Tag Archives: Muizenberg

The Boy Who Can Fly

In order to avoid arriving late to my old school again, Chris and I took the early 7:27 am train to Cape Town. Immediately afterwards, we took another train to Steenberg. We were making excellent time compared to the last as we walked down the road towards my school. Before we went there, we haven’t had breakfast yet so we decided to stop at a place I used to frequent during my lunch breaks from the school. It was a Pie Shop that sold an assortment of meats stuffed in bread and also mini pizzas. The ladies behind the counter recognized me from last year which surprised me! We ate our meals and then headed to the school. Recess was in session because I saw all of the learners playing about. As we walked along the gates of the school, a couple familiar children spotted me with very shocked looks on their faces and ran up to see me. They had no idea I was going to be here today and no one at the school besides Sandi Jacobs knew I would be back in South Africa. I gave them high fives through the gates and asked if they could tell the security to open the gate.

As I walked in, I saw many kids running about that I remember from last year. Some kids came up to me that I didn’t quite remember, but they remembered me! “Hey Superman!” some of the kids would shout. Last year, some of them referred to me as Superman because I wore a shirt the emblem and used to launch the kids in the air! We walked around the whole lot of the school, seeing who was around before we made way to Ms. Jacobs grade one class. I walked into the room and saw a new batch of kids there plus a few who were held back that I recognized. Sandy walked in, surprised but glad to see me today. Some of the kids who were held back asked me “Where did you go?”. “I went home for awhile” I responded. Michael was one of the craziest kids back in the day and I had a feeling he would be held back because he’s a little too wild. He seems to have calmed down, just a touch. Sandy said he’s definitely improved since last year and is doing very well this time around. She gathered all the kids to form a circle in the class. She asked them to volunteer and step into the center of the circle and tell the class what they did over their week-long break in English. The kids on this part of the Cape speak Afrikaans as opposed to the kids in Kayamandi who speak Xhosa. Most of the kids who reluctantly volunteered said they played with their friends over break. Some said they went to Spurs and had Kentucky. When I asked Sandy what it meant when they said “Kentucky”, she informed me that it meant Kentucky Fried Chicken. I guess it’s a big deal for the kids!

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Next, all of the kids gathered to sit on the rug so Sandy could go over a story with them. But instead of merely reading a book, she had the kids describe to her what is going on in each picture. The purpose was to get them speaking in English and to enhance their observation skills. It still amazes me how well Sandy is able to handle her students. They all listen to her and are quiet for the most part, but once she leaves the room then chaos would ensue! Sandy told me that the kids had P.E. coming up next and that Chris and I could watch them. Back when I was here, the DTR Sports Development volunteers were the ones who coordinated the P.E. courses. She told me the volunteers still handle that department. So we lined the kids up and went outside! We made way to the field and I saw some volunteers near the storage with loads of recreational equipment piled outside. It looked like they were cleaning or something. Chris and I stood around waiting for the volunteers to start with the kids but they completely ignored them! They were busy sorting and organizing the equipment.

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Sandy saw this and decided to take matters into her own hands and became the P.E. teacher for the day. Since the volunteers weren’t doing anything, Chris and I took it amongst ourselves to help out. We created relay races and made obstacle courses with hula hoops that were lying around. We tried to stretch out all the activities we were doing as long as we could because we didn’t have any recreational equipment besides the hula hoops to use.

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As we were playing, I spotted a very familiar kid walking from the bathroom outside. It was Conroy, my main buddy that I always used to hang out with last year here! Conroy was the grade one learner that I taught how to fly last year. He saw me and stood for a second and without saying anything, immediately ran up to me and gave me a big hug. By the looks of his face, he wasn’t expecting to see me again at all. And thankfully, Conroy has made it to grade two this year! I told him to find me during the next break and to gather the others. He knew what I meant when I said “the others”. We had a pretty close group between him and a few other kids who were constantly by my side everyday during breaks here at the school. He had the hugest smile on his face as he ran back to his class.

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During P.E., I went up to the volunteers and introduced myself. There were three of them cleaning and sorting out the storage. I told them I was a volunteer with DTR last year and came back to visit. We talked for a bit as they told me some of the changes compared to when I was here. For example, the Palmer house no longer exists and DTR has added two new houses in addition to the Rec House, Brass Bell nights have been switched to Wednesday nights, and the room that DTR has been working on here at the school is just about complete! I had to see for myself. I went inside the room and saw other volunteers tutoring a few students in a classroom that has been improved immensely since I’ve seen it last.

