Tuesday 6 October 2009
This morning I went to the grade ones. Every morning before they start their work, they stand in a group at the front of the classroom and sing devotional songs. This morning, Mamma got me to stand with them and follow their actions to the song. This was a real African moment – to be in a classroom of beautiful African children, singing and dancing to an African song!

…I actually had quite a few grade ones come up to me at the end of the class, on their own accord, to thank me and say how much they enjoyed the Dr Seuss book I read to them!

I had my grade 8 class after morning tea…we worked on their drama… some of the groups performed what they had been working on. It was really satisfying to see the final products and actually feel like you have managed to get them to do something productive! A group of girls performed a short play they had made on the issue of alcohol abuse. There was also a group of boys who did a rap on HIV/AIDS. The whole class loved it! There was also one girl who had written a poem on the same topic. I was really moved by her writing and the maturity and honesty she brought to the poem. Lethukuthula Mabuakhulu wrote the following as an introduction to her poem:

“This poem is about HIV an AIDS. I wrote this poem to make people realise that life is not all about sex and all that. But to acknowledge that many people have died of HIV and AIDS and that it many children have been left alone to sometimes take care of their families, teenagers and brothers. HIV is a very out in the open disease that people have to protect themselves from. They say abstinence is a better way to increase a better future of a HIV free generation. All I am saying is, don’t let things that are being said about you offend you. Just take it and put it into a better understanding and let go of it. And don’t let your past determine what you are bound to be in the future.”

And the Nation Shall Die
As I fall to the night
I hear a cry
A cry of a nation
She’s gone
What has become of our nation?
For an orphan has been left
Left to fend for itself
Too many promises
More talk
Less work
We were friends
You know my status
You run away
You tell the nation
They say ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed.’
I saw a future, a bright future
But it never came
I saw a great success; success that disappeared
I saw a nation, a beautiful nation
Which turned me into a slave
A beautiful nation that became so cruel
It turned me into a victim

And the nation shall die
It shall die in the night
For a disease that eats you alive has risen
And the nation shall die

In the middle of one of these performances, all of the students in my class randomly ran out of the classroom! I had no idea what was going on… It turns out, that one of the senior teachers was physically fighting with a grade 10 student! I am still not sure of the specifics or what actually happened, but from my understanding, the teacher began the fight after the student was being extremely rude and disobedient. There have been many times where I have wanted to throttle students necks (seriously), but for a teacher to actually physically interfere with a student…can you imagine a teacher back home in Australia doing this…once again, all I can say is T.I.A!

Wednesday 7 October 2009
I was reading a tourist brochure today and came across a passage explaining the significance and meaning behind the African beads worn by women. Apparently, the earliest Zulu beads were made out of materials such as seeds, seashells and ivory and were coloured with dyes made from fruit, roots and mud. Whilst they are considered objects of adornment, perhaps the most important aspect is the message it carries. This is achieved through the various colours displayed in a piece of jewelry, all of which have different meanings; white is associated with purity, pink with poverty, blue with loneliness and green with pining. In the past, Zulu maidens would send long involved messages to their loved ones by ‘weaving thoughts of love, grief or jealousy, poverty or uncertainty into their creation.’

To be honest, I am currently fed up with the grade one math tutorials I have been doing! But, according to Mama I shouldn’t worry; ‘don’t worry teaching them anymore, they will get it tomorrow.’ What difference does it make! If they don’t get it today, they are probably not going to get it tomorrow either! As a result of Mama’s ‘theory’ we spent the rest of the lesson singing nursery rhymes – no wonder they don’t understand their math!

Thursday 8 October 2009
Today began with Mama trying to feed me more for breakfast than I wanted! I had eaten my usual cereal, but she insisted I have some avocado (not something I would normally have for breakfast!). She then told me that I should drink a cup of soup as a substitute for tea, since I do not like tea. Um…ok…two totally different liquids but anyway! I politely refused and hoped that she wouldn’t be offended. I heard from someone that it is rude not to take food when offered to you…

The grade ones practised their maths once again this morning, only this time I really struggled to be patient…I took two girls into the staff room to give them one-on-one tutoring. It was hard enough trying to get Nonsindiso to understand it, but when Mama decided to send in approximately another six more students (all rat-bag boys!) I just couldn’t cope! None of them were getting it and none of them tried to do any work unless I was speaking to them directly. This meant that whilst I was helping one student, all of the others were sitting there being silly or looking aimlessly around the room. I was just not getting through to any of them and the grade one teacher was sending more and more students into the staff room – this was no longer a tutoring session, but a whole class!

