The Skills Centre is still a long way from being finished but the greatest part of it is done. The Skill Centre has started to visit households where broken furniture needs fixing and participants are now getting the essential skills to help themselves. We’re happy that the community is now benefiting from the project even though it’s not yet finished. Each day of the month we help one community member with broken doors or furniture. They sometimes even bring their broken spades to the Skill Centre to be fixed!
In the last two weeks, while trying to find my feet, I managed to sit in on two community meetings in Nqileni and Tshezi villages where I was introduced in my new role as Health Manager at Bulungula Incubator. Kuselo Gcelu accompanied me and introduced me to the community. In villages that had no meetings organized, I was introduced to the Village Headmen and we asked them to announce that there is a new Health Manager in their communities. On Thursday 30 January 2014 we had a meeting with uNomakhaya, our Community Care Workers (CCWs) for the first time. We shared a lot of information such as what they think the programme’s strengths are, challenges they are facing and possible solutions. We tried to assess what they remember in terms of the training they had from NACCW, Mentor Mothers and other organisations.
Sometime last year (I forget exactly when) Kirsten Koetsier and Mert Black of the Deutsche Bank (DB) Foundation mentioned that I really needed to meet Lanette Hattingh of Brainwave Careers. DB has been a long time and generous funder and supporter of the Bulungula Incubator (BI) and Brainwave Careers http://www.brainwave-projects.co.za/ is also one of the beneficiaries of the Foundation. With all the activities going on last year, I took my time about getting a meeting organised (as one does :) but once I got around to it, I realised just what Mert and Kirsten had been on about! Lanette is a real firebrand Award-winning entrepreneur with a gazillion years experience as an Educationist and Educational Psychologist who has put her skills to very good use in a range of Educational activities, including Early Childhood Development, Teacher Training and School Readiness Evaluation.
At the end of last year, we sadly bid farewell to Nomzingisi Hopisi and Erofili Grapsa, who worked in our Health Programme and Lindiwe Tukane, who managed our Education Programme. Their time at the Bulungula Incubator was well spent with the Health Programme expanding rapidly and the Education Programme making significant strides in our efforts to improve the quality of Educational delivery in the area. We wish them well on their new journeys and we know that they will keep the Bulungula Incubator in their hearts.
Global Eco Projects (GEP) has introduced the “istovu” to Bulungula. The stove project will reduce the amount of wood used in the household, thus helping to save the forest and protecting the environment. The stove saves time spent in fetching loads of firewood. It also reduces the smoke one inhales when using an open fire, thus improving health.
Emotions ran high for some children at Jujurha on their first day of school on the 15th of January 2014. Some were a bit lost and very quiet as they didn’t know anyone yet. But one boy, named Khuselo, couldn’t stand the sight of so many children and teachers he didn’t know! He cried uncontrollably, wanting to go home because he was already missing his mum.
The news of Tata Madiba's passing reached us on the radio in the early hours of Friday morning, 6 December. With no evening TV, we missed the previous night's news announcement and the tributes that had begun on the Thursday evening. With sadness, we arranged a small memorial on the beach at Bulungula. We invited all the foreign guests who were staying at the Lodge. In the cool, rainy evening, we paid our tributes in front of a huge bonfire, sharing what uTata had meant to each of us.
On 4 December we celebrated our year-end staff party on the Bulungula beach. It was a lovely day: although some rain had been forecast, the weather turned out to be perfect. We started the day with some beach games including tug of war, relay races in the sand and a local invention: running while balancing a bucket of water on your head! Hilarious fun resulted, making this a great way to end a successful but challenging year. Read on for our highlights of 2013!
Sarah Hubert, the talented painter of Bulungula Lodge fame, came back to do some painting at our new preschools. We are very lucky to have Sarah who is a well known and successful UK-based artist (see http://www.dancingdecor.com) and who has volunteered to do all the painting for free. (Well – maybe in exchange for some veggies from our garden!)
Having completed training of the Homebased Caregivers and Parents in the importance and principles of Early Childhood Development (ECD), it was time to hand out the lovely new toys. Parents arrived with their children and there was much excitement! The target age group for this programme is 0-3 years.