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When I exited the class, I spotted another very familiar kid walking around. It was Ghadija, who was also in grade one last year. She saw me and instantly came running for a hug. “Where have you been!?” she asked. “I went home for awhile but I’ll be here to visit for a bit!” I told her. “Come find me during break!”

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I was anxious for break to start because I couldn’t wait to see all of my kids again! Then finally, the bell rang and everyone ran outside. Conroy and Ghadija found me almost instantly! Along with Conroy was Lawon and Limbo, two others who were part of the pack I used to hang with. And just like old times, they all climbed up on my arms and shoulders wanting me to swing them around. I was more than happy to!

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Nearby, I noticed Michael took a liking to Chris and was climbing all over him!

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At points, Chris tried to take pictures of me with the kids but Michael decided he wanted to hog the spotlight and show the world how well he can eat a peanut butter sandwich!

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During break, other kids and even teachers came up to me asking where the heck I went! By now they must be used to volunteers coming and going on a constant basis. I made sure to tell everyone this time that I am not volunteering and am just here to make a few visits within the next couple of months. I saw many kids in the older classes too. The group of grade five boys who I held the air hockey tournament with last year were all hanging out, including the winner of that tournament, Virgil. I also saw some of the surf kids, and a few other random kids from random grades. I was being bombarded with great memories!

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Chris and I had plans to go to the Surf Shack later today to meet with Dave. In order to avoid any train debacles, we left the school before dismissal. I told all of my kids I will visit again in a few weeks. It was so cool to see them all again! And it was cool that every single one of them remembered me! We had to go though so we said bye to Sandy and the kids and took a quick train ride over to Muizenberg. Chris and I had a lot of money left over from the Reaching Out 2 The World campaign and decided to donate chunks of the money to organizations we thought could benefit. I mentioned in a previous post that Dave was in the early stages of starting his own volunteering company that works with kids after school. Chris and I both liked where it was going and wanted to give him a portion of our money, to help with his cause. We visited Dave near his clubhouse and he updated us on his continuing efforts and we told him about our successful trip with the kids. We told him how we both appreciated everything he was doing for the kids after school and that we would like to contribute some money towards his organization. Dave was surprised to receive it and didn’t expect it at all! He told us he would use the money to buy African drums for the kids for usage after school. Great idea Dave!

Later on, we had to say goodbye for now. Sandy was nice enough to pick us up from Muizenberg and take us back home to Kayamandi. On the way, we stopped at her house and enjoyed a glass of wine. I saw pictures of her two kids on her table. I had no idea she had kids! She even has a niece. After a bit chit chat, she dropped us off in Kayamandi. The next few days were pretty non eventful, at least for me. On Saturday, we had all planned on taking some of the Kayamandi kids to the Surf Shack but I opted to stay behind. With the German volunteers away on a trip, and with everyone else at the Surf Shack, this was my prime opportunity to be alone for a little while and catch up on hordes of emails and other things without disturbance before I set off to the Middle East on Monday. On Sunday, a few of us went out for lunch to celebrate Hanneke’s and Mieke’s one month anniversary of surviving South Africa. I made sure to remind them that there’s no such thing as a one month anniversary!

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On Sunday night, Chris and I packed for our trip within a trip. We will be back in South Africa in a few weeks! Our first random destination: Dubai!

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Spindrifters

Whenever I think back on all the times I surfed back in Muizenburg, I would always think about all of the great white sharks that lurked in those waters of False Bay. Thankfully, I never seen any while I was surfing, but I would always hear stories about people getting their legs ripped out or unlucky victims being chomped in half while casually swimming in those shores. Whether these stories were fact or completely ridiculous would still make me wonder…what IF? What IF those shark spotters that sit on top of Muizenburg mountain weren’t paying attention, which is completely possible given of how bored they must get up there. But IF there was a hungry shark lurking around, I had a method of making sure I wasn’t the one on the sharks radar for lunch. That method? Just stay in the middle of the crowd. Which means, don’t go out past the furthest surfer and don’t go off where a shark could get me without it getting to another surfer first! Sounds bad but it’s the survival of the fittest! If you ever are trying to look for me while I am surfing, look right in the middle of where everyone is…that’s where I’ll most likely be! πŸ™‚ It’s still unknown if this method actually works and hopefully I won’t ever have to find out. But the reason I’m bringing this up is because I decided to return to Muizenburg and surf some more, but this time bring all the volunteers at Mama Zulu’s: Hanneke, Mieke, Eric, Clara, Gesa, and Chris. None of them have ever surfed before except for Eric who has surfed once or twice and Chris who surfed once when he was eleven. I was happy to teach them a lesson!

