Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Work - ugh!

Oh my the weather here just keeps getting better and better (sorry to boast I know those of you in the UK are having a crap time of it). 31oC today and is going to get hotter tomorrow. Unfortunately I spend most of my time in the office, in the jeep or in school and as yet I haven’t got much of a tan :-(

We have gotten into a routine now with what we are doing. The mornings are spent training the team in teaching and delivery techniques. I am looking at the singing they have been doing so far and then will bring in all the other music teaching, didn’t want to swamp them all in one go. We then travel to the schools, some of which are easy to get to right off the tarmac'd roads. Some of them are right in the middle of the villages down the tracks which I hold by breath and bite my lip every time I drive down. We spend 2-3 hours in the schools, one team to one school and another to a near by one. Then once that has finished we take round food aid parcels to the choir kids and a few other needy households, it usually works out at 3-5 houses each day covering the 50 kids in the two choirs.

Today I didn’t get to go into school as I had to drive a food aid parcel to one of choir 2 who lives so far away from civilisation it doesn’t seem possible. It was up on a mountain on the boarder of Swazi and
Mozambique and the views over the three countries were spectacular. However, it’s really hard to reconcile the amount of poverty there is in such a beautiful setting. Poverty in the West is usually confined to the inner cities and is ugly; poverty here is wide spread with the worst out in the rural areas which are the most beautiful. Its one thing I'm finding really hard to come to terms with, we drive into the villages and all these children start waving at us and shouting out 'Hello, how are you?' It seems to be the one English phrase they know, you should see their faces when I reply in siSwati, it’s so funny. Going to the schools or visiting the houses is not getting any easier and I'm glad, for if it was then that would mean that I am getting used to the poverty and that’s not something I would be proud of nor want. 

The food aid we take for a family of 8 is 12.5kg flour, 2L oil, 2kg sugar beans, 500g soup, 500g salt and washing soap and apart from anything that they can get from the land to flavour it that’s what they have to survive on for a month. I can’t even start to think about their diet but they survive and grow somewhat. They get a hot meal in school but it generally is not great, but at least it’s something.

This weekend we have 5 of the girls coming over for a girly weekend and I asked 2 of them yesterday what they wanted to eat - apples came the answer!!! Ask our kids at home and it would be sweets, crisps, chips and all kinds of crap. These guys wanted apples...and second came pizza, they are kids after all. We are planning a joint birthday party for me and Shirley, she is 13 on Fri. and I am *cough* on Sat so we are going to have a joint celebration together - I cannot wait.

Just before I go, for those of you who asked about the crickets, no we haven’t eaten them...yet. 2 Nights ago me and Mary went on a search and destroy mission and fond 6 of the buggers living behind the cupboards so we captured and killed them. No wonder we hadn’t had been getting good sleep. For the last 2 nights it’s been blissful but as I type there is at least one of them back and its driving me up the wall. i will have to destroy it tomorrow for if I leave it till the kids are here they WILL want to cook and eat what we catch. Updates on the crickets soon.

4 of the captured (still live) crickets

Traditional dance dress

Right off to bed, early start in the morning.

ERIN - Not too many pics ;-)
PHIL - Enjoy and send me pics please.
DAWN - Hope the week went well, been thinking of you all.

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