This past thursday, the 4th of February I went to Kayamandi, which again is a township around the area. A quick overview of Kayamandi and what I am doing there is as follows, (the information they sent us)
The ‘Kayamandi Project’ began in 1998 after members of the International Student Organisation Stellenbosch (ISOS) decided that they had valuable skills and ideas that could be put to use for the benefit of the local community. The children of Ikaya Primary School were targeted as the group that ISOS would focus on. When ISOS began its voluntary efforts they included tutoring English in 7th grade classrooms on Wednesday afternoons, Arts and Crafts on Fridays, and Sports for an hour on Fridays. Since then the project has gone through a number of changes to improve upon the quality of services delivered and to accommodate the various participants from the greater Stellenbosch community.
The project relies upon ISOS as its human resource base and works in collaboration with school staff to provide an opportunity for International Students and South African students to render supplementary educational services to Ikaya Primary School students while furthering their knowledge and experiences in South Africa.
ISOS-Kayamandi Project Aims:
ð To render supplementary educational services to targeted groups in Kayamandi.
ð To provide International Students with an opportunity to become involved first hand in the local community, experiencing and learning more about South Africa’s cultures, people, and the dynamics of the greater Stellenbosch community.
ð To create constructive interaction between members of the various sub-communities in Stellenbosch, fostering integration, solidarity, and tolerance between University Students and the greater Stellenbosch Community.
Pre-primary Teacher’s Assistants
The ISOS-Kayamandi Project’s involvement at Ikaya Pre-Primary School has grown over the years as consultation with school staff and administrators indicated areas of need and a willingness to work together. Involvement at the pre-primary has been one of the examples of how this relationship has been built, beginning in 2005 and continuing through to today.
As the pre-primary has grown, so have the efforts of our volunteers. Initially in 2005, this Grade R programme housed some 100 learners. Today, it now conducts daily classes with over 250 pre-primary students. Volunteer involvement is limited to one-day a week but the additional help was made a significant impact on the overall functioning of the pre-primary classrooms, as evidenced by feedback from the teachers and the sentiment of school students and staff.
Over the course of our involvement, volunteers have also helped to provide the school with much educational and material support. Many students have taken the initiative to do private fundraising through which to furnish the pre-primary classrooms (students now have tables whereas they used to kneel on the floor and write on their chairs).
I had to wake up at 7 to meet at the international office by 8:00 in the morning. After a Wednesday night it was difficult (wed. nights are their big party nights). However, it is so well worth it. We arrived at Kayamandi and the coordinator, Mike, put us into groups of two. My partner is Stefan, from Germany, who is 24 and who is doing his thesis here. We got to sit in a classroom of 31 adorable children and observe the teacher, Nono. The children were SO happy to see us. As soon as they walked in they all waved and gave us a thumbs up. They then colored in a picture of apples and when they were completed they practiced writing their names. When they were done with that they came over to Stefan and I to play with them. I learned a new hand game in which I have NO idea what they were saying because they only speak iXhosa. Some of the children were able to understand a little of what I was asking them like when I asked what their name was, but most just gave us blank stares. They then all began kissing us on the cheeks. They also all fought over who would be next to us. During recess they all fought who would be holding my hand. Two of the kids were really pushing each other around for my hand, it was insane, and it is difficult because I can’t tell them to stop because I don’t know the language. Mike though gave us a sheet of words to know such as stop, yes, no, how are you etc., to learn in iXhosa so we can communicate and hopefully I will pick it up some how. When we do lesson plans it will be in English because while doing it we will be teaching them English. This week’s lesson plan is about ‘My Family and I’. Nono will translate what we are saying. What is interesting about this lesson plan is that thinking about my class, education- diversity and multiculturalism we learned that we have to be sensitive and include everyone through these type of topics, and a lot of these kids only live with their mom, or their aunt is a care taker or their grandparents. Stefan and I are meeting tomorrow to go over a lesson plan, so it we will see how we do it, but it will definitely be a great and interesting experience that I’ll keep writing about every week.
Cage Shark Diving-
I actually do no know if it is cage shark diving or shark cage diving, but either way there were 8 of us who went from our program (and then other random people were on the boat as well) so we all had to meet at 5 am at the gates where we live. Not fun. I woke up at 4:30, just not fun at all, however, totally and well worth it. They organize transportation which was nice so it was about a two hour drive to our destination. While there they served us breakfast which was lovely. When everyone was there, we went and had a briefing about what we would be doing as well as information about the sharks. We learned that Great White Sharks don’t actually eat everything in their path way and what they are trying to do to protect the Great Whites. We also learned how exactly we would be cage shark diving. We finally then went to the boat and took off. The sharks are actually very close to shore, we went about 15 minutes out and on the other side you can see the beach. The people in charge then got everything set up. We anchored and they got out tuna heads for the bait and got the chum (all of this was disgusting). We got into wet suits. The first group of people went into the cage. What happened was is that the cage up top is partly out of the water. So from the top of the boat they see when the shark is coming and then they tell you to go down, you hold your breathe and look. I was in the third group to go, so watching when the sharks was coming was unbelievable. They come very close to the cage and shark. We saw many of them (there were only five sharks that came but they were there a lot) actually come out of the water partially. I finally went into the cage and one shark basically was coming towards the cage and chewing. It was absolutely unbelievable to be so clsoe to a Great White Shark, words cannot describe. It was a surreal feeling. I really feel like they were not real, but they were, and to see them trying to eat and seeing them swim by was incredible and I would not have traded it for the world.
This coming weekend we are going to Cape Point and Boulder’s Penguins, so that will be my next post!
By the way, jewelry making is VERY hard, my teacher honestly said my first book mark was pretty bad and I should do it again. My second piece was not as bad, hopefully everything else we do will be easier.