We've now started at our new placement on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Alex, Katie and I are working at St. Theresa's Home for Boys closer to Durban. This is an "orphanage" for boys which was started by the Augustinian Sisters in 1925. They house a good number of boys who have either been orphaned, abandoned, removed from homes or that are unable to live with their families for one reason or another. The boys are divided up into cottages (by age) and have 2 full-time "Aunties" that live with them and alternate weeks. I was placed in cottage 3 and I absolutely LOVE IT. The boys are so sweet and already I have formed bonds with them. Unfortunately, I don't remember these long, complicated Zulu names yet...so I'll do as I did at Saints, call all the boys "buddy or dude or sir or superman." It's worked well so far.
My boys are around 8-11 years old. They are so great and just love it when I arrive. They call me Auntie Jenn which never gets old. They are, for the most part, behind for their age in school and in need of structured help and support. However, with 10-12 boys, it's not that easy to find time, hands, discipline and words enough to help them all. It's been trial and error so far. When I arrive, we usually play and they give me some nice hugs. Then, I ask who has homework and they all shout "NOT MEEEEEEEEE." Once I finally calm them down, they all need homework and lose focus quickly. Many times, they don't have any assignment or they don't know how to read the paragraph they are supposed to answer questions about. Much of the work that needs to be done there would entail going back to kindergarten level and working on sounds and learning how to read. Unfortunately, I only have 2 hours each time...it's a tall order, but the boys have already stolen my heart.
They are very interested in where I'm from and what I like or don't like. They are obsessed with Obama and love when I talk to them about him. They also are enthralled each time I talk about the amount of snow Vermont gets. Their eyes are huge as they imagine how cold and wet that much snow must be.
I am so glad to be working at St. Theresa's with the kids because they are so desperate for love and attention. It's nice to see their smiling faces and remember that there is so much hope in this world. I'm going to take pictures soon...keep checking in!