A week of various activities! - Maud's Journey pt. 2

In the previous blog, I spoke about the after-school project. This week there was no after-school project due to the learners writing exams. Usually, volunteers from Izizwe coach the children in sports in the morning at the John Masiza primary school, and we have an after-school project with children at the Walmer Primary School. The children don’t train at a sports club, because that is too expensive – but sport is important for their physical and social development.

We started with a warm-up and moved onto ball games like soccer or netball (which is a popular sport for girls). On one occasion we cleaned the field next to the school, because there is a lot of garbage in the township in general, and unfortunately next to the school as well. We had the idea of organizing the cleanup into a competition – each child had a garbage bag, and was very enthusiastic to fill their bag first! All children love competitions, and it was a good lesson about the importance of not littering.

The crèche children tend to wear very warm clothing as soon as the weather is overcast and the temperature drops to around 20 degrees. And I arrived in shorts and t-shirt! After breakfast I helped the children take off their warm clothes as they were getting a bit overheated. It shows the difference in temperature perception between Europeans and Africans – when I wear a warm sweater and a cap in the Netherlands, it is much colder!

I was curious about the children’s dietary habits - they bring a lot of what would be considered unhealthy food to the crèche. They eat bread, but also vetkoek (deep-fried bread dough, that forms a sort of doughnut – very popular), fried chips, rice, cookies and crisps. A lot of children have crisps in their lunch. I even saw a child with four uncooked frozen hamburgers in her lunchbox, and a boy who had only four eggs in his lunchbox. This makes sense when one considers that unhealthy foods are cheaper than fresh, healthy foods. The unhealthy food is, sadly, one of the reasons that the children’s teeth are bad. It seems as though most children don’t have toothbrushes and toothpaste. Fortunately, there is an intern from Izizwe making a tooth care plan for the children.

Last but not least, I very much enjoyed dancing with the children! The Ilitha daycare received a donation from a Dutch girl, including a CD player. This is a great present for the children, because they love music. I played musical chairs with them which they loved. They carried on dancing after the game, and you can see that they really feel the music!

Towels and other hygienic items were also donated, which helps a great deal – previously the children wiped their hands and faces with the same towel. They all had very runny noses - the teacher once told one boy he had a “snake” on his face!

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