After tutoring the Swaziland girls at their home after school today, I started my walk home. I am enjoying walking home from school, however, I must admit, it is a long way and I am finding it is making me exhausted! By the time I get home, all I feel like doing is having dinner and going to bed! Unfortunately I cannot do this as there are a lot of chores and dinner preparations to be done and everyone must help. It is a cultural difference that I just have to get used to and adapt to, but still…I am just so tired by the end of the day and just want to go to bed!

Friday 9 October 2009
This morning Mum made Samkele cook me some meat paddies to take to school, even though I told her (as I have every day) that I eat the food from school! I felt bad standing in the kitchen watching Samkele cook MY food. As always, I offer to do it myself, but they always refuse.

I had the delightful pleasure of teaching my grade seven computer class this morning for periods two and three. Period one I went up to the computer classroom to prepare, only to find that the classroom lights were still not working. Because it was so overcast today, there was no way I could have taught a class in that room! It was so dark! The grounds-men were unable to fix it and did not have any spare lights (which doesn’t surprise me) so I went on a search around the school to find a spare classroom.

When the time came for my grade seven class, I had to argue with them the whole way to the new classroom. They were almost refusing to come as they had apparently been accused by another class and teacher for stealing something from the classroom we were going to…I eventually got them all in the room and then spent the next 10 minutes trying to get them all to sit down and be quiet. To make it worse, after the first half of the lesson, we had to find another free classroom as the one we had found had another class scheduled for the third period. So then I had to experience the whole saga again; getting them all out of the classroom, getting them to walk to the next classroom, getting them to actually walk in through the door of the classroom, getting them to find a desk and somewhere to sit (which is not always a chair as they are sometimes hard to come across), getting them to sit down and not move their desks randomly around the classroom, getting them to face the front and finally, getting them to be quiet and LISTEN! …and then if I’m really lucky, I’ll then try and get them to actually do some work!

This term, I have decided to teach the grade sevens about Australia…For this week’s lesson, I taught them about where I live in Australia and showed them a series of pictures of the Gold Coast. They were very impressed and many of the students tried to tell me that their parents were from Australia. One boy told me that his Mum lived in one of the high-rise apartments in the picture. As frustrating as it is to hear them lie straight to my face, it also made me think about what is going on in their minds. This is not the first time kids have tried to tell me that their parents are from Australia. And they always sound so serious and if I didn’t know better, so truthful; it’s as if they have this imaginary world in their mind that they can use to escape to a ‘better’ world; OUR world. They come up with some amazing stories that sound so convincing and so real. Maybe they hope that if they believe in it enough, that their dreams and ‘make-believe’ stories can come true?

Imagine being in this situation – where, at the very best, all you can do is pretend; to make believe that you or one of your family members live in a place like Australia – the place which you and I live in; the place that you and I don’t even think twice about; the place which offers each and everyone of us so much. We are not the ones in a community like Ingwavuma, where poverty is the norm, where diseases run rampant, where jobs are scarce. But, if you are lucky to find a job, it will either be as a teacher or government worker, or on a less appealing scale, at the SPAR as a check-out chick, a gardener, cleaner or laundry lady who must hand scrub every last particle of dirt out of every piece of clothing all day, everyday. Or for some, it is all about capitalising on the once-a-month Ingwavuma markets. They are happening today; it is here, that people bring in the fresh produce that they have grown at their homes (e.g. cabbage), or the piles and piles of clothes and shoes that they hope to sell (from the charity bins that you and I hardly think twice about at home).

Its only just ‘clicked’ for me; that there are people living all over the world, including the rural community of Ingwavuma that desire and crave Australia or a more westernised and opportunistic world; the world that YOU and I live in! Unfortunately, for most kids, the closest they will ever get to Australia is in their make-believe stories and fantasies that I hear in class.

