The toilets have been completed. Thank you to everyone concerned.
Lorraine was able to spend a lot of time in the Pre-school.
The children in the Pre-school enjoyed playing with the salt dough.
The toilet's coming along nicely.
The toilet build has been very hard work for our team of amazing volunteers. In spite of 4 continuous days of rain we are making amazing progress.
Here are the children enjoying their new clothes which we took out in November.
New equipment has been purchased for the Pre -school at Ithembalihle with your donations. Thank you.
Thank you to all of the volunteers who, on Easter Saturday, braved awful weather conditions to bring a surprise Easter greeting to the people of “Crammy". The trees have brought an amazing response from people who have seen them.
We have been busy in South Africa in October and November.
In the October half term Donna and Alan took off to visit the Pre-school and to spend some time helping the new teachers get to grips with teaching Phonics. They were glad to find the classrooms well organised and that daily planning was in operation.
In November two volunteers, Steve (who helped us with the Pre-School build last October) and Keith joined Alison and Carol to do some work at Ithembalihle. They put ceilings in the new Pre-school to block the noise travelling from classroom to classroom. They also tiled the showers, replaced broken windows and painted the bedroom belonging to the older girls.
Tanda and her baby are doing well and thankfully the baby is very healthy. All the children, we are happy to say, are looking settled and healthy.
Thank you to our supporters for the blankets and the black dollies.
Carol, one of our trustees, has not long returned from visiting Ithembalihle, our shared project in South Africa. The pre-school was being well used, the inside had been painted by some Dutch volunteers and was looking fabulous.
When we were there, a donation from a GAGA donor allowed us to buy grass for in front of the pre-school building.
It was not all hard work and because the children were on holiday, we decided to hire a mini bus and driver and take the children to the beach. Charlie opted to stay behind and tile the splash back on the sinks in the pre-school while Carol played at the beach!
Many of the children had never been to the beach and were transfixed by the sea and the sand. Persuading the children that the sea was a place to enjoy was a challenge. The only way to get them in was by example! I had not taken a swimming costume so walking into the sea, fully clothed, caused such amusement to the children that they soon wanted to join me. When I saw the children laughing and screaming with pleasure when all they have known had been pain and sadness then I knew that Spirit of Africa was making a difference. We are only able to make that difference because of you, our very generous supporters.
And of course, no visit to the beach is complete without an ice cream!
Unfortunately Gladys, our House mother, was forced to leave us in October after her Aunt died. This left Gladys with no one to care for her own children and home. We now have Siphiwe. She has come from the farming community. To take the job she had to leave her five year old behind with her family but it was suggested during Carol's visit that Siphiwe brought her child to Ithembalihle and that he could go to our school for several terms before going to the school in the village. She was thrilled with the suggestion, and for the first time her child will be attending school.
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With Carol about to return to South Africa next week, we would like to express our gratitude towards the staff at Phe Zulu Safari Park and Lodge.
(Exterior of the lodge and gardens)
In October 2013, we had the pleasure of staying at the PheZulu Lodge where we were looked after brilliantly by all of the staff. A huge thanks to all of them who showed us such great hospitality.
There is no doubt that Phe Zulu offers a great place to stay with beautiful surroundings and great onsite activities and entertainment, we hope to stay there on many visits to come!
(Zebra photo taken on the PheZulu game drive.) Check out their website here.
Spirit of Africa has many friends in South Africa today we stand with you as you mourn the father of your nation. Nelson Mandela will always be remembered as the man who fought for freedom by displaying forgiveness and grace throughout his life. He is and will continue to be an example to the world. The world will miss his humility which added to his greatness. Rest in Peace.
As you will all know, there has been a pre-school at Ithembalihle for a while now, and due to its success it has grown from a few children to over 30 children in regular attendance. Until now the school has been housed in a room which was for the resident children of Ithemablihle to do their homework. Needs must and the school now requires a purpose-built classroom with adequate space and facilities for the children to learn. We have been supporting Ithembalihle with our partners GAGA and this relationship has now extended to the pre-school. In February of this year it was agreed by the board of both SOA and GAGA to build a new classroom building for the school, and in October 7 volunteers from the UK will join a local building team to make that become a reality. The new classroom is costing £8000, which covers the build and some equipment. So far we have reached 90% of the funding needed and have every confidence we will meet our target.
The building team of volunteers from the UK will be made up of SOA and GAGA volunteers from many walks of life. They are paying for their visit and are using their holiday to make this project happen. In the spirit of our work we will be joined by a local building team and we will be working together to complete the classrooms.
The new building will have two classrooms, a cloak room, a small storage room and large verandah. However, the toilets will be completed at a later date once we have raised the funding. Follow our progress on Spirit of Africa and GAGA Face Book page or follow Charlie’s blog.