Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Today began with a trek to Mmeshi Primary to say goodbye to the kids at their early morning assembly. They sang, danced, and said thank you when I told them that the time has come for me to go home and that I will never be coming back. Naturally, I hope this is false as I would LOVE to come back some day, but it seems cruel to jump the gun on that announcement at this point. I was grateful that I was presented with the opportunity to say goodbye to all of the learners at once instead of having to repeat it over and over again to each individual class room.. I don’t know if I’d have been able to hold it together.
After assembly I met with the principal and the teacher with whom I ran the BIGs and littles program. I brought the bin of books over from my place, and we spoke about the continuation of the program as I gave them the certificate template and vision/mission statements with directions on the project implementation process, should things need a jumpstart. I anticipate this will be the case. There is a new teacher, Mr. Tau, this year, and he seems wonderful. Very enthusiastic and driven to improve the state of things at Mmeshi, which both I and Principal Macaba are overjoyed to see. I spoke with both of them about the possibility for Mmeshi to receive more books, and gave them a list of domestic and international donation resources. I’m actually very optimistic that the resources will, in fact, get utilized. Mr. Macaba is genuinely a great Principal who cares deeply for his student’s wellbeing and success and is immensely supportive of them. I don’t assume to know everything about the education system in South Africa but to my experience, Principals like this are very few and far between. Mohlarekoma is lucky.
After Mmeshi I walked to visit with another phenomenal Principal at Makwe Secondary where I taught Life Orientation and held my Girls Club last year, to schedule my farewell. I’ll go back on Friday before I leave to talk to them at their morning assembly.
The rest of the day was spent cleaning my room, drawing/designing craft paper handbags with kids, and accepting a steady stream of learners coming from Mmeshi with farewell cards that they had made at school that day. Jessica came to say goodbye too. “You mean you’re never coming back?” she asked. I told her no, that it is time for me to go home, and she nodded as tears flowed silently down her cheeks. I gave her a hug and wished I could take her with me. She has grown so much in the past two years I’ve known her, transforming at least superficially from that scared, abused child knocking on my door at 11pm, into this tall, confident, ever kind young lady. Her written and spoken English has improved immensely, and I’m very hopeful for her future. My hope is that her community gives her the support she’ll need as she leaves Primary School in the next couple of years and heads to the minefield that is Secondary.