Today we met with Liesel King and Sintu Quza who are The Kusasa Project’s only two full time employees. We were also able to meet with one of the founders, Doug Gurr, who is as energetic and enthusiastic about life as he is about his program.
Our morning began with a drive into one of Franschhoek’s townships called eTyotyombeni. The scenery consisted of shacks, garbage and unemployed residents hanging up just washed clothing. Everyone stared at our bus with The Kusasa Project emblem. All the way up the hill we stopped at our first school of the day, the Dalubuhle School. The school is made out of cement and is very stark. There were two sides surrounding a courtyard. One side is compiled of classrooms accommodating grades R through 4, and the other side has classrooms with grades 5 though 8. Grade R is equivalent to our U.S. Kindergarten. When we arrived at the school, one of the classes was finishing up lunch and washing their plates and spoons then returning them to a bucket. The South African Government provides the school with a lunch and some fruit for a snack. We were able to walk inside three of the classrooms we will be teaching in. Having one of the lowest passing rates in math, our Kusasa Project friends would like us to help out especially in the “Maths” as they call it here. One of my short-term goals is to get the teachers and students to become familiar with using math manipulatives and to help the students learn and understand the counting principle. We have until August 8th to do so.
Our second school that we visited is not located within a township, but teaches many of the children who live in the shacks. As we pulled up to the Wes Eind School, one of the government employees was dropping off a shipment of oranges and cabbage for the children to eat. There we met the principal and a very friendly woman named Ester, who has turned her old classroom into a new library for the students to enjoy.
Tomorrow will be our first day teaching, and I am excited to make some kind of impact on these children’s lives.