Nice to meet you . . .

Well it’s really nice to see you all making comments and ‘meeting’ each other. This is a good thing, except perhaps, for my son thinking I should bring home a spider. No thanks!

School is up and down. Trying to teach number patterns to Grade 8 today, and realising that some of them can’t even multiply by 10 yet. Many miss so much school, it’s a wonder they ever learn anything. And a couple of kids that I have in other classes who seem to have some severe learning problems. One little boy not only writes his letters backwards, but whole words right to left. Not any chance of him getting any special help out here either. It makes me want to cry because he *so* wants to learn and do things correctly, and he tries so hard.

The head of conservation and ecology education for the park (Mandla Tembe) has teamed with me and we’re holding an essay contest for Grades 7 and 8 at the school. They have to write an essay in English about a conservation topic. The best 5 from each class will be treated to a wildlife tour of the park. Most of them come from such poor homes that they’d never be able to afford to see the park under normal circumstances. I hope they do well.

Two of the girls that I’m doing the computer teaching for are doing really well. The other has only come once. She’s the youngest and is currently in charge of the kitchen at the lodge. I don’t think she’s far-sighted enough yet to see what an effect this chance could have on her life, but to be fair, she does have a lot of responsibilty.

I’ve only got a week-and-a-half left here now, and it makes me kind of sad on the one hand, as I really enjoy the people I’ve been working with. On the other hand, it will be nice to get around and see some of those other parts of SA that will undoubtedly be so different from where I am.

Things are kind of messed up too, as far as me getting back to Durban goes. Ernest will be in France, and so I’m supposed to go back with a British guy who’s an electrician and comes down here a couple times a year to help out. But he’s going back some days before I was supposed to leave, and some days before I have my reservations in Durban. Ernest was saying maybe he could change it and go back later, but I spent almost an hour on hold with Air France yesterday (and completely dumped my cell account so I have no way to contact anybody now) and still didn’t get an agent on the line to try and change my flight home. The whole airline/airport thing is even worse here than it is at home. This should be fun.

Trying to find some way to get to town tomorrow so that I can get some phone credits. Oscar is on his time off, so I really have no transport out of here. In some aspects, I’m feeling a bit as if I’m in Gulag. It’ll be nice to get someplace where I can get a taxi and go . . .

Kayleigh wanted some giraffe pics, so that may be all I put up tonight. There may be a duplicate or two from previous postings, but that’s OK.

Actually, can’t resist this first pic . . . Out for a Sunday afternoon stroll





How ya doin’ ?

Got some good video of this bunch



  1. Teana said

    The child struggling with his letters is likely seeing things upside down and or backwards, Do you have a mirror? Show him something written on paper or whatever in a mirror and ask him to copy it for you. If he writes them correctly that is likely his problem. My son had graduated grade 12 when I discovered he was seeing everythingwritten in reverse. Believe it or no one did not catch on that he was extremely colour blind and deslexic. I had him in several classes throughout the years for the learning diabled but one one ever told him why he was having problems. One day I asked him to write something down for me that I had written in a note for him. I told him to write it exactly as HE saw it. Upside down on some letters backwards for most. He also had a problem following a straight line across the page. We used to have him block of sections of the pages with book marks so he could read and make sense of it. His eyes would actually drop down a few lines in a paragraph if he was half way through a sentence.
    No idea how to help this boy since their education is so limited. He likely has a very high IQ It is so very frustrating.

    Good luck with your travel problems. I know Lou ran up against the same thing. It did all work out in the end but she was in fits for days getting things straightened out.I think you are likely further out than she was.

    Get some spider pictures for Eli. Sounds like he may enjoy them. LOL
    It is late here and really raining hard. Will turn in shortly. Hope you are having a good sleep. Night NIght TEana

  2. MT said

    Hi, grannym!

    Just a quick note tonight. Thought you would like this story from tonight’s Natal Witness – PMB’s newspaper. It’s never too late to learn. Maybe it is an article you’d like to share with your classes at school. (Thought better of sending you the story about the game ranger who had a close encounter with an elephant cow in Pilanesberg Reserve!) All for now. It’s bedtime in cool S. Ontario! MT

    101-year woman learns to read at last
    •Wed, 12 Sep 2007

    By Sphumelele Mngoma

    HISTORY was made yesterday in the adult education sector, when a 101-year-old grandmother was among 8 000 learners to graduate from the KZN government’s Masifundisane literacy programme.

    Bonezinkulu Magubane, who said she was born in 1906, said afterwards: “I grew up very poor and without parents. I am so happy Masifundisane gave me presence, I’m part of society now. I can read and write.”

    Magubane stood proud and tall in her graduation gown as she received a standing ovation.

    Another graduate, 93-year-old Sifisani Ntshangase, said she didn’t miss a day of classes. Ntshangase could not contain her excitement and had the crowd ululating in pride as she danced for joy. “Everyone used to know my name, but now I know it too. I used to go home and do my homework in my bed at night,” she said.

    The graduates can now read, write and count in Zulu.

    Premier S’bu Ndebele said currently there are 2,1 million people in the province of about 10 million people who cannot read or write. However, the government plans to totally abolish illiteracy by 2009.
    Ndebele said adult literacy should not be classed as just for old people and Londiwe Ndaba, the youngest graduate yesterday, was a classic example.

    Ndaba (19) said she dropped out of school at grade one because she was being teased.

    “I am very happy and my mother is very happy. My message to young people will be to go back to school because education is everything.”

    The occasion was concluded with testing for blood sugar levels and blood pressure, eye tests, and the distribution of 100 pairs of reading glasses and 150 walking sticks.

    Published: 12 September 2007
    Respond to this Article

  3. Kayleigh said

    Hey Maw!

    Thanks for the Giraffes! Second only to my love of heffalumps – I love that family pic.One of those giraffe pics you feel you could almost pet it and feel the coat…
    I’ve been making so many of your pics my work desktop that people are now coming by to see what’s new…

    Hope you get yourself sorted out soon – if there’s anything we can do from this end drop a line and we’ll do it.

    MT that is possibly the coolest story I have ever read! 🙂

    Teana, good to see your server is staying up long enough for you to write…
    Eli talks big but he doesn’t like bugs either… I KNOW… a spider is not really a bug but if they’re a creepy crawly and they bug me I classify them as bugs… 🙂 we’re SUCH girls! lol.

  4. Teana said

    More than 2 legs and creepy crawling in any way shape or form,,BUG. Squash it Swat it stomp it kill it or take a picture. LOL
    Hope you are having a really great day. Take tons of pictures. Hugs Teana

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