The last time Dan and I tried visiting his old school in Steenberg we didn’t exactly take the fastest route. By the time we got to the school the kids had already gone home. Today we’d leave Kayamandi just after 7 in the morning, and leave no chance of missing his old students.
Even with leaving so early we still had about two and a half hours of train rides before we’d arrive to the town. From there we still had a bit of a walk but we did finally make it to his school, The Christian David Primary School. When we walked up to the school it was clear that there was a recess in progress with all the kids running about. As soon as we strolled in Dan started seeing students who he worked with last year and they all remembered him. He had warned me that the children at this school were a bit crazier than at Kayamandi but I didn’t believe him until we were both turned into a human jungle gym.
After playing outside we went in to find the teacher he had previously worked with. Sandy Jacobs is a grade 1 teacher at the school and is pretty outstanding at her job. Dan and I joined her class and watched as she read a book with them, sang songs with them, and worked with them on singular and plural forms of words. I was impressed at her control of the room and the patience that she offered each of them. She later told us that she’d prefer teaching an older grade but she was definitely pretty great with the youngsters.
Before long it was time for her class to partake in their gym glass. Dan told me that the volunteers at the school are the ones that run the classes and I think we were both looking forward to seeing how that would go. Apparently, the volunteers asked the class to first remove their shoes and socks before heading out. I wasn’t really sure why this was necessary but the children didn’t care and immediately went about removing their shoes. When we got outside there were two volunteers but we soon found out that they had no inclination of taking on the class. They were too “busy” organizing the gym equipment in the storage locker. While we were finding this out Sandy asked if Dan and I would mind taking over the gym class. This wasn’t something either of us had prepared for but we were quick on our feet and set about organizing a relay race. I don’t generally teach first graders because they’re just a little young for me. They’re super cute, but a bit of a handful. Add on the fact that this was a classroom of 34 non-English speaking children under the age of 8. There is no kindergarten, and no preschool for these youngsters so her classroom of rascals was brand-new to the concept of school. With Dan and Sandy’s help I think we put together a pretty fun class but as hard as we tried I don’t think it would have been possible to drain them of their energy.
While I was trying to coordinate them I kept finding myself looking to use Xhosa words but all these students spoke Afrikaans. It was cool that I was thinking more and more in Xhosa but unfortunate that it did me no good.
Back in the classroom the group received peanut butter sandwiches before going back outside for a second recess. I told one little guy (Michael) that I wasn’t going to lift him up until he finished his sandwich. As I tried snapping pictures, of Dan with his students, Michael kept hopping in front of the camera to show me that he was devouring his sandwich. I held true to my word and promptly lifted him high above the rest of his peers once he finished his sandwich. The next 30 minutes was spent lifting, spinning, and throwing kids all over the recess yard. Dan was able to reunite with all his old students and it was a pleasure spending the school day with them.
Our next destination was three stops down the rail line to Muizenburg. If you remember from a previous post, Muizenburg is the place we surf at and home to the Surf Out Reach Program started by Dave Chudleigh. Dan and I have been talking a lot about what exactly we want to do with the remaining donations within our budget. Thanks to Hotspots, and several of the places we visited and stayed, our trip with the boys was less expensive than we had planned for. We still plan on purchasing school supplies and books for the students in Kayamandi but we also wanted to do a bit more. After visiting Dave the first time and seeing all the hard work that he’s been up to, we both agreed that his Out Reach program is pretty incredible. The Surf Out Reach Program works directly with students from the Christian David Primary school, and offers so much. Every day after school the kids are brought over to where the program is housed. This place is a safe haven for these guys and provides a place for them to work on their homework, study, play games, read, and anything else they need to be successful. The program provides a warm meal for everyone involved and a packed lunch for the next school day. Oh yea, did I mention that they also teach these kids to surf?!? These kids are phenomenal athletes and surf like the pros. Dan and I saw a few of them tearing it up in the water the last time we were here. We’re very confident that the contributions we deliver to this program will go a long way and we look forward to following along. You can too by visiting www.surfshack.co.za They also have a Facebook group that is constantly being updated with the programs progress. Dave was pretty thrilled with what we were offering him and together we worked out a plan to have our boys from Kayamandi come by Saturday for a surf session. Saturday should be a pretty amazing day!
Earlier in the day we arranged a ride back to Stellenbosch with Sandy. After our difficulty getting home yesterday we were keen on just getting home! Thanks so much Sandy for the lift! I hope the ride wasn’t too long for you.
In the evening Dan taught us a new game called true colors. This game asks the group personal questions in which we have to select an opposing member of the group as the answer. This was a pretty fun game, and I’ll be sure to share it with friends once I get home. Before going to bed I lost in a game of Catan to Hanneke. It was a close game, with Mieke and me being right behind her. More importantly, I finished the last of those name cards! I’ll post a couple of my favorites.