Well, we have been here nearly two weeks and it has rained almost every single day. Anyone who knows me knows how much I dislike the cold, rain, snow, wind - really, anything besides SUN. Yesterday and today have been gorgeous...warm, sunny and bright. It is summer here in South Africa and I couldn't be happier about that.
Yesterday, I went with my roommates, Katie and Alex to St. Leo's Primary School in the valley of Molweni. I'm still getting settled into my weekly, daily (even hourly) routine and decieded to spend the day with some of the most adorable children you've EVER seen in your life. We got to school just as the children began to finish up prayer/song/dance and scamper chaotically to their classrooms. The kids are so inquisitive of the volunteers. They come up behind you can grab ahold of your hand, smile ear to ear and/or blurt out "hello, how are you?"
The property is large and the buildings are very simple. The teachers and students I've met so far are out of this world. Everyone at the school seems to care a lot for the kids. They do a lot with limited resources and little if any parent involvement. In an earlier blog I mentioned that AIDS is everywhere here. I spoke to my roommates about how HIV/AIDS affects her school. Alex told me that approximately 60 of the 500 students are HIV+. However, she also told me that there are probably more who do not know it or do not disclose their status due to the intense stigma which still exists here.
I had a blast at break or recess. The kids from grade "R" (pre-K) to grade 7 were running wild and I joined right in. They loved having their picture taken and would crowd all around me to see their own faces. It was a blast. Luckily, with kids, there is no such thing as a language barrier.
The pictures below are from my day at St. Leo's...
#1: A side view of the school grounds...
#2: One of the many groups of kids who were dying to have their pictures taken...I began "herding" them into groups. Once the picture was taken, they sprint to see it on my camera.
#3: We ate our lunch while this adorable little guy kept waving...can you even stand it?
#4: He kept wanting me to take more pictures. He even started posing for me. Too cute :)
#5: The sad looking playground...the kids didn't seem to mind.
#6: The morning assembly filled with singing, dancing and prayer. Then the chaos begins...