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We all took a train in the morning of one of the first warmer days since I’ve gotten here to Cape Town and from there we had to wait an hour for the next train and finally took one to Muizenberg. We walked immediately to Dave’s Surf Shack where low and behold, Dave was there! I only met Dave a couple of times back in the day, so I didn’t think he would remember me. And I was correct in that assumption. He asked if we have ever surfed before and that’s when I started to jog his memory a bit. I told him I surfed here a lot last year and was part of IVHQ. I also mentioned names of past volunteers he knew for sure that were always around like Lucy, Tessa, Ansel, Spencer, and Larry. Once we got to talking, then he remembered who I was…I think? πŸ™‚ Anways, he let me know the surf shack is no longer partnered with IVHQ and have both since went their separate ways. IVHQ now has their own surf spot. He was able to give us a discount and asked if the others knew how to surf. No one besides me answered with complete confidence. I told Dave I could give them all a brief lesson, just like Ansel and Linds gave me last year, but he still strongly recommended that the ones who have never touched a surf board in their lives try a proper introductory course. The girls agreed to get a lesson but I told Dave I would teach Chris and Eric. So then we suited up!

As I was changing, I immediately noticed the surf shack has gotten a ton of new wetsuits and loads of new surf boards. Seems like this place is heading into the right direction! We picked our boards and went out to the beach. The girls went with a private instructor while I took the guys to another area and gave them a brief lesson of what I remembered (and it’s not much to be quite honest!) But it was enough for them to brave their first wave in the shark infested waters of False Bay. Once we went into the ocean, I was a bit taken back at how cold the water was. After being in Southeast Asia beaches for three months, I was super used to nice, warm, (sometimes too warm), waters. But it only took a few seconds to get used to it, and the three of us went further along to find the perfect wave. We were all unsuccessful in riding the first couple of waves. It’s been a year since I’ve attempted to surf and it showed. I was rusty! But soon I got the hang of it and was able to stand and ride out a few waves. All I had to do was rediscover my balance on the board. Eric caught some waves and so did Chris, who learned fairly quick. That’s what great teaching does! πŸ˜‰ I also never thought to see some of the surf kids there from last year either but there they were. One of them, I forget their names, was in the middle of a wave when he spotted me and jumped off his board to come say hi to me. He never expected to see me again! I told him I would be in SA for awhile and I would see them all at the school soon. Afterwards, once I was satisfied with the waves, I went back in the shack to grab my camera. I didn’t bring my GoPro (like an idiot) but still managed to capture some great shots while being EXTREMELY careful with it walking in the water.

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After what felt like forever, it was finally my time to shine and Chris came out of the water to capture me on camera as well.

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Once we were all finished. We joined the girls on the beach who have just finished their lessons of the surf. I’m not sure how successful they were but they had enough fun where they would all like to comeback and try again! On the beach, we played another exciting round of Ninja and goofed around on the boards.

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When we went back to the shack, Dave invited us over to his new coffee place where volunteers can hang out in their free time nearby. We crossed the tracks and walked a few yards when some more kids from the Christian Primary spotted me. One of them was Ashwin who remembered me right off the bat. By the look on his face, he wasn’t expecting to see me walking around again either! We went along and they followed us to a little coffee house dubbed “The Club House” which Dave and his wife runs. He describes it as a place where volunteers from any organization can wind down, relax, and enjoy a hot cup of chocolate and mingle. Part of the Club House was another building Dave bought and renovated. It’s a place where kids who are constantly on the streets can spend their time at. We walked inside and there were sections for computers, arts and crafts, reading, and even a small makeshift gym. It was one of the coolest hangout spots I have ever seen and Dave is still in the process of fixing everything up and making sure everything is put together properly before he starts accepting volunteers to help run the place and teach kids to surf. I thought this was a very neat idea and something than can definitely evolve into much bigger things in due time. Next time I’m around, I’ll take pictures to show everyone who is interested. In the meantime, I assured Dave he’d see us again as I plan on visiting Muizenburg pretty often.

