It’s our first crèche day!!! Boy oh boy were we excited to meet the kids! Breakfast at 7:30 and then straight off to the schools. We also made a giant pot of soup this morning for the kids for lunch along with some bread to go with it. We split the group again into two because one half will be working at one crèche while the other half goes to a different crèche. Both schools need a lot of help, so it’s great that we can divide and conquer at them.
Tara’s group today was Kali, Lara, Nicole, Karla, Cori, Shayley, Haylie, Connor, Ariana and Kassandra. We went off to the new crèche where we have been building a soup kitchen extension onto the classroom. When we pull into the crèche, all the kids swarmed the truck and immediately jumped up on us as if we were a jungle gym. They were so smiley and happy to see us and all they wanted to do was play with us all day long.
Our sunglasses also fascinated them, so all of them were grabbing them from our faces and running around with them upside down on their little faces. It was probably the most adorable thing we’ve ever seen. They sang us songs, we played on the jungle gym with them and we practiced their English skills together. They loved the head and shoulders song along with the ABC song and twinkle twinkle little star. While that was happening, one girl fell asleep in Cori’s arms for about a half hour. Apparently the little one was exhausted.
Before lunch, we got straight into the work today and it was awesome!! We’re helping finish the soup kitchen like I mentioned before, so we’re adding the last few bricks to the top of the structure, painting the ceiling, rendering the outside and then finishing off the race track. This morning, one group went out to collect more sand in order to mix the cement for each individual project while the others taught the kids and painted.
Team Leader Ben will be overseeing work at the old crèche for the next few days as there will be a lot of physical work to be done on that side . So today Sam , Brett , Shawn , Jesse , Maddie , Sheila , Nicole , Lydia and Claire have been working that side today . When we arrived at the crèche it looked like it hadn’t been looked after for a little while and was a bit overgrown because the local council workers hadn’t been there for a while . So tidying up has been added to our list of duties .
We began by splitting the group up into smaller groups to divide up the workload as our list of duties for this week at the crèche consist of …. making blocks that will be used for the new soup kitchen , cleaning and tidying up the yard area , sanding down the crèche itself so it can have some new coast of varnish applied , beginning to construct the new soup kitchen , clearing up the vegetable garden area , fixing the tyre swings and to put the portable toilets back into place .
The boys began making the blocks so mixing 3 wheelbarrows of sand to one bag cement ( all done by hand on the floor ) and then adding a small amount of water to be able to make a dryish mix that the blocks will be made from . The mix is then added to two metal block makers that compress the mixture into a block shape , this is very physical work so the boys took it upon themselves to start and then be able to teach the girls later on .
Lydia and Claire began to sand down the crèche by hand with sandpaper , Maddie picked up tools and started clearing the yard area and the big clean up job that was in hand and Sheila and Nicole helped James our builder mix the cement so he could start laying down the blocks . We wanted everyone to have a go at trying everything so every 60-80 minutes we switched up so no-one got bored or tired with what they were doing which worked really well .
It was a very hot day today with the sun beating down on us so it was hard to sustain our energy but we ploughed on and got a fair amount done today … we made 75 blocks … got the first few layers of wall laid down for the soup kitchen , cleared out the vegetable patch , sanded down ¾ of the crèche , put the toilets back into place and even managed to add some tyres to the tyre snake for the kids to play on .. a very productive day indeed , even if we do say so ourselves :p
Then, it was lunch time!! The other group from came over from the other creche to have lunch with us, so they got a chance to meet the kids and hang out all together for awhile. Like I said before, we made soup this morning for them, so we had them line up outside before sitting down. They sung a cute little song and then filed into the classroom and sat patiently for their food. Some of the girls helped dish out the soup and pass out the fixings to each one. It felt great providing them a meal, and they were so thankful for it!!
After lunch, we said goodbye to the other group and continued our work. We plan on finishing a bunch this week and It’s a lot of work, but I am confident that they can finish it with no problems. We dug lots of dirt, mixed lots of cement and got paint all over ourselves and on our faces.
Throughout the day, the kids were determined to help us do our work too. Whether they were actually helping or hindering is unclear, but at least it made it fun! We just can’t get over how genuinely happy they all are, even though they don’t have anything. It’s very eye opening seeing the way they live and really makes us appreciate growing up the way we did. It certainly puts things into perspective and makes us realize that some things in life are far less important than we make them out to be. That was a special moment for us today, and I think we all know how important it is that we’re here doing the work we’re doing. It was a great way to kick off the week!
We had to finish a little earlier than normal today because we are heading to a working Zulu Village this afternoon so we drop tools and head back to the lodge around 2:30 to have a quick wash and get changed before our tour at 3:30 .
It was called Veyane Cultural Village and we were greeted by our guide Sabah who taught us a few basic Zulu phrases before leading us to the entrance of the village . It’s Zulu culture for men to lead and enter first so for the first time in 9 days it’s time for the ladies to take a back seat and the boys are loving it ! haha
She explains to us men live on the right side of the village and women on the left and that men can have more than one wife but a wife must stay faithful to her husband .. he will also have different whistles for each wife so will call her to stay with him by whistling her hehe . We were taught about what the women mainly get up to … making beaded jewellery and clothing , preparing meals using traditional tools and making reed mats .
We also got to meet the village doctor ( who stayed out of sight in his little hut ) and got shown some of the natural materials that are used to make the medicines here .. plants , tree barks , grasses etc and some of their uses . Then we got taken to the main village hut and were shown some of the day to day equipment that is used by villages and even got to try on some of the traditional clothing which is either made from animal skins or beads for the ladies.
Our afternoon was finished off with sitting in the kraal ( wooden fenced off area for cows ) beside a campfire and were treated to some Zulu dancing which is our of this world we can tell you .. it was originally used by the Zulus when they were at war to put off enemies as a scare tactic and to be fair after seeing it ..we wouldn’t mess with them either !!! It’s incredible to watch and seeing some of them stick fight … wow ! Some of the guys even got to give the stick fighting a go and man did they get vicious , we even gave the Zulus a run for their money !! :p
It was finished off with them letting us join in with some of their dancing and let’s just say .. well let’s not say anything about that shall we hahaha .. we gave it our best shot and think the highlight was Shawn throwing out the whip !
A wonderful afternoon was had by all by alas it was time to leave and head back to the lodge for dinner and our first Zulu lesson with Nqobile ( We wish we could leave you a voice note so you could hear how it’s pronounced ! ) . She taught us some basic phrases used in general conversation , things we could use when talking to the kids and numbers .
To be fair we all actually did pretty well with it and most of us even got used to using the ‘ clicks ‘ in some of the words also ! So it would be easier for the kids to know our names we got given our Zulu names finally … we are now feeling like proper members of the community and feel part of our surroundings .
The night still wasn’t finished there .. !! Before hitting the sack as it’s been a looooong day we are again treated to some more Zulu dancing but by some of the local children in St Lucia and they are soo cute . These kids either have had nowhere to go and have been taken in or are orphans and have been taught to do this so they can at least make some money for themselves which is really nice and we thoroughly enjoyed watching them . Although they did make us get up and dance again ! I don’t think our legs can take much more today and luckily they don’t have to so we will bid you all goodnight .,