Two grade seven girls came to the staff room to make some jewellery with the beads I bought. I also had a teacher make one! It reached the time for the next lesson to start and she had not yet finished. She was in no hurry to finish either! Eventually she decided she should better go to teach her class and finish it later!

… I started singing and dancing with some reception and grade one students who were in the playground. I taught them ‘Ring-a-Rosy’ and ‘Round and Round the Garden.’ They LOVED the second game, to the point where they were all shoving their hand into my face saying ‘me, me, me!’ They also taught me a song! Everyone stood in a circle and one person danced in the middle. They then had to pick someone who mirrored their hip-shaking moves, before taking their place in the middle of the circle. I even had two grade 12 boys join in. This is one thing I love about South African people. No matter who they are, how old they are or how cool they think you may be, they will always be happy to join in on little games with little kids, without feeling stupid or ‘odd.’ Here were two young gentlemen who were happy to spend time and play with the reception and grade one students! And the little kids loved it!

I got speaking to a young lady in the staffroom who does substitute work at Nansindlela. Currently, she does not have any degree. I asked how she got a job as a substitute and she said that they were just looking for someone who had passed matric. This made me feel a little better; sometimes I feel a little guilty for not having any qualifications to bring to the school. She said that she would love to go to university and hopes to one day study engineering. But, as is a common theme for South African people, she cannot afford to go to university at the moment.

This issue is something that I come across at Nansindlela day in and day out. Most of the students do wish to go to university, but unfortunately, a large proportion of them will not because they cannot afford to. Just this afternoon, I typed up a letter for Mbali, the grade 10 girl I have been tutoring. Mbali would like to go to university when she finishes her metric to study radiography. Although she is only in grade 10, she is already thinking about how she is going to finance her study (reality check: how many kids in Australia do you think worry about this in grade 10!?). She is hoping to establish a decorating business. To do this however, she is in need of donations. I admire Mali’s motivation and dedication.

Saturday 10 October 2009
I had three of our next door neighbours come over this afternoon. One of the girls is in grade 10 at a nearby school and wanted help with history and her english. She said that she needed help with the whole chapter on racism; apparently her teacher is not very good and she doesn’t understand ANY of the material, some of which will be on the exam at the end of the year. I really enjoyed helping her and got quite wrapped up in it all. …This girl has poor english, so after I had explained something to her, another girl then translated it into Zulu.

I also helped this girl and a grade 12 boy with their english. I taught them the difference between certain words (e.g. there, their) and sentence structures. At the end, she even asked me what homework I was going to give her! Wow! Dedication and a hunger to learn! Am I really still in Africa!

Sunday 11 October 2009
This morning I took Samkele to my church. Once again, someone all of a sudden became ‘possessed’ by spirits. I would suggest that they were evil spirits, as the lady seemed very distressed and it took her a long time to calm down. She even ran out of the room at one stage!

We caught a lift with Yito in the back of his fathers ute. Yito and his father told me to sit in the front and seemed surprised when they saw that I had already hopped in the back! There was something very ‘African’ about sitting in the back, driving along the edge of the top of the mountain to church!

Monday 12 October 2009
…Whilst I did not have any classes, I worked solidly all afternoon on a book of helpful english rules, words, sentence structures etc for any student, teacher, parent or random who would like a copy to help them with their english! I think this would be a great ‘gift’ to leave behind – and it is something that they will always be able to use!

I walked home from school most of the way, but was picked up by Mum and Dad on their way home. I jumped in the back of the ute – I got the weirdest stares by a group of girls – they just kept staring at me, almost in disbelief – did they really just see a white girl in the back of a ute!

I was tired by the time I got home, but Mum asked me to cook some broccoli and fetch some beetroot from the garden. I enjoyed picking fresh produce from the garden – even if I was unsure as to which plant was the beetroot and how on earth to retrieve it from the ground! I then made a complete mess on the kitchen table pulling off all the soil and cutting all the leaves off, but it was worth it, as we now have some MASSIVE beetroots to cook and eat! (I sound like such a spoilt Australian girl don’t I!)