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We lost track of time and forgot that Sunday means trains operate on an earlier schedule. We managed to catch the last train to Cape Town but had no choice but to take a taxi back to Kayamandi. There was no train available to Stellenbosch. But since there was seven of us, splitting the cost back home wasn’t such a huge deal. It came to R100 per person which equals about $10.
We ended up getting home later than what we wanted because we had to prepare the Kayamandi kids for their big trip that starts the next day! We had our eight kids: Atha, RiRi, Chester, Mawande, Lupho, Ski, Aphiwe, and Avele on board and they were all pretty primed and pumped for this upcoming adventure! For those of you who donated and are interested, pay attention to the next few posts as I detail our experience day by day. I will also get into describing who these eight individuals are, for you guys to get to know better.

Reaching Out 2 The World finally begins!

The End Where I Begin

I just want to say–Vegas was incredible as usual! It was great catching up with some of my friends and hearing what’s been happening at home since I left a little over three months ago. I also got the chance to skydive again and it was just as amazing as my first time in South Africa! Speaking of Africa, I found myself constantly thinking about one of the greatest summers I have ever had. Matt, Bryan, and the others would ask me about my trip, but I had a hard time figuring out where to begin telling them; I have done and experienced so much!

I’ve been home in Michigan for a day or two now and everyone is interested about what I’ve been up to and what interesting stories I have. A lot of them kept up with me on this blog, which I was really, really glad to hear. Those times of searching aimlessly for decent internet in the middle of Africa paid off. You guys have no idea just how tedious that was. It wasn’t just internet I had to find, I had to find a place with connectable wi-fi. I wrote my blogs on my iPad, connected that to a wi-fi hotspot to upload to this WordPress site, and then from a computer I could place photos and finally publish a post for all of you to see. This explains those long gaps between publishing certain posts; it’s not because I was lazy and didn’t write anything, it’s because I had no access to the internet.

I had friends say I looked humbled and completely refreshed when I saw them again. That could be true because I was in complete bliss my entire time in Africa (even on summit day on Mount Kilimanjaro). I’ve done just about everything I wanted to do although the stuff I missed I’ll save for my return one day. However I won’t get to ride an ostrich, I weigh 15k too much haha! I do miss all the fantastic people I have met over the last few months; my Rec 13 (and Palmer) house, my Old house (and New house), my safari squadron, my LX6 Kilimanjaro family, the SASTS volunteers, my Zanzibar rafikis, the Zulu family, and some of the locals I met in SA and Tanzania, and especially all of the kids I had the pleasure to teach and spend time with. The kids in Muizenberg and Arusha were some of the happiest children I have ever met, even under their subpar living circumstances. And then there’s the kids of Kayamandi, specifically Aphiwe, Fudo, Atha, RiRi, Ski, Chester, Avele, and Mawande–I miss those guys more than I care to admit. I wonder what they’re up to right now?

I’m glad I was able to share what I experienced in Africa with you all. A lot of my friends and family never really understood exactly what I do when I travel and volunteer in other countries. Now, as you can see, I have the most absolute best time of my life! My main focus in writing this blog was to inspire everyone and show off what else is out there on this humongous planet, from the perspective of an average guy such as myself. I received lots of e-mails from strangers who read this blog asking me a bunch of questions because they want to do the things that I did too. Flattering. I am completely open to answering any questions or giving any advice with anything pertaining to any of my posts.

So keep tabs on me you guys. My stint in Africa may be done for now, but I am already in the beginning stages of planning another big trip abroad. I don’t know where (Southeast Asia?), I don’t know when (maybe next summer?) but it WILL happen soon. Also this time, maybe I won’t go alone? Maybe I can tempt a friend or two or three to come along, now that they’ve seen what I have done. I can’t see myself stopping anytime soon, it’s my drug. And of course, I will be sure to blog about it again. This isn’t the end my friends, it’s just where I begin again. Until next time, be safe folks and happy travels!
Here’s a little something extra for you guys, check it out!

