Back again, and filling everyone in on days 3 and 4! Thank you if you’re still reading!
So, after an exhausting 72 hours, I was looking forward to a lie in. However, at 8.30, my sleep was interrupted (although quite pleasantly) by church bells. The volunteer house is close to 4 churches, but the bells sounded lovely so it was quite a nice alarm clock (which makes a change!) We had nothing planned for the day, but I was adamant I didn’t want to sit around wasting precious time.
Myself and the three other volunteers decided to get a taxi to Leisure Island which is approximately 5 miles away from Knysna (the town where I stayed). The two are complete polar opposites; Leisure Island has a predominantly white population and it is very wealthy there. The weather was forecast as rain however it was a really warm morning and we walked along the beach in the sunshine. It was so peaceful and I felt I had finally settled in. We walked the nature reserve trail where unfortunately I encountered one of the only things I disliked about South Africa, enormous, flying beetles that made a really loud buzzing noise. They were terrifying, albeit completely harmless but walking/running past a whole swarm of them was not my favourite moment of the trip.
Our walk had worked up an appetite and so we stopped off at this really quaint cafe for something to eat. There were really unique and interesting things like bacon, cheese and banana toasted sandwiches (which apparently, everyone must try!) but me being a typical Brit, went for the scones with jam and cream. In the trees above us were these bright coloured birds who were building their nests. It was amazing to watch, as we were so close and they were so tame and unperturbed by us being so near to them.
We headed back to the house shortly after, where Diane and I did some planning for our upcoming week at the school, just in case we were left alone (for the record, we were left alone – many times!) For those who know me, I like being organised and knowing what I am doing so going into school didn’t seem so apprehensive now that we had a plan of action.
That evening, we rewarded our “hard work” by going out for dinner at the waterfront, to another island called Thesen Island. We decided to go to a tapas bar, and this was a cause for concern as I am not the best person when it comes to trying new foods and eating out because I am so fussy! Luckily, we had a really lovely meal. We ordered: nachos, chicken BBQ skewers, chickpea and chorizo in Greek yoghurt, meatballs in some rich, Italian sauce (they have some South African name which I can’t remember and wouldn’t have a clue how to spell!), mince samoosas, thai red curry and vegetable spring rolls. This was served with complimentary romsemary and rocksalt baguettes and then later on, we ordered chips and more chicken skewers. Apologies for those of you who couldn’t care less about what we ate, but I do love my food (as much as a fussy eater can) so I feel it is important to write down so you can all imagine how delicious it was as you are reading this! After a good 3 hours there spent chatting and having a fair few drinks, we headed home. Earlier that day, I had discovered an amazing chocolate bar made by Cadbury called Top Deck, which is a layer of white chocolate with milk chocolate underneath. I did plan to bring some back but I couldn’t keep it long before I’d eaten it all – oops!
Day 4 – Monday
My second day at the school was just as interesting as the first! Monday morning is assembly and the children all cram into the auditorium and stand in their lines and sing. Unlike in England, all the children sing in harmony and some of the young girls have solo parts, which then leads the rest of the chorus in. Most of them have fantastic voices, which are very powerful. The teachers also have a meeting and they sing also, but unfortunately I could not record this. There is some conflict within the school between some of the teachers which can make it an uneasy place to be, but it was crucial to witness this because it was a realistic part of the lifestyle they live and the culture clashes they experience. The headteacher is quite a character, and took me some time to get used to. He was fascinated about English culture particularly about how religion is taught in schools in the UK versus the teachings of evolution. When I told him I did not follow a faith and that nowadays in England, there are many people who do not practice a religion, he was almost speechless. In many parts of South Africa, religion is still very important. As I mentioned about the four churches nearby to the house, each one of those churches is different. One is an Anglican church, another is a baptist and the other two are entirely different again.
In terms of teaching, we had a really successful and enjoyable lesson teaching a Grade 6 drama class. Diane and Clare (the other two volunteers also teaching at the school) and myself all taught this class together. Clare became the authority figure as the children seemed to listen to her more, and Diane and I provided most of the teaching, and encouraged the children to get up and participate in the various games and exercises in front of their class mates.
After that class, my mentor teacher asked us if we could type up a maths exam paper for her on her laptop whilst she was teaching, as she needed it prepared for the next day. Although I was mainly teaching the arts, I was happy to help out with English and any other subjects – as long as I was helping and doing good, I was happy to pitch in wherever I could. It was a challenge though, as we had to draw 3D shapes on a laptop. I had a fun morning re-learning what a parallelogram was, and working out how on earth we could draw a square-based prism in a Word document. Luckily, Paint came to the rescue!
Anyway, that sums up days 3 + 4. Hopefully videos and photos will be up soon, but in the mean time some are on my Facebook if you are friends with me on there, then please take a look at them!
Thanks for reading 🙂