Tuesday 13 October 2009
The grade one teacher came into the staffroom to ask me how to do a work sheet she had printed off for the class today. Gee – if she couldn’t work it out, than how on earth would the grade ones! …It was a very simple task and required them to count how many red coloured, blue, green and yellow coloured pairs of shoes were in the picture, before colouring in the correct number of boxes to show this. The only problem was that the photocopier was not coloured, so I had to tell Mama that they probably wouldn’t be able to do the sheet. Never mind! Mama said she would just let them colour in the picture instead (i.e. instead of practicing their math!)

I caught Velapi (well actually, he knew I was in the room and he wouldn’t have cared less who saw him), one of the so-called school administrators in the staffroom today with his bare feet up on the desk and his body sprawled over a chair snoring his head of sleeping! And the teachers didn’t seem to care one bit!

After school I visited my friend from church, Yito, who I am teaching some church songs to. Whilst I was waiting for him to get back from SPAR, I met his brother, John. John is 29 years old, has a wife and two kids and has just started grade 10 at Ingwavuma High! Up until the beginning of this year, he had not been to school since he was in grade 6.

John is originally from Mozambique. He grew up during a time of war and conflict…It got to the point where the leaders of the two political groups who were fighting were sending the local Mozambique people overseas to work as slaves and produce weapons and war machinery! Consequently, Mozambique became a very impoverished country. John said it got the point where he had to drop out of school and at fifteen years of age, start training to become a mechanic to help financially provide for his family. When he was at school, he said that he and the other students often went without food for the whole day. Many would also come to school with what we would dismiss as ‘rags’ for clothes.

Now, at twenty nine years of age, a wife and two children, John has done what many people do not bother to do, and go back to school. At 29, he now sits in a classroom full of teenagers – of ‘kids.’ After finishing his metric, he hopes to study business management at University. He said that whilst he does have his own mechanic business, he would like to gain the necessary skills to better assist him as the owner of the business. He said that it is one thing to run a business like he is doing now, but another to actually take it to that next level and bring wealth and success to it! I really admire his determination and thought of mind – it truly was inspirational talking to him.

One point John did mention, which I found really interesting, was that sometimes he could not go to school because he could not physically walk on the searing hot sand! He said he was forced to stay at home because his family could not afford to buy him shoes to wear. I appreciate this now that I have been to Mozambique and seen how much sand there is! It is exactly what I expected Africa to be like – red dust and dirt everywhere. I can only imagine what it must be like during the high temperatures of the summer months!

Wednesday 14 October 2009
After school I tutored Menzi from grade 11. He came to me on his own accord last week, to ask me if I would help him with his spelling and pronunciation.

I had no idea what level he was at, so I didn’t really plan any worksheets; I thought it would just be best to do a variety of different questions with him for a variety of different areas of skill. Turns out…his english is REALLY poor! He had so much trouble trying to read the words I gave him, even though they were very simple! Unfortunately, Menzi could not even sound out the words!

I decided my plan of attack would be to teach him the sound that each letter of the alphabet makes so he could then use this to sound out and better pronounce each word. For the hour I was with him, it took me the majority of the lesson to help him understand and remember the sounds. After this, I gave him a series of words that he had to break down into smaller parts…
At 3:40, I ask Menzi when he needed to leave. I don’t think he realised we had been working for just over an hour, as he immediately said, ‘oh, I need to go.’ Menzi, as do most students at Nansindlela, normally has a transport pickup after school. He pays the driver a certain amount per term for this. He seems so keen to improve on his english, however, that he (and his parents) are willing to forgo this cost once every week so he can have a lesson with me. He told me the reason he had to leave was because he had to hitch all the way home. And apparently ‘all the way home’ is a long way from the school for him.

I received a text from Yito today in regards to us catching up to practice the church songs. He wrote: ‘My lovely friend…I’ll call u 2morrow.i like to be with u Ishlee&the way u sing.i and u we are going to make something great through music, God bless u bye.”

Friday 16 October 2009
I had the grade sevens for a double period. They continued with their Gold Coast and Australian animal drawings – some of them anyway; actually only a small minority did, the rest just sat there. When I asked them why they were not doing their work, they told me they had no paper.

