August 24, 2011
Today was our 3rd day in Louis Trichardt, second day working and first day with the kids. This morning we woke up, and got ready to go up to the restaurant for breakfast. After breakfast we hopped into the taxis and headed to the worksite. Fortunately, it wasn’t as hot as it was yesterday and we didn’t work as late as we are now on our regular working schedule. Today was a big day, as the containers that will be used as a library and administration offices, arrived on big trucks. It was quite a sight watching two very large trucks maneuver through the very narrow village roads. All went well with the placement of the containers and the groups continued to work hard on their trenches. We received help from workers from the centre, they assisted us in racking, piling bushes and cleaning up the site. It was a lot of hard work but we managed to connect all the trenches by the end of the day! Jack ended up breaking a pick while working hard, as usual. At 12:30 we finished and walked down the road through the village to acquire a better understanding of the way they live. The people here are very nice and yesterday a pastor gave a speech about how human beings are creatures fueled by love and in our experiences here so far this has really showed in their friendly nature and happiness. We got the taxis and traveled to the centre where we met the kids. As soon as we got out we were immediately greeted by all the children. We played games that are similar to ours, had lots of fun and made many new friends. We sang some songs and taught each other dances from each country. For example, they taught us how to do local dances, and we taught them how to fist pump and line dance.
During our visit to the school Denise and Geoff were asked to talk to a group of local women, whose children attend the center, if they would talk to the group about HIV and AIDS. The group had specifically gathered to hear some ideas about safety and risk factors. Unfortunately, Lorraine, a nurse, was unavailable to share her expertise and the group agreed to come back on Friday afternoon to talk with her. In the meantime, Denise, with the use of many gestures and a little bit of interpretation by a few adults , told the group about Canada and BC. They asked questions such as, “how long would it take to drive to Canada?”, “Could they send their children to Canada for education?” and “Do I need a passport and visa to come to Canada?”. Later in the afternoon, Brandon, Arija and Sera helped serve lunch to the kids. The kids lined up and some pap (similar to our cornmeal or polenta) and stewed cabbage was placed on a plate. Soon, there were no more plates left, but there were still many, many kids who had not eaten. But very quickly, kids returned with their finished plate, and the plate was then used for the next child in line. We are learning a lot about the needs of the children here. We also found out that the secondary school across from the center, whose kids came over in the afternoon as well, has about 2000 kids, with about 85 students in each class. There are at least 5 classes of grade 9’s in the school. Wow! Although we didn’t want to leave the children it was quickly time to go. We said our goodbyes sadly and headed back to the campsite.
Once back at the campsite, some of the students went to the sister hotel 5km to go for a swim. The hotel was beautiful with an amazing view, however, the pool was a little more “refreshing” than some of us may have liked. In the evening everyone was exhausted so after dinner we all pretty well went straight to bed to get ready for another day of hard work.