Today was the first day that we woke to a clear sky and the hope of a dry day. The walk in was spectacular with the sun rising over mountains above the township. Today the walk in was a pleasure and not a squelchy ordeal. We strided confidently across the fields eager to take on our field challenges; embracing our teaching and finishing the project. The walk was not without incident with Laura walking into a railway sign as we avoided the mud on the path. Genuine concern from the surrounding students erupted into giggles when they realised she was okay (as much as she ever is).
We arrived at school and started with assembly, one of our favourite times in the week. We hoped for our favourite song – Marching to Heaven and they did not let us down. Charlie led the thanks to the school with some generous words to the learners, teachers and the management of school for their patience and understanding during our visit. Lessons today went well on the whole and the standard did not slip until the final hooter sounded (a little earlier than expected as lesson 5&6 were cancelled for classroom cleaning).
Throughout the day the project teams had worked tireless both inside and outside the container. The book sorting team were led again by Kate who deserves special mention for her commitment to the cause sometimes sitting on her own working through the piles of books – she tells us that she is not a great reader but her and the rest of the team’s work will inspire others to read more.
The team working on the front on the Library continued to draw on the design and it looks like it will be stunning when it is finished. We will be in on Saturday morning to finish it off – we have come so far to reach this point. Credit to all the team who have worked so hard and with great care to make the library a focal point of learning.
The back of the library was transformed with the stencils of our inspiring Dr Seuss quote: “The more that you read, the more you know. The more that you know the more places you’ll go. This is almost finished but the afternoon winds caused chaos to our shelter which we made yesterday. This will be a great inspiration to the locals walking past the school. Another 2 hours and we should have it done.
After school we attempted the traditional pyramid photo with mixed success but eventually we made something that looked more like Table Mountain than anything that you might find in Egypt.
We finished up at school and walked through the other side of the township which the team had not seen. We saw the work of previous GRP teams as well as the impact of the monsoon style weather – many roads off the main street were impassable and helped us understand the challenge of township life.
Saturday will be a well earned lie in till breakfast at 7:45 and then we will be back to school to finish off before the formal fair well where our GRP choir will make its make their one and only performance before being disbanded.
Tonight after a lovely braai around the fire we had the Rosedale Olympics which saw the 3 teams Ubuntu, 9 seconds and Kick Ass go head to head over – the orange and spoon race, orange bowling, Cereal box challenge, indoor newspaper hockey, water bomb catching (in the dark). With all the teams within a point we had a double points orange passing game which saw Kick Ass take the trophy. Kick Ass took the overall prize by a couple of points to be crowded GRP champions, much to the disgust of team Ubuntu who have tried to bend the rules in many events!
All the leaders are so proud of the team and everything they have done – many have pushed themselves so hard and taken on challenges that have put them in positions where they have had to show character, resilience and determination to come through. They have been a wonderful team who have amazed the locals with their un-ending enthusiasm and selfless approach to the work we have undertaken. We (the leaders) have been privileged to work with such an inspiring group of young people.
This is not the end of the trip but it marks a major landmark on our journey. We can now look forward to 2 more relaxing days before we head home.
For the record the Hat of Shame went to Laura but she was run close by Hyun Jai for his spectacular muddy fall on the way home tonight.
Mark, Laura and Jo Jo