Some students had finished their work with about half and hour to go and asked if they could go outside to play ball. I was so over it by that point that I said yes – after all, they were only going to run a-muck in the classroom disturbing others. Without me noticing (because I had been trying really hard to ignore them the whole lessons), the group of horrible boys also left the room. Before I knew it, they were all running back into the classroom – Rose, one of the teachers, had chased them back to class wondering why on earth they were not in class. It was great actually – the boys not only got in trouble for leaving the classroom without permission, but also for not doing their work! I just hope that this will change their attitude and behaviour in class for next week! (But then again, I am almost certain it wont!)

After lunch I got a text from Jesse saying that he has to go home really soon due to personal issues and that I should come down to spend the weekend with him…So, it became a quick and last minute decision that I would go down to spend the weekend with him and Eliza. Before I left, I took grade 11 student, Ziee to the post office to post a letter to my sister Brooke. She had never posted a letter before and had no idea what to do! It was such an experience for her!

Saturday 17 October 2009
Jesse, Eliza and I awoke bright and early at 5:30 this morning with the intention of catching a taxi to Richards Bay early so that we would have a full day to explore…
When we arrived, we were directed to a taxi that had absolutely no one else inside! Great! We waited and waited but by 8:00, we all had a really bad feeling that this was going to be a VERY long day. Jesse and Eliza took me for a tour of the local ‘CBD’ which I might add, includes Boxer – another supermarket! They have two supermarkets! When we went to check on the taxi, it was still empty so we decided not to bother and to just stay in Manguze for the weekend. We planned our day – go the library (what…there is nothing else to do), have lunch at Maputaland Lodge and spend the weekend watching DVD’s on Jesse’s laptop. We sat out the front of the library waiting for it to open at 9:00 when Janice Hall phoned. Janice is the local representative for Latitude who Jesse has been speaking to about his current situation. She said she didn’t mind if we arrived late and that we should still come to Richards Bay! This was enough encouragement for us to go back to the taxi rank and to our surprise, only have to wait for about another half and hour before we left! This was 10:30 though!!! (Think of the extra sleep we could have had!)

It took three hours to get to Richards Bay. This of course, was because of the alarmingly high speeds the driver was doing! A few times I checked the speed gage – we were doing, on average, between 130-140km/h! A few times he seemed to drop back his speed and I actually checked his speed gage because I did not understand why he had slowed down so much…we were still doing 100km/h! Eliza and I sat in the front which provided us with a good view, but also probably the most deadly seat in the whole taxi! We both couldn’t help but have visions of us stopping suddenly or crashing and us flying though the front window! At one stage, the driver put his seatbelt on and asked us to do the same. Eliza’s middle seatbelt did not work so she had to pretend, but mine was functioning which was surprising! But why did we all of a sudden need to put our seatbelts on!? Before we knew it, we had past a police check point and before we knew it, the driver had whipped his seatbelt back off in the blink of an eye…I kept mine on for the remainder of the journey!

We arrived amongst an old shopping centre complex. We knew there would have to be a better shopping mall somewhere, so we asked a taxi driver where we should go. He said he would take us there for R20. Great – a cheap taxi ride! No sooner had we got into the taxi, were we at the Boardwalk Shopping Mall. No Joke! It was across the road – walking distance! Unfortunately, because we had not seen it behind the building in front of it, we had no idea how close it was! I was SO ANNOYED and nearly said something to the driver, but Eliza stopped me, saying ‘its only R20, let it go.’ ARGH!

The shopping centre was small, but it was relatively new and still very nice inside. We had lunch at a nice restaurant be who had offered to pick us up to take us back to her house. Along the way she showed us various parts of Richards Bay, including some lovely houses which backed onto a canal – it looked just like the Gold Coast.

That night we had a lovely home-cooked meal! We even sat at the table together and ate as a family! I miss doing that so much!

Sunday 18 October 2009
Janice’s parents live in a granny flat next to her house. This morning we went over to the grandparent’s house for church. It was so cute! The little old man is a retired priest. Apparently he is quite senile and is becoming rather forgetful and the only thing he can really hold onto, his is faith and being a priest – Sunday mornings is his time to shine! We entered into their cute little granny flat where they had lit some candles, brought out the communion cups, bible stand etc – made it look like a tiny little church! There was only about twelve of us in the room, so it made for a beautiful little service! A few times the priest (Steven) lost his place or so forth, so Mike, Janice’s husband would help him – it was adorable! The service only lasted 40 minutes (which was a far cry from the 2 hour services in Ingwavuma). After this, we sat outside on their verandah and ate fresh scones and rolls with homemade jam for breakfast! Yum!