The Grass is Just as Green on the Other Side

(New Adventure. New Posts. Coming May 2013!)

Superman Returns

I’m pretty protective of my balls.

My football and rugby balls, you guys. I bought some in Stellenbosch awhile back and kept a keen eye on them ever since. Before I left to go to my old school in Muizenberg, Ski asked me if he could borrow the football while I was gone. I was hesitant at first but I figured I can trust him. Worst case is that if he loses it, then I would just have to buy another. Let’s just hope he doesn’t do that.

I took the Metro to Muizenberg and headed over to the Rec house. There I met up with everyone and hung out for a bit. My scab from my Masai burn finally fell off! It was a perfect ring! I have been wanting to pick at it for a while now but forced myself not to. I tried to give my scab ring to Lucy to put in her scrapbook she was making haha! She was both disgusted and amused at the same time.

Dave, the owner of the surf shack, picked up Lucy, Spencer, Larry, Sam (London, UK), and I and took us to the Eastern Bazaar in Cape Town. The food there was more than amazing; especially since they served Dan Sellers sized portions i.e. humongous! I stuffed myself with chicken tikka curry the rest of the night. By far the best curry I’ve ever had and I had a lot of it, particularly all over Africa.

Lucy looks very happy about the Bazaar!

The next day, I went with the volunteers to the Christian Primary. Today was only a half-day because the school was celebrating a christian holiday over the weekend. Which works out great for me because as soon as this school let’s out, I have to get back to Kayamandi asap. I told my kids I would be back when they got out of school. Anyhow, I arrived at the school and saw how flooded the grounds were (nothing new there). I went around the massive puddles and found my way to Miss Jacobs grade one class. The kids heads popped up once they saw me. I never seen a group of kids looked so shocked. “Superman!” Some of the kids would always call me Superman because I used to wear a shirt with the Superman emblem on it to school. Also because during break, I would have the kids pretend to fly like Superman by swinging them in the air. The kids ran up to me and gave me little hugs. Three of the ones I always played with were there too: Lawon, Michael, and Conroy. It was so cool to see them again. Miss Jacobs has been following me on my blogs and was glad I found the time out of my adventurous schedule to come and visit. Of course I would! I spent a lot of the first class session showing the kids what I have been up to lately via photos on my iPad. They were really amazed by all the safari and Zanzibar pictures.

Michael and Lawon.
Conroy and Lawon. Happy to see me!

Like old times, when it was recess, I went outside to play with them again. I got a bunch of shocked looks from the learners in the older classes too. “Dan, where have you been?” “You’re back!” I received a lot of thumbs up and fist bumps during that time. I had a crowd of kids around me but I had to make sure to tell them that I’m only visiting so they won’t expect to see me everyday. I will visit at least one more time though. Eventually I found two other members of my crew, Deano and Limbo. Deano still smells like dried up urine but I didn’t expect anything less haha!

Myself with my first grade learners: Lawon, Limbo, Angry Conroy, my second grade learner Deano.
Still floods…

Later on, there was a special assembly at the school. I have absolutely no idea what it was about since the majority of it was spoken in Afrikaans. It’s crazy how just a train ride brings me from a world where everyone speaks Xhosa to this one where everyone speaks Afrikaans. For some reason, I’m still stuck on speaking in Swahili from Tanzania. Not to mention speaking in Spanish (or at least attempting to) with the four Spanish women who also live with Mama Zulu. Needless to say, I get very confused. Anyways, the assembly lasted a little over an hour. I said my goodbyes and headed back to Muizenberg with the rest of the volunteers. I made sure to take pictures of the school as requested by IVHQ as well. The computer lab is a giant myth.

This “computer lab” was supposed to be completed back in June. Now it’s just a storage room and a place where the volunteers relax.

