Sadly, I have left Ingwavuma and headed on to the text part of my journey. Nina and I are helping Eliza at her school in Manguzi for the next two weeks. I can’t help but feel a little homesick – Ingwavuma was my home away from home and I won’t be going back again (a least not this trip anyway!)
In the week after leaving Ingwavuma, I received some lovely text messages.
Yito text saying “keep in contact with me. Is so deficult to me say goodbye but theres no way so have a good journey to manguzi.” 20 minutes later he wrote: “my lovly frd i have started to day to miss for this short time u left me at the church. How much more while u are going to be in Austrelia. I will miss you a lot.” Half and hour later he wrote: “so Ashlee, you are special person to me I thank for everything that u did to me, i enjoyed to be with u. I wish u all the best God bless u a lot. Ill phone u bye.” He also sent me another text and said “one day u & i well be 2gether in austrelia as a famour singer or artist with yr voice.”
Sabelo, a staff member at Fancy Stitch also text me to say “Goodbye Ashlee missing already. Come back please, i’m so sad!!! I will contact u.” I replied to say that I missed him to and that one day I hope to visit Ingwavuma again! He replied saying “yes of cose. Don’t wait. I’m looking at Queensland oh it lovely. Loving u a lots.”

Friday 13 November 2009
…For the first two periods I tutored two of Eliza’s students. I then had her grade four class for technology. And, as has been the case for this past week, they were absolute angels (African standards of course!) and in comparison to Nansindlela students! For the remainder of the day, I taught grade 4, 7, 8 and 9 computing classes. There were about 10 computers working in the staffroom (which also acts as the computer lab) so I had to rotate the kids and take 10 out of the classroom at one time. The staffroom is incredibly small, so as you imagine, the room heated up really quickly once all of the machines were turned on! Nevertheless, the school has computers…and apart from about four of them, they ALL work! This is a far cry from Nansindlela! There are three working computers in the staffroom, which are only used by teachers.

Saturday 14 November 2009
This afternoon I began marking my grade 4 EMS class work. They are currently revising for their exam, which is in a week’s time. I got them to do mind-maps for which they had to write everything they could remember about malaria, tuberculosis, cholera and HIV/AIDS. Boy, did I get some interesting answers…and I mean REALLY interesting!!!
Some of them included:
– You should not drink and drive when you have malaria
– You should not eat soil when you have TB
– You should not drink alcohol because you will end up having sex and getting AIDS

Sunday 15 November 2009
This morning one of Eliza’s local Manguzi friends came to pick me up to take me to her church. We walked for about 20 minutes through little sandy and beaten tracks in the middle of nowhere. We passed lots of shack-like houses and miniature maize gardens (all of this on sand of course!) The church was part of a missionary, which consisted of a few houses (one of them for volunteers – this was the only one with electricity and cooking appliances…and a flushing toilet!) The rest of the missionary has no flushing toilets, no electricity and everyone must cook outside on a fire!
Church went from 10:00-12:00. It included LOTS of singing. I could not believe how energetic everyone was – the adults were jumping and running around the room to the songs – they were just like children! A few times, the leader(s) of the service stopped everyone from singing to say that there were some people who were not energetic enough – that they looked bored. The church even had a translator for the Bible readings just for me!