We caught a taxi home after this service and I arrived in Ingwavuma mid afternoon.
‘Mum’ seemed very happy to see me, just as much as I was happy to see her. It felt so good to be home!

Monday 19 October 2009
I took some of Simon’s classes today as he was away, as well as the grade 6 Arts and Culture Class. I was meant to just be assisting this class, but the teacher, Ge Ge, decided to leave the room for the whole lesson – saying she had to go and photocopying some sheets! I didn’t mind this until the class started misbehaving and getting really ratty! Here we go again – crowd control!!!

Wednesday 21 October 2009
On the way to school today, Dad suddenly says ‘we have run out of petrol.’ Oh well, I thought, the car is still working, so there must still be some left! Whilst there may have been some, there was obviously very little, as just as Dad went to drive over the edge of the road into the petrol station, the car stopped…we had definitely run out of petrol! As is always the way with Murphy’s Law, we were literary only eight or so meters from the petrol tank! We all had to get out and ‘Dad’ and another person pushed the car over the edge of the road so the car could roll over into the petrol station so we could fill up!

Luckily, I still managed to arrive at school in time for assembly. Once again, I gave out the GAP Star awards which are still highly regarded by all of the students!

…This afternoon, no one turned up for tutoring. I thought that Menzi would have, but he didn’t even come! I sometimes feel useless when I don’t end up doing these tutoring classes, but I have to keep reminding myself that there is only so much I can do – the rest is up to the students. In other words, I can offer things to the students, but it is up to them to turn up!
This evening was great! Nina and I went to Simon and Ruth’s house for dinner and Bible study. …I had a chat to Simon about the way assessment is marked in South Africa. Apparently, from grade ten onwards, the student’s exams at the end of the year test everything that they have learnt since the beginning of grade 10! This would be hard enough for the grade tens who have to learn and remember a years worth of information, but I can not begin to imagine what it must be like for the poor grade twelve’s! He also said that the term four exams count for 75% of the student’s total marks, with the other 25% being from exams and assignment given throughout term one, two and three. Essentially, if they ‘bomb-out’ in their term four exams, they end up failing the whole year.

Thursday 22 October 2009
…My family is so thoughtful. They pick up on everything I say! When I first moved into their house, I remember commenting on the fact that everyone uses butter here instead of olive oil. They said they do this because Olive Oil is too expensive and vegetable oil is not good for you. Tonight, they got out a brand new bottle of Olive Oil that they had ordered in from the SPAR! This is so thoughtful but I feel a little uncomfortable about it – I don’t want them spending money (on expensive products like this just for me!

Mum has also found out that I love avocados – she bought some for me the other day. When Dad was in Jozini, he bought me a punnet of strawberries! Yum! I hadn’t eaten strawberries since Australia! Mum also bought me a bountiful supply of yogurt and some muesli!!!

Friday 23 October 2009
For my grade seven class this morning, I photocopied a blank map of Australia and got them to look in an atlas to find the names of each state, their capital cities and the surrounding oceans, to draw a compass indicating north, south, east and west and to finally colour it in. I thought this task would have been relatively easy for grade sevens, but it actually turned out to be nothing but a circus!

I had students who wrote random places instead of just what I had asked them. This included things like rivers and mountains. Then there were those who thought Queensland was in Western Australia and Western Australia was Queensland, a girl who called South Australia South Africa, those who could not spell correctly even though all they had to do was copy the word from the atlas…the list goes on…and on!

I even had a girl who wrote ‘Southern Haman Sea.’ Haman was the brand label on the map!

Even the girls who do put in an effort lacked the basic skills of map drawing. They were able to identify what each state was called and its respective capital city, but they wrote the capital city anywhere within the state. On one of the girls map, Brisbane was over near the State’s western border. Another student had Darwin down near Alice Springs! As for good ol’ Tasmania – some of the boys spelt it ‘Tanya.’

Most students wrote in pen despite me telling them to use pencil. When it came time for them to hand their work in, I had one boy bring me a crumpled piece of paper – he had scrunched it up and unfolded it again! He had done next to no work and the work that he did do, he had scribbled with a blotchy pen.

By the end of the lesson, the desks and chairs where in a complete shemozzle (as per usual) and when I asked them all not to leave until they had tidied the room, they all ran away thinking it was a huge joke! (As per usual)

Saturday 24 October 2009
This morning I rose out of bed at 5:15 to be up at the starting point for the Ingwavuma marathon by 6:00. The sunrise was beautiful this morning! It was so peaceful walking – it was quite and there was very little wind, only a few people about and hardly any cars! It was gorgeous! I did, however, have a car flash his lights at me and pull over to ask me if I had a husband. I quickly said no and shut the door in his face and walked off…

I decided to walk the 10km run with Deepa. Deepa is originally from Durban and is working as an occupational therapist at the hospital. I am still being cautious about my back and I actually didn’t mind the idea of just having a nice, relaxing walk. Normally, I am always so fired-up and competitive I can’t help myself, but for one of the first times ever, I actually felt like just taking it easy!

Maybe it had something to do with how little people there were who competed and how laid back everything was! Once everyone had registered, we all jumped in the back of a buggy (three buggies was enough to transport all competitors) and headed out to the 10km and 21km starting points (Quite different from the Gold Coast Marathon!)

I cannot believe how AMAZING the walk was! The view was absolutely SPECTACULAR! Because we were 10km out of the main area of Ingwavuma, it was a lot more ‘country-living’ and ‘rural’ looking (yes, the central part of Ingwavuma now seems ‘busy’ to me!)

The course began on a steep incline and because Ingwavuma is on top of a mountain, the hills never seemed to stop! It was amazing to look in front of me and see a single dirt track winding its way up and then down the mountain – it was indescribable. What made it even more impressive, was the many traditional Zulu huts I saw – some round and traditionally thatched, others square and made out of stones held together by sticks. Combine this with the amazingly green grasslands, the indescribable view of Swaziland and the groups of children playing along the dirt road and you may be able to begin to envision just how beautiful Ingwavuma is…but then again, unless you have been here, you will NEVER appreciate its real beauty – it truly is indescribable!

Sunday 25 October 2009
This morning I woke up for church with my Zulu family. The preacher today was my Zulu Dad! At one stage, when the congregation was singing, they all went a little ‘ballistic’ and started screaming and crying – just another ‘moment’ in Africa!

Monday 26 October 2009
I tutored a grade ten girl from Iscelthoseto to help her with her history. I have helped her once before and I cannot believe how much better her english is since I last saw her! She said that it was because of me and that she is so lucky to have someone like me to help her!

I walked home from school with one of my brothers, Sne today, when he nearly got run over by a passing car! I was walking on the grass next to the road and he was walking as close to the edge of the road as possible. Before we knew it, a car who was heading in the same direction as us (and therefore should have been on the other side of the road), flew past us, trying to overtake the car in front of him that was also flying. It all happened very quickly, but I remember feeling the wind of the car as it went past us. Sne said the car mirror almost hit him! I HATE drivers in Ingwavuma!

Wednesday 28 October 2009
After many hours of preparation and planning, I finally finished the english booklet I decided to make for any one wishing to have a copy. The only problem at the moment, is that I am unsure how I am going to print it! The booklet is at least fifteen pages, which means even printing one copy will be a challenge. The school is running low on paper, so much so, that each teacher has been given one ream of paper each, which they must use for their exam paper photocopying. So, if the school is low on paper, how on earth am I meant to expect to get any! I’ve thought about buying my own ream, but I have no idea where I will be able to get one from. The option is charging people who want the booklet a small fee, just enough to cover the cost of the paper. But, before I get too excited, the staffroom printer does not actually work at the moment! I was using it today, when all of a sudden it started making an awful noise. Somehow there is a bunch of staples stuck inside of it!

Thursday 29 October 2009
I told a few students today that next week would be our last week at Nansindlela before head of to Kosi Bay to teach at Eliza’s school for two weeks. They were surprised and all hated the thought of me leaving so soon!