Once I got back to Muizenberg, I immediately took a train back to Kayamandi. I just kept imagining my boys there waiting for me outside of Zulu’s. Low and behold, they weren’t there. Instead they assumed I was coming back on a minibus and were waiting at the bus station for me. They came over once they saw me down the street. After drawing Dragon Ball Z pictures with them for a bit, I noticed Ski was unusually quiet. I knew in my head, it had to do with my football I lent him. I didn’t say anything for a while because I wanted to see if he’d bring it up on his own. He didn’t. So I asked him, “Ski, did you take care of my soccer ball?” RiRi interrupted and said that he doesn’t have it anymore. “What happened?” I asked. According to them, the story is that they were all playing with it down the street and a couple of older kids joined them and kicked the ball around. One of the older guys picked up the ball and took it with him to his house. The boys argued and shouted to give the ball back but the older kid said to them, “If you want it you have to fight me for it.” Thankfully the kids stopped after that. All they could do is watch as the older kid took MY ball with him into his house and locked the door behind him.

I told Ski not to feel bad; it was an accident and that I would get my ball back. “Do you know where this guy lives?” I asked. They knew. I plan on getting back what’s mine, even if it is just a measly object like a soccer ball. The boys were curious in how I would accomplish this daring feat. That older kid took advantage of my younger kids and stole from them. I will get back what is ours. Once I find out where he lives I’ll figure something out.

I get a weird kick out of this kind of stuff πŸ™‚

Square One Here I Come

It’s Monday.

I woke up at 7:30 in the morning and got ready for a new week at Ikaya. It was strange though. Normally I dread Mondays, but today I didn’t mind. I was looking forward to getting to see all my kids. Buscha usually comes to my room in the morning to wake me up, but mostly he wants to play games on my iPad. I won’t let him play until he finishes his breakfast. It’s a good incentive for him.

So my days at school usually consists of two different classes. The first half before interval, I help out Pam with her English classes and after interval I help out Zuki with her math classes in the computer lab. I enjoy doing both. However, today turned out to be more frustrating than anything else. In Pam’s English class, she had me check the learner’s assignments from yesterday. It was simple; read a short story about rain forests in English and then answer a few easy questions. I was cracking up from some of the answers these kids wrote down, but the more papers I checked, the more I became floored by how these kids don’t really comprehend the concept. Take a look at this paper for example:

These answers don’t make any sense! This is grade six. This kind of work was equivalent to third or even second grade work back when I was a kid. Not a single paper I checked received a 100%. I honestly could not grasp why these kids did so terrible on something that should have been so easy. My frustration only began there though. After interval, I went over to Zuki’s grade five maths classes in the computer lab. Yes, I know I put an “s” after the word “math”; that’s how they spell it here. Their assignment was simple, for example: John has 2 knives more than Mark. Mark has 3 knives. How many knives do they have all together?. First thing, why do these kids have knives haha?! I remember at home using simple variables like apples or books. Here I noticed they use knives, cassette tapes, and other odd things. Word problems like these were the most difficult task in the world for these grade five learners. Simple subtraction or addition. Simple! Even when I tell them what two numbers they have to add, some of them still use the circle or tally method to count. I may have gotten a little tough on them “You’re not babies. Only babies count with circles and tallies. You’re big kids now, this should be easy for you.” There was one learner who had absolutely no idea what 6 minus 2 was. I tried to explain, in the most simplistic terms, how to find out what six minus two was, but he was still confused.

The computer lab.

I thought maybe these kids just don’t understand me? Maybe my accent is too thick for them. I even spoke slowly trying to get the kids to communicate. They understood me just fine. I really don’t know what the problem was. I talked to Zuki and told her a lot of these kids don’t understand basic math and she told me something very disturbing. She said most of the problem lies at home and their parents have no interest or desire in helping their kids with their homework or even ask about their day at school. The parents just whisk them off, and that’s that. They don’t get the motivation they need from home like I would get in America. Even if they did help, most of the parents don’t even know how to do the homework themselves. I shook my head. At my previous two schools, Christian Primary and Shining Star, the learners were very young so if they didn’t understand something then it was feasible. But these learners at Ikaya were entering their teenage years and couldn’t comprehend basic literacy and basic maths. The next day at the school was the same thing as yesterday: frustration. If I had more time here, I would personally tutor a handful of these kids after class. Nonetheless, I did tutor a group of people after school. Before I left one day, a group of teachers came up to me and asked if I could help them with their computer literacy assignments. These computers are a new thing for them so I was happy to help. I walked them through a guide using Microsoft Word. Tables, margins, bullets, fonts, etc – the basics. They appreciated the help for sure and were wowed by how much I knew. As a matter of fact, it’s now well-known around the school that I am handy with computers. I would be summoned to fix the broken computers in the lab almost everyday. Some weren’t connected to the school’s network, a computer would always freeze, a mouse wouldn’t work, or simply the screen wouldn’t turn on. For some reason, everyday there was a malfunctioning one. Internet wasn’t working properly one day, so the principle asked me if I knew any way to fix it. Piece of cake. Just consider me Ikaya Primary’s personal technician :).

