Nkandla Day 7 - Orphanage Visit

africa-zebrasSo I saw a zebra yesterday!!!! well a few zebras actually . it was so exciting and so unexpected. Yesterday and today we've been doing a leadership/service workshop with a group of the highschool students.  The building we gather at is basically on the edge of a mountain. when we pulled up yesterday morning there were a group of zebras just grazing away in the field next to us. I just about died of excitement as you might imagine. I spent the next 20 min creeping towards them trying to get as close as possible (got a couple of good pictures).  There was a group of spring bucks also grazing with the zebras. their horns looked as sharp as knifes: really regal-looking animals.

The workshop we've been doing with the kids has been really great. It's called The Points of Light Youth Leadership Institute. Its a federally run organization that "features a challenging series of lessons and exercises on community needs analysis, goal setting, team building, project planning, decision- making, and other leadership dynamics. The curriculum culminates in a service project, created and implemented by the participants, and a final graduation ceremony"

(taken from the website). It's kind of exciting because as we brainstorm the needs of their community, and come up with different hypothetical service projects, what these kids dont know is that they will be receiving a grant to actually carry out these service projects and help to make a different in their community.

Some of these kids have great ideas like starting a community garden, becoming peer mentors for the other kids at the orphanage, starting up a sports clinic where they teach the kids at the orphanage and kids around the community how to play sports, starting a clothing drive etc. I know I've said it before, but these kids really are so dedicated. They literally hang on every word that comes out of our mouths and are so eager to learn. I learned that at this particular school, they have class (particularly the seniors) 7 days a week.

There is a nation-wide "matrix test" that all the seniors must take and pass in order to graduate. The principal (whom they all respect and look up to) is very strict and has taught the students that their education and studying should come before anything else in their lives, including sleep. The students told me that the principal has forbade them to have gf/bf relationships with any of the other students and if caught, they would be severely punished. What's really impressive is that these kids ACTUALLY follow all these rules. They WANT to follow all these rules because they have also come to believe that education is the ticket.

Today has been really relaxed. got to sleep in til 8 AM! Wahoo! Then after breakfast, I read a book on the grass in the sunlight, and had to put on shorts cause it got pretty hot :). We decided that we wanted to make the sisters and volunteers something for lunch today, so we made them Mexican food!  It was suuuuper yummy and really nice to eat something familiar. The highlight of the day is when the sisters adopted a 6 week old puppy! Oh man I just about died. They says she's a poodle or something small but for now she's just a little white furball.

nkandla-hillsfireP.S. I posted some pictures so take a look at my facebook page. In a couple of pics you can see that the hills are on fire. Its really interesting cause it's just like the controlled fires we have in the US, only is literally done next to peoples homes.