Thursday, September 27, 2007

field trip

Friday marked our first-ever field trip, to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. In other words, sixteen children between the ages of “almost 5” and “just turned 7” were let loose on an unsuspecting world. It’s a miracle that we left with all bodies and bones still intact (albeit sans pants in a couple of cases). To all the strangers assaulted somewhere along the way, I’m deeply sorry. But then again, what does one expect when there are wide open green spaces to run through and giant stone statues to climb all over? What kid wouldn’t see this as one big playground? A blind one perhaps, but that’s about it.

Anyway, more to follow when I've a bit more time! For now, enjoy these photos from our adventure!

Sculpture? More like jungle gym.

Okuhle poses briefly for a photo -- then it's back to chasing and being chased!

Musa (l.) and Duncan, enjoying the day.

My group for the day. From left: Lisa, Sihle, Amanda, Sinalo, and Sinothando.

Barefoot on the rocks. Pretty soon, we were all barefoot in the water!
Jessy's tranformation into a flower child, thanks to Amanda. (For some reason, this seems shocking to Musa, far right.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

world, meet anelle

This is Anelle, age 3, enjoying a peanut butter sandwich. (Through the generosity of a given few, Angels and Starfish is able to provide lunch and breakfast for the kids.)

During the mad rush of morning greetings, Anelle (pronounced Ah-nell-ah) sometimes shouts, "Mama! Mama!" as she enters the building, instead of the typical "EmyEmyEmyEmy!". I look at her like she's crazy, which makes her giggle and drop the "Mama" in favor of "Emy." This is followed by a face-first dive into my legs -- a giant hug for my lower half.

I love Anelle. I don't know for sure what her home situation is like (though I have heard a few things that break my heart to pieces), but I'd adopt her if I could. I'm just saying.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

all in a day's work

So, in my last post, I mentioned that, in addition to being sick, I've also been really busy. With what, you ask? Well......

Last week we made flowers to welcome the spring. The kids had to cut the bottom "petals" out of cardstock, which gave them practice with scissors. These were then stuck on pipe cleaners, followed by crepe paper petals. After some crunching and bunching and a spray of perfume, voila! -- flowers.

(They loved it, can you tell?)

This week's project was a class bulletin board. On Tuesday, the kids colored letters spelling out "The Stars of Our Class." Then, on Wednesday, each child received a star with his or her name on it to decorate.

Tulisile (l.) holds up a classmate's star, while Asanda finishes up.

Sinalo (foreground) and Amanda, gluing away.

They went crazy for the final product, unveiled today:

I am SO proud of them! And what's more, they are proud of themselves.

what goes up must come down...and sometimes vice versa

Were you thinking I’d forgotten about this whole blog thing? Or that I’ve become too lazy to write? Or that maybe my personality has done a 180, and suddenly I don’t have anything to say?

Well, no, on all accounts. In fact, I’ve been really busy, and I was also pretty sick for a time. It started two weekends ago, when I lost my voice. It came back fairly quickly, accompanied by an intense cough and mucus coming out my eyes (pleasant, I know). After five days of telling myself it was a normal cold that just needed to run its course and disappear, I finally gave in and went to the doctor this past Friday. Turns out I had acute sinusitis. Armed with eye drops, nasal spray, antibiotics, and a command to REST, I felt about a hundred times better within 24 hours. Go figure.

In fact, by Saturday evening I was feeling so good that I decided to join Evelyn (my host sister) and Jessy (a fellow volunteer, from Germany) for a drink at the Chapman’s Peak Hotel, here in Hout Bay. And it was incredibly beautiful and very relaxing—at first.

Now, as many of you know, I’ve been a vegetarian for about 9 years now. However, in researching for this trip, it became clear that the town of Hout Bay is synonymous with seafood. Good, straight-from-the-water-to-your-plate seafood. (In one informational video I rented, the 2 minute portion on Hout Bay consisted entirely of close-ups of fresh fish. I’m not even kidding.) So I began to think that, while away, I might adopt a “when in Rome” attitude concerning seafood.

All I can say now is, too much, too soon.

After sampling a few small bites of fried calamari my first week here (at a seaside restaurant, no less) and discovering I liked it, I was eager to eat more. The restaurant at the Chapman’s Peak Hotel happens to be known for its calamari, so this past Saturday, that’s what I ordered. I’m slightly embarrassed to fess up to the pleasure I took from squeezing the lemon wedge over the pan-fried rings, then dipping each piece in garlic cream sauce—just a touch, mind you. With a glass of white wine in hand, I savoured every single bite.

Experiencing it all coming back up again was not nearly as pleasurable, let me tell you.

I was so sick. And I thought the sinusitis was awful. Yeah, right. This was like the icing on the cake. (Speaking of icing, that’s something else I won’t eat, ever since my fourth birthday — and I’ll bet you can guess why.) Ah well, I’m not sure how I could’ve expected my stomach to be prepared for such a surge of seafood after nine years of nada. Cheers to new experiences, eh?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

role playing

A favorite game of the little ones here at the creche, and one that I find incredibly sweet. The children take off their jackets or sweaters, then loop them around, African-style, and cart around babydolls. One of my fellow teachers recently had a baby, and this is the way she brings her child to the school each day -- in a blanket on her back. It's wonderful to watch the way the children mimick and learn.