I wondered how the kids I hang out with at Zulu’s are doing in their classes. They are in grade seven, so the only time I see them at school is during intervals. I have no idea how they are doing academically. So one day when they were following me home from school, I asked them if they had any homework. Aphiwe and Mawande did. I told them if they want, I can help them with it back at my place. Over time the boys would bring their work to me and I would go over their assignments and reinforce what they should already know into their heads.

Aphiwe doing his homework.

They were fine, some more than others. They just needed a little nudge. But I told them as long as I was here I would help them out. Last thing I would want is for any of them to have to repeat a year at the school. Toy Toy and Mawande also had a group assignment they had to turn in tomorrow. They had to make a poster about the different cultures of the world and paste pictures of different foods and people onto it. I went to the library around the corner and found an assortment of pictures they could use, so I copied and pasted them into a Word document to print. Come to find out that the library ran out of ink. Oh Africa! I asked some locals, where I can buy a poster board but I couldn’t understand anything they were saying to me haha! It was getting late. I wish I would have known ahead of time them I would have prepared for this. I asked Mawande and Toy Toy how they would get this done. They said they’ll be okay. I hope that’s the case.

Showing Mawande how to solve basic algebra equations.
After homework is finished, Mawande jumps back to my electronics haha

Well…in the meantime I’m hungry! I always am here. Mama Zulu feeds me well, it’s just that I’m a greedy pig. So after school the next day, I took the kids who were with me (Avele, Toy Toy, and Chester) and treated us to McDonald’s. On the walk there, they asked me how much longer am I staying in Kayamandi. I told them just a couple more weeks, unfortunately. But I will come back again to see them one day soon. That’s when Avele revealed some news. In a few months, he and his family would be moving to Eastern Cape. Once he completes grade seven, he will start high school in a totally different setting and will have to make all new friends. That always sucks. But who knows? It might end up being good for him. It’s nice to take the boys out to eat, often because they stay with me so long that they seem to miss out on dinner at their respective homes. I met Chester’s grandmother today by the way. On the way home from school, Chester showed me a shortcut to get to Zulu’s but first stopped at his house. “Oh you must be Chris’ friend?” she said to me. I swear everyone I meet in this town knows who he is haha! “Yup, my name is Dan.” I noticed how small and bleak Chester’s place was. It was about the size of my garage back home. He pointed to Mawande’s home which looked even more desolate. I couldn’t imagine growing up in these living conditions, but these kids make the best of it and are completely happy. I never ever heard them complain about it. I do plan on visiting most of their homes later on before I leave because I have a luggage full of stuff that they can get more use out of than I can.

I mentioned they love my camera right?

Before I came here, Chris gave me the number of a friend he met while he was here, who he suggested I contact for trips. His name is Isaac. I contacted him a few days earlier and he came over today to meet me. What a nice guy! Isaac is going to help me do the excursions that I had a hard time trying to do myself. The main one is skydiving. I have been trying to skydive in South Africa for the longest time but every time I book it, it end’s up raining or something. Winter is not a great time for that, I know that now. I’ll keep in touch with him.

I told my teachers that I won’t be at the school Thursday because I am planning on visiting my old school, the Christian Primary, in Muizenberg. The kids there have no idea I am coming back! While I’m there, IVHQ asked me to check on the progress of the computer lab that should have been completed back in June. I’ll see how that turns out, even though Lucy already told me that the computer lab became a storage room. Oh boy. But once again, I feel guilty leaving my kids here in Kayamandi. I tell them my schedule and they always want to know the precise time I will be back! Gotta love these guys.
P.S.

I am planning on buying as much school supplies for these kids as possible before I leave. Friends have messaged me offering to help. So I set up a PayPal account if anyone is interested in donating. Every little bit helps.

You can send through PayPal to my email, DANIELSLLRS@att.net.

Thank you!