Our children don’t see TV so their time is spent engaging with what goes on around them. The local soccer league is a big feature. The children are passionate about soccer and have all the actions of professionals – bouncing the ball off the chest, kicking the ball from a backwards position and these are pre-schoolers!
Our drain pipe posts collapsed and it was a determined spacial challenge to fix them. But with some thoughtful collaborative effort the children got it right every time. (We did eventually glue the pipes).
And then along came a donation of pump-up Hand Ball posts. (Thank you Air Structures International and Starfish!) Just pumping the posts and later suctioning air out was an event of great interest. And then the posts…. with nets.
The post are now at Xhora Mouth Secondary School where our volunteers from Germany (Mo and Paul) will be training up a team to compete with other schools in East London later in the year.
And here at Jujurha preschool we are back to our glued drain pipe posts. With passion.
This was made into a game – “If any of you make and noise, even a squeak, you have to sit down.” The children loved it and especially so did the teachers.
A Night Adder was found in our vegetable garden at Jujurha preschool. Using Johan Marais’s The Complete Guide to the Snakes of Southern Africa, we identified the snake – also noting that a Rhombic Egg Eater could look almost identical except for a V on the head. A Rhombic Egg Eater is harmless and a Night Adder is mildly venomous.
The internet also gave us some interesting pictures of snakes. The more knowledge ones has of snakes the less power irrational fear has. But with snakes it is better to be safe than sorry!
At an inter-village soccer and netball tournament, Nqileni (where BI is situated), won the soccer and came second in the netball.
The Initiation season saw various events in the village. On the Monday after an ‘ngidi’, a celebration of the initiation, where mock stick fights take place, two boys at Jujurha Preschool were found having imitation ‘stick’ fights with their tooth brushes.
A group of about 10 people meet twice a week with Funeka Jija to learn the basics of writing, reading and numbers. The children are enthralled that the old people are learning to read like them.
Literacy can so easily be taken for granted. Some people who have had no opportunity to learn to read or write expressed their desire to be able to write their name and not sign an X.
BI administers the local Community Works Programme. There are 180 people in the programme.
Teams of community members fix roads, tend food gardens, work at the Skills Development Centre, collect litter, remove alien vegetation and any other project that will benefit the community.
Heads are used to transport bricks, 20 litre water buckets and one woman was seen carrying a 500 litre iron water tank!
Some of the CWP team in new overalls
Books get very well used at Jujurha Preschool. Our children love stories and were delighted when the author Matthew Khalil visited us and read his new book “Helga’s Big Splash”. The were intrigued that he read and their teacher translated what he said.
Book Dash donated us 60 picture stories in isiXhosa about Miriam Makeba. The children were terribly sad at the picture of a little Miriam, crying and going to jail but happy at the other events in her life when she came back to her friends and family in South Africa. Soon we will be singing and dancing to her music (when we can go shopping in the big city – Mthatha).
Jan and Leon from Germany are at the end of their one year tenure. They have made a major contribution to BI. We have often called on their computer expertise (that young people that age seem to have!) and they have managed to get us out of some sticky fixes. Being so remote BI appreciates any help that is on hand.
A big achievement was sorting out the logistics of setting up the Maths Buddies programme in the local Primary School (No-ofisi). The challenge was electricity, space, time, internet… and having to haul the computers out of storage each session and set up the electricity, log on… And they have managed very well.
Setting up the generator
Rearranging the desks, setting up extension cords, multiplugs…
They also have been running physical training from Monday to Thursday at Xhora Mouth Primary School. They introduced Hand Ball which is popular in Germany, and took a team to Coffee Bay to compete with primary schools there.
Rockers Leon and Jan made from car tyres
Each rocker is used in a different way and makes children aware of their centre of gravity.
Leon and Jan will be followed by two new volunteers, Paul and Moritz also from Germany.
Thabang’s hard work and knowledge in the garden, aided by fertile soil and a moist climate, produces abundant crops of spinach, carrots, lettuce, onions, pumpkins and beetroot. He has had success with growing seedlings from seeds which are now being planted in the garden at the Skills Development Center.
An organisation-changing development at BI is our new storeroom. An old wooden structure has been replaced with a 3-room brick building from which we will also be able to harvest water.
Having storage space for the Health project, Jujurha Preschool and for Maintenance will make our planning, preparation and implementation of projects so much more efficient.
Clearing out the old storeroom, we found some ‘new’ old toys that have been in great demand – two skate boards and a broken toy wheelbarrow.
The children have never seen a skate board in action so they experimented with them in different ways. Even walking with it balanced on the head.
The tatty old wheel barrow set off the serious task of “Delivery”. All the sand in the sand pit was moved by a dedicated team from one place to another.
So… The building site made our small circle of scooter track unusable – much to the delight of the children. No more traffic jams behind slow children. Now they rocket 50m down the hill next to the school at a cracking pace. Scooting at Jujurha will never be the same!