A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about preschool

Never Just Another Day

sunny 73 °F

I started the morning with some bad omens: I saw a dead baby monkey, a dead baby snake, and then an entire flock of very angry monkey were bringing their fight straight towards me and I thought they were going to bring me into the fight (I was picturing the Hunger Games monkey attack scene the whole time).

Actually, the day ended up being pretty nice. It was actually…normal (?) or as normal as life gets in South Africa. I went to support group in the morning. We waited about an hour in a shed just talking to each other while the translator/local went and picked up all of the women. I didn’t mind because once project officially begins, the time can go pretty slowly, so having some time to talk with everyone was nice. Our topic at support group today was “gender equality”. We asked them to tell us expectations they have for males and females, then asked them how they’d feel if we switched the expectations between genders. Honestly, I think these women were already pretty progressive. They come to support group every week and have been going for years, so they are exposed to talking about topics that may typically be considered uncomfortable. I’m continuously impressed with the progress South Africa has made since becoming independent, which happened recently (1994). Every generation seems to be growing upon the progress that was previously made. It’s rapid and it’s impressive.

Afternoon was chill as well. We did a clinic session on healthy eating. Basically, we read an information sheet (one that was prepared during our planning session on Monday afternoon) and the translator read it to the patients in the waiting room. I always wonder what she is saying though :D because she seems to be saying a lot more words than we read. When we finished, we went to this roadside store called a “Tuck Stop”. They are scattered throughout the villages and sell pop, chips, candy, and this thing called a combo which is a sweet roll and chili fries (I know – kind of random). Unfortunately, I gave in and drank my entire water bottle during project, and I just couldn’t hold it in any longer, so I used the porta potty. I just had to believe in myself because my legs were shaking as I squatted in the tiny, rusted, smelly john. The relief I felt was worth it, though.

Now I’m just waiting for dinner, which thankfully is something I can eat again (ground beef). Since being home from afternoon project, I went for a short walk, did some abs/stretching, and wrote some thank-you notes. After dinner I’m hoping for popcorn, movie, and doing some research on asking companies to donate goods for causes (I’m trying to compose an email to send to dental hygiene companies asking for toothbrushes that African Impact can give to children in preschools here). That’s about it for me! Veeeeery tired though.

Posted by kfkeane 09:35 Archived in South Africa Tagged food death expectations care volunteer session healthy preschool equality pride gender toothbrush omen Comments (3)

Monkey See, Monkey Do

sunny 80 °F

Good Moooooorning San Francisco!! I thought of that on my walk this afternoon. I feel like I’m doing a daily broadcast with my blogs – love it! So this morning I ran again. I’m always anxious to run after a day off. It was actually kind of chilly – like I could see my breath! Something I realized while warming up for my run, though, was that I have a serious monkey/copy-cat. The girl I go running with follows me everywhere and does everything I do. I’m a very independent person who values her alone time, so this really bothers me. For example, before she met me, she said she ran at most 3x/week for about 2 miles; now she runs 6 days/week for about 4 miles. Also, she used to just hop out of bed and run, but now she has to do the exact. same. warmup exercises that I do. This morning, I also looked over and she was doing my ankle rehab exercises and I’m not sure she knows why she is doing any of the exercises in the first place except for that it’s what I’m doing. She also asks to go on walks with me after dinner because she knows I like to go for walks and go to the gym to stretch. There are some benefits, though. She made me a dinner without garlic and onions last weekend and made the layout for my journal calendar, so I didn’t even have to be creative; I just copied her design. I feel slightly guilty, but I get annoyed by having a shadow. I know she only has good intentions, though, which keeps me from saying anything.

Project-wise, in the morning I was at Holiday Club, which is basically day-care. We did about 45 minutes of songs, crafts, free play, and snack time. I later wrote some postcards to friends and family. After my run, I had spoken to the volunteer coordinator about the food continuing to have onions/garlic in it, so at lunch I was met with the beautiful surprise of *plain* chicken!!! It was so nice to eat a meal and know it was safe to eat. In the afternoon, I had gardening, which is my favorite project. I helped turn the dirt and then watered the plants after they were in the dirt. We created an entire garden from scratch for a family. My opinions about this volunteer organization’s work are starting to transform. I feel like this kind of work is actually beneficial; imagine how many gardens we could build for families in one year. This one garden took us less than 2 hours! I still have my doubts about some of the health-care volunteer work, but I think the garden work is really beneficial! Counting down the days to leave still. Twelve left after today.

Posted by kfkeane 11:14 Archived in South Africa Tagged food monkey garden family run weather chicken volunteer preschool copy gym countdown count_down Comments (3)

A Mix of Work and Fun

semi-overcast 66 °F

So it has been a busy last couple of days. On Friday, I spent some time at a preschool teaching shapes and the alphabet and playing games and singing songs with the local children. In the afternoon, I helped lead an information session on HIV/AIDS at the local clinic to the village caregivers. I learned SO much about it. Like I didn’t know that you can live with HIV if you get treatment but once it progresses to AIDS, which is the 3rd stage of the disease, it is completely fatal.

Saturday started off as a really great day. I FINALLY SLEPT IN!!!!! Went for a run and met the rest of my cohort at the beach. A couple waves demolished me, but still had the time of my life! The beach is my happy place here. Went for a nice, long walk along the beach and saw a family slaughtering chickens on the shore. Supposedly it’s cleaner, so that’s why they do it. We then walked back to the lodge, about 30 minutes, and I was able to FaceTime audio my parents!! Hearing their voices made me start to tear up; it has been so long. I was so happy! I rode that mood to Zulu Cultural Night…where it quickly faded. It started to rain as soon as we arrived. The beginning of the night was kind of interesting because we got to learn about the traditional Zulu culture; we wore some of the traditional dress, partook in dancing, and at dinner, but it felt like they were selling their culture, which was a bit of a turnoff. The activities ended at 7:30 but we were there until 9AM the next morning. We sat around a bonfire and played Mafia and most of us didn’t sleep at all. It was a bit uncomfortable because we were in a really unsafe area. I could hear EDM music all night, animals howling and cooing, and then when I was lying in bed, one of the male employees walked into our hut on accident (yes, we stayed in the traditional huts), and it was very awkward. None of us felt comfortable the entire night and barely slept. I did make me grateful for the lodge though :D

Today was pretty good as well. Took a relaxing morning. Ran and saw some monkeys having sex and a snake. Tried to do laundry but the not so “7 days/week” laundromat was closed…guess I’ll do it tomorrow? Made avocado toast and eggs for lunch then got to not only talk to my parents but see them as well today because I found strong enough wifi to FaceTime. Tried to see the sunset at the jetty but just missed it. Whatever. I have many more days to make it happen. I’m so sad that I have to wake up early again tomorrow, but then it’ll make me more grateful for sleeping in on the weekends. Hopefully everyone back home is doing well. I think of you all often. XOXO

Posted by kfkeane 11:48 Archived in South Africa Tagged monkeys sunset traditional hut south_africa zulu eggs preschool early avocado Comments (3)

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