Hello, this is Rosemary blogging for the first time and this is the first chance since Saturday in Durban that I have had to get near a computer. I am having a wonderful and very busy time as I'm sure you can tell by reading all the others messages. \at first I found it almost overwhelming to see the enthusiasm and energy of the children when we stopped at the schools. They are so excited and have so much energy. I think it was also overwhelming for Adia(she doesn't want to write tonight as she is busy playing with Jonah, the other 10 year old traveler, and another girl at the Lodge plus 3 dogs s0 she is in 7th heaven) altho becoming homesick. We hope she can talk with her mom tonight and maybe her dad.
Back to the trip--it is amazing and so inspiring to hear the stories of the children and how much they and their families sacrifice to have them go to school. Many of them get up at 4AM and walk for a couple of hours each day in the morning and then again in the afternoon back to their homes. AT one high school the children actually board there and sleep 50 to one room...sometimes 4 in a bed--head to toe, head to toe to make room for each of them. In this high school one of the learners as they are called here--not students, said--the fee to attend that particular school was courage. This school has won several awards---for academic achievement and the students actually run the school--they decide the budget, handle discipline issues, provide outreach to the local community, etc. It was awesome. I know I am using these superlative adjectives but that is what this trip is--Superlative.
It is sobering to see and learn about the dire needs of the families. their communities but also great to see the progress that is being made. This morning some of us toured a hospital (450 beds) in Eschowe with the tour led by a physician who was from Poland and has been working there for about 20 years I believe. Because of my hospital work I enjoyed that very much.
Tonight we are staying in a lovely lodge near the beach on the western coach near St. Lucia's.
It is our first night of "downtime" and much needed. We have had many presentations, singing and dancing from the students and speeches from both students and community leaders --all has been marvelous and the hospitality shown us is so warm and genuine.
Adia and Jonah have been great pals for each other--yesterday we got to teach in some of the classrooms and Adia taught with Colette and myself. She did a great job of holding up the poster and was very creative in her approach in giving clues to help the 5th graders with their answers in English. At one point Colette was trying to help them realize that some words were very similiar, such as sat, mat, and looking for others when Adia went over, picked up my hat from the table and put it on and pointed at her head so the children would get the word.
The Zulu language is most challenging but the 1 word I have no trouble saying is Grandmother--it is gogo --So goodbye from the
Gogo girl and Be Well. Love to all