tuned for a weekend posting!
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