Touring Bulembu

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April 16th 2018
Published: April 16th 2018
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What a first day!! Up early for a 630 breakfast and on the road by 710.

Started at the chapel, watched the high school assembly, then off to tour the schools. We started at the high school. It used to be a hotel but when they needed a new school they converted it to a high school. The wish list from bulembu made more sense to me after that. The youth have no cash but can earn merit points through their grades, athletics, behaviour etc. These points can be exchanged at the shop for luxury items. Luxury meaning deodorant, lotion, special clothes, personal soccer cleats, etc. The high school shop was quite barren actually especially compared to the primary school merit shop. If the school groups want to raise extra funds, they have to raise chickens. 200 chicks will warrant 4000 rand. This way school money is spent on text books and teaches life skills - sounding like 4H! We also saw the primary and pre primary schools.

Our second tour of the day was around the community enterprises. They have a dairy, bakery, water bottling plant and honey production facility. All profits go back to the child care. We are going to be working on a new initiative to do a playground template for further entrepreneurship. Too many details to list. Will do a bulembu fun facts blog post one day.

After lunch, we did a tour of the child care centres. We started at the baby house. 13 children under the age of 2 living in one house - youngest is 2 month! Runs like a well oiled machine - line up on high chairs, potties, bunked cribs... there are 3 toddler houses with 6 children in each ages 2-5. 32 aunties doing shift work to take care of all these children.

We toured the community kitchen where they cook for almost 300 children 3 meals a day! The baby house, senior houses and young adult do their own cooking. We then went up to the houses rest of the children live. They have a common dining hall, each house had their own table and dishes. Each house has 6 bunks, some closet space, a room for the auntie who lives there 3 weeks on with 1 week off, and a sitting room that contains a table and chairs for playing, doing homework, knitting etc. So small yet the bunks were personalized with pictures and drawings. Watched young boy about 9 years old scrub his own shoes. There is a strict policy on pictures of the children for their protection so what I will share will be limited and those will come later.

On our way back we stopped at the clinic which was of particular interest to the three of us who work in health care. It is a primary health care clinic run by a nurse practitioner. They have some specialists come a couple times a month or so - a dentist, a dr specializing in HIV/AIDS, etc. The clinic is basic but stocked with a lot of donations. They do HIV medications, prenatal/antenatal care, emergencies, dental room, a room for wounds, dressings, sutures etc, lab work, a small pharmacy. Incredibly interesting! All run by the 1 nurse practitioner, 1 volunteer RN, and 2 admin. We have it so good back home. It’s going to be hard to listen too for a while when I get back.

What a full day!! Feeling so blessed! Tomorrow we start all our work projects - putting our hands and feet to work!



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