Let us count the ways:
- Weather is definitely cooling down- slept with a blanket last night and it felt so good.
- Took a 4 mile round trip walk to pick up pottery for a Volunteer we are going to see next weekend. On the way back there was a goat who had just given birth to twins and we watched the younger(?) one stand up for the first time.
- Today is a holiday- Labour Day- very relaxing- just woke up from a nap. Thursday is another holiday- Ascension Day. For those of you unversed in scripture and too impatient to google it (like we had to), Ascension Day comes 40 days after Easter Sunday and is the day Jesus left the mortal world and ascended to Heaven.
- Got everything done on our “to do list”! (including reorganizing the pantry/cupboard)
- We also learned on Friday that there is a Child Protection Committee in the Village that is comprised of the very stakeholders we are trying to reach with our community parenting initiative. We are very hopeful this will become the vehicle for carrying this project to fruition. Why no one has told us about this before now, remains a mystery but no matter, we know now.
- At the mall Saturday, Teresa stopped in at one of the stores she is going to get some of her grant funded equipment at. The refrigerator she had scoped out is no longer in stock and there was nothing for the same price- less expensive and smaller or more expensive for the same size. The wonderful department manager agreed to give her a more expensive one at the price budgeted- a P600 savings (only $60 but huge for the grant).
- Downloaded pictures from Teresa’s supervisor’s service learning project on learning through play and these were two favorites- let’s hear it for gender equality starting early! This project is bigger than it would appear. The whole educational system is based on rote learning and memorization starting in preschool. Teresa’s supervisor is in a certificate program for early childhood education/social work and has become a believer in the value of play in the early childhood environment. She needed a supervisor for her community project which she is doing with her own organization and she is the most qualified person working there. So given Gary’s 40 combined years in Early childhood/social work she asked him if he would supervise her project. She has decided that children might learn best through play. This preschool and as far as we can tell, all of them are very academic. We were both amazed when we first observed about how much it looked like regular school. Teresa mentioned at one time about learning centers and how that concept worked and her supervisor jumped right in. They developed four centers (store, clinic, house and art). We made play dough (which was a new thing to them). Last week they began playing in the centers instead of sitting at their tables and “being taught”. Gary got to observe and she and the kids did a great job. The kids had a great time. She then gave a workshop to the rest of her staff and they are supportive. Change is always hard and it is difficult for people to grasp that playing has value so we will see if it can be sustained. This coming Saturday we will have a Family Fun Day to bring it home to the parents (literally and figuratively). We did all this with no special funding (We contributed the flour and salt and food coloring. The stove is an old one the Centre had that no longer works and is getting replaced by a 6 burner commercial one through the grant we just got). Everything else we made from what we had or folks gave us. In terms of Peace Corps this will not be a “reportable” HIV/AIDS related activity for PEPFAR statistics other than when we talk about what we did this quarter but it means a lot in the long run if we can help to set these kids up for a more successful educational experience.