Monday 16 November 2009
…After school, all of the staff stayed behind for the GAP farewell party! When Eliza, Nina and me walked into the reception room where the party was being held, all of the teachers were sitting around tables which where joined together to create one long table in the centre of the room. On it was a stack load of food and drinks! It was party time!
There was lots of food – cakes, lollies, chips, biscuits, viennas, cheese, fruit, chakalaka, bread and salad! The school had also organised a massive sponge cake from Boxer (big South African food store). It had our names iced on the top – ‘Bunvoage Eliza, Anina and Ashlee.’ Clearly their French is not as good as their English!
… Eliza, Nina and I were absolutely gob-smacked by the behaviour of the teachers! The minute Madam Tembe finished her speech, all of the teachers pretty much flung themselves onto the table. It was a cat fight trying to get food – everyone was only worried about themselves – they pushed and shoved and had their hand over the person in front of them, ready to take the serving spoon off them! Eliza, Nina and I felt so rushed – we had to be quick to even get food, despite the fact that there was PLENTY to go around (or so we thought). We then sat on the chairs scoffing our food down so we could quickly get some cake for desert before it all went!
During the whole party, not one of the local African teachers came up to talk to us or say goodbye – they were too busy worrying themselves about the food…Nina, Eliza and me have decided that most of the teachers probably didn’t even know what the party was for!
But it didn’t end there! When it was time to leave, many staff members grabbed a plastic bag or cup or whatever they could find and stuffed it with food to take home with them! And they weren’t just taking one or two slices of cake – they were taking as much as they could get their hands on!!! Some even took whole loaves of bread!
By the time we left, we were exhausted – it had begun and ended in less than an hour!
…Later on in the evening, I realised my phone was missing! I searched my room high and low, but could not find it anywhere!

Tuesday 17 November 2009
…Today I had my grade 4 EMS class. We continued working on the worksheets from the previous class. I marked most of them this afternoon – OMG! The majority of the students got pretty much EVERYTHING wrong – it was actually really depressing! One of the questions asked them to describe in one sentence why the people listed were considered leaders. I got the weirdest most absurd answers, including ‘in this unit we will be learning about world leaders…’ They had obviously copied this straight out of their book! Another question was, list 5 words that describe a good leader. One student wrote, ‘banana, apple, mango, milk, water.’ Eliza told me that sometimes the students can’t be bothered, so they just write anything that comes to mind!
…The grade 3B teacher was away today so Nina and I took it in turns to supervise the students doing worksheets…They were so naughty! By the afternoon, however, I had them under better control. I had threatened them – and it worked! I had a few students who I made stand in the middle of the classroom with their hands on their heads in front of the entire class! This was enough to keep most of the kids quite!

