Tag Archives: teaching

#293 ~ Psalm Series.7

I’ve finished with the essays

I’m late with my classes

I’m pretending to be a leader who knows how to lead the masses

Yet at night, when I’ve powered down my on-line

Self and sit, eyes drooping my hands over your pages, the words are swimming, they’re melting, what do they mean?

Superficial is my understanding, resistant is my comprehension.

I want you to enter my bedroom, take me by the shoulders

and talk to me. Don’t talk through me or at me from the pulpit

Talk to me, like the friend you say you are.

Let’s have a cup of tea, a Snickers, and let’s snuggle whilst you teach me about all your ways, your ideas, your dreams and desires.

Psalm 119 vs 125: I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies!

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#267 ~ Ithemba Projects: Day 32

As I wrap up this experience, before I write two final posts evaluating my time in South Africa, i’d like to leave you all with a final montage of images. Below are some of my creche babies, who I was afraid of and fell in love with by the end. Please continue to pray for them and support them.

Akhona, one of the brightest students, full of life and intelligence.

Girl. Beautiful, precious child.

 Olwa, he would blink at you all the time. Blink, blink, blink. Great baby dancer too!

 My faux baby, we had a special bond. She cried whenever I left…

 Ma Cornelia. As her team grows, I have faith the crèche will become a wonderful establishment.

Prayer for Day 31 : Pray for the children and the crèche. Pray the education in the crèche blooms and sets the children up for an incredible life

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#254 ~ Ithemba Projects: Day 20

So, on Saturday, we marched through Sweetwaters inviting children to join the JKC. It was tough going, but I’ve been preparing a video of it to share with you all, so hopefully by the end of this week it should be up and ready to excite you all :) In the meantime, here are some photos to share with you all of my teaching at Mountain Home Primary, which I do every Wednesday.

 

Working on Question words and forming sentences, the lesson was divided into the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY categories.

Prayer for Day 20: Pray for the Teachers of Mountain Home, they would continue to be dedicated to their students and to teaching them.

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#240 ~ Ithemba Projects: Day 7

I’ve come to the end of my first week…and the smell of that red soil has done it again. It’s like the scent of home cooking which brings with it a deep, yet gentle reassurance of safety, family, of a future. Yet, simultaneously it speaks of discomfort, of a need to read against the grain, to go against the essence of oneself.

In this week I’ve gone from having an adverse reaction to genuinely falling in love with my crèche babies. Perhaps it’s the latent mothering instinct within me which is deciding to rear its premature head, yet the desire to protect and nurture has thankfully overwhelmed the fear that resided there to begin with.

I have also had my first experience of teaching – teaching children who are hungry to be taught. It has made me, on reflection, so grateful for the incredible (free) education I have benefitted from, yet also hopeful. Teaching children my own age has yes, on one hand, shown me how blessed I am, and how much I have to offer, yet it has also reignited in me that desire to learn, and to be unashamed to do so. The children at Msimude came with a bravado, with chatter and perhaps pride, yet within their letters, the veneer of control is gently stripped away. I have been reminded not only of the power of the written word, but the power of dreams. If these children can hold visions of becoming engineers, social workers, nurses and DJ’s, then I also can hold onto my dreams. Just as their letters have inspired me, perhaps my writings will inspire others. I don’t envision myself as a teacher, but I have always dreamed of going back to Nigeria and doing a year of Youth Core Service, and now I think I know what I will do. When I started Uni, I came with a pride, with an arrogance, and with my own bravado. Seeing them learn, seeing them hungry for the little I have to offer, has humbled me and humbled the way I view my own teachers.

In this coming week I will return to Edendale hospital. Originally a ‘blacks only hospital’ under the Apartheid regime, Edendale is still racially segregated with few whites even driving down the road which leads into its township. When I visited Edendale three years ago I was disturbed to hear that many of the children in the hospital had, quite literally, been abandoned. Either because parents couldn’t walk the long distance to visit their children, or because they knew at least there they would receive decent food, shelter and medical attention. I don’t know what to expect tomorrow, but I do hope that the work that two British Expats have done for years has continued to grow. To see more about Edendale Outreach please click here.

I will also start my first teaching lessons at Mountain Home Primary School, as well as continuing to help out at the Saturday Kids Clubs (Jabulani and Kulah), alongside the weekly life groups, Msimude High School, the Drop in Centre Creche and the Running (potentially walking) Club. Bring it.

Prayer for Day 7 – For a continued strength in the weeks to come. That the children would be inspired in the lessons. For safety for the Ithemba team and that a spirit of Joy and Hope would be upon us. That my eyes would be opened to new stories and I would continue (or begin) to be a light in Sweetwaters.

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#237 ~ Ithemba Projects: Day 4

Each week I take a Grade 10 and a Grade 11 secondary school English class. The children range from 14 years – 22 years old. This week I was teaching them how to write formal letters and how to form a debate team. Coupled with Spelling Bee competitions, the classes have so far been inspiring, embarrassing and eye-opening. Here are some of their letters. For anyone who has ever thought education isn’t important, you are wrong. These children’s love of learning inspires me to go back to University in September. With English as a second language they write far better than some of my own age mates did in French and German. Enjoy, I hope they put a smile on your face :)

A collection of  some of the funniest and most beautifully written of the Grade 10 students letters.

 

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#228 ~ Ithemba Projects

Ithemba means Hope.


For the children and adults who live in the financially, medically and educationally impoverished community of Sweetwaters, Ithemba means life. Sweetwaters, known in Zulu as Mpumuza, is a community within the region of Pietermaritzburg in Durban, which resides in the KwaZulu Natal region of South Africa. Whilst the earth sings with the vibrant blood of red African soil, it also laments for the 50-60000 people who inhabit the community; a community predominantly made up of young adults and children. Plagued by limited or non existent employment opportunities which are exacerbated by inadequate education and therefore poor employment skills, the 2001 estimate that 70% of people in Sweetwaters were unemployed is a stark indicator of the desperate need that proliferates the community.

With numerous houses led either by children or single parents, families plagued by the effects of alcoholism and drug use, healthy family structures are a rarity, broken units a rising norm. Within South Africa, the country worst affected by HIV/AIDS, KwaZulu Natal has the highest prevalence of the disease with a 31.9% infection rate. HIV/AIDS orphans are on the rise, and sadly, in tandem with this increase comes poor sexual health education and practices, linking this vicious cycle into a perfect loop of devastation, death and despair.

Yet Ithemba means Hope, and that is exactly what the charity Ithemba Projects is all about. Created in 2003 by a small group of worshipers at the local Hilton Baptist Church, the privileged community which incongruously boarders Sweetwaters, the charity was born as a response to the poor community relations and the pressing need that could no longer be ignored. In just under a decade, the charity has grown from teaching local women how to sew and thread, commonly known these days as micromanagement and local industry, to creating the Ithemba Kids Camp – a short holiday break for the children of Sweetwaters where they get to be children again. Now with a feeding scheme, a teaching scheme and a weekly youth programme under way, the charity has seen incredible transformation not just in Sweetwaters, but in Hilton. Where community is about coming together as one body to help one another, Ithemba Projects has seen hope transformed from a distant dream to a vibrant reality. 

Over these next five weeks, I have the incredible opportunity to serve once again on the Ithemba team, putting my skills as an English Literature student to the test. I will be serving in both a local Primary and Secondary School, as well as creches, the local Zulu Hospital, Edendale, whilst helping to run a running club (though i can’t really run…), life groups, bible teachings and a youth club.

I invite you to take a journey with me, from London, through Dubai and into Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Hilton and finally into Sweetwaters. To take a journey with me, not to change the world, but to have an experience in furthering the vision of Hope. Having spent part of this summer already serving children across the UK, I am excited to capture some new stories, some new voices, and see how the voices of the UK’s youth and the voices of Sweetwaters change mine.

Welcome to a mini adventure with Death of the Writer. I hope you enjoy.

Previous Ithemba experience:  

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