Wednesday 18 November 2009
…I donated the recorders I had left over to Lorraine today for her pre-grade R class. She was very excited, even more so when I gave her two recorder books, one with a CD! In the afternoon, I went and took some photos of them – lets just say Lorraine is going to have a headache after every music class she does with them – they just made screeching noises the whole time!
Friday 20 November 2009
It was our last day at school on a latitude placement in South Africa FOREVER! I cannot believe it is all actually over, although I do feel as if it hasn’t actually sunk in it yet.
We didn’t do any work as we had finished and finalised everything with our classes…We had the grade fours before morning tea for three periods, in which time we played games with them. ..At then end of the lesson, two of the girls wrote a message on the blackboard for me, saying ‘we love you – you are the best in all our class Miss Ashlee.’
Tonight, Jane, Sizwe and his friend came over. Jabulo was also there. We were all in Eliza’s room when Nombiselo and her beautiful baby came over to say goodbye to us all for the final time…Eliza, Nina and I sat in the kitchen with her…. Jane, Sizwe and his friend went outside whilst they were waiting for us… Jabulo stayed in the room watching a movie on my laptop.
… Eliza went back into her room at one stage to find her ipod and ear phones missing. She was absolutely certain that she had placed the ipod in its dock to listen to after Nombiselo left. She knew that she also had her earphones hanging on the wall…and now they were gone. Eliza was really upset and immediately started crying. The others came back in from outside and from then on in – the night was a blur.
The thing that confused us all was that Eliza was absolutely positive the ipod had been in its dock along with the ear phones on the wall. And we also absolutely knew that no one, besides the people that were already there, had been in her room. We obviously knew it wasn’t Eliza, Nina or me and we had complete and utter faith in Jane and Sizwe as they have always been so supportive when things have gone missing previously. When my MP3 player went missing, they refused to let anyone go until it was found. Sizwe searched everyone and Jane threatened to call the police. This therefore left Jabulo and Sizwe’s friend. I had only seen Sizwe’s friend once and Jabulo – well, we all trusted him.
Jabulo and I have been getting along well, so I took him into the bathroom and asked him if he knew anything about it. He said ‘how could I possibly do something like this to Eliza after all she’s done for me? She is my friend…’ He sounded sincere too. But then I asked him if he noticed any of the others acting weird whilst Eliza, Nina and I were out of the room or if anyone had come up to the window. He said he no, because all he did in the room was watch the movie – he didn’t pay attention to anything else going on…
Nevertheless, when we were all in Eliza’s room together, I couldn’t help but notice Jabulo was keeping awfully quite, even when the others were pointing the finger straight at him. Eliza, Nina and me would have never even thought to point the finger at him, but the whole situation did not make sense! No one else had been in the room at ANY stage of the night – someone had to have it and it had to be either him or Sizwe’s friend.
Eliza went and got Peter, one of our neighbours, who called the police for us. We had told everyone that if they had it, just to give it back now, otherwise they would have to deal with the police instead. It didn’t matter – no one owned up, so we had no choice but to get the police involved. I can’t remember why I walked out of the room, but when I went back in, everyone was shouting and screaming at the top of their lungs. All of them were trying to beat Jabulo up. I thought it was because they were assuming it was him and were trying to get him to tell the truth. I tried to get everyone to stop…there were punches being flown everyone…until I saw Jabulo with the ipod in his hand. OMG! I was absolutely furious! At the same time, my legs were shaking. How on earth could he do this!? The fact that he looked at me in the eye when I took him into the bathroom and swore to God that he didn’t have it…we were supposedly good friends…OMG!
It was then that I realised he must have my mobile phone. He was the only person who was in my room on Monday night and if he was capable of stealing Eliza’s ipod pretty much in front of everyone, than he was capable of stealing my phone too! When I asked him, he kept denying, denying, denying, saying he would never do that to me and that he didn’t have it…At one stage I grabbed hold of his jumper and yelled into his face – I, along with everyone else, had no reason NOT to believe that it wasn’t him!
Just before the police arrived, he told us that he didn’t have it but knew who did. He said our other so-called friend, Mongeze had it…
The police arrived and after Eliza explained what had happened, I also brought up the mobile issue and showed them the statement I had made on Tuesday at the police station. They then took him out to the car and put him inside the back carrier section. A couple of times, the police went over to him and tried to get some answers out of him about my phone. It was awful. Eliza and I stood outside listening to him cough and choke – who knows what the police were doing to him… Jabulo called out Eliza’s name every now and again – it made me feel sick to hear his voice. At the same time, I hated the fact that the police were probably going to give him a beating.
We went over to Mongeze’s house and called out for him to unlock the door and speak to us. He didn’t answer. We knew he was home, but the police said that they couldn’t get in and that we should therefore give them a call tomorrow when we saw him. The police told me that they would ‘make Jabulo sweat’ so that he would tell them any information he knew about the where-abouts of my phone.
They then took him to the station before driving him home to his parents. Eliza didn’t want to arrest him as it would have meant that she would have had to hand in her ipod to act as an exhibit in court and who knows how long until the court date would be.
Saturday 21 November 2009
…we were woken this morning by someone knocking on our door…I walked into the kitchen to find Mongeze sitting there with Eliza. When we questioned him about where my phone was, he said he didn’t have it…How on earth could we believe him! How could we believe anyone anymore! Eventually he told us that he didn’t have it, Jabulo did. We didn’t understand why Jabulo would lie to the police about this – why he wouldn’t admit to taking it as well, but Mongeze kept saying he didn’t have it.
We told him that he had thirty minutes to get it back to us or else we would ring the police. An hour and a half later we saw him walking back into the mission .He started walking towards his house instead of ours. Eliza and I quickly walked over to him, scared that he was going to lock himself in his house. He said that he had it, but that he had to delete some things off it first. I followed him into his room and watched him try and rewire and create a spark of electricity so he could recharge my phone so that it would turn on…He wanted to delete the password and security code he had put onto the phone and I am also assuming the pictures of him he had taken. He also had a pornography video saved! …I cannot believe he even had the nerve to take MY phone, a teacher’s phone that he had STOLEN to school! OMG!!!
Eliza and I were so disappointed in him and absolutely furious – we made him feel pretty bad – he started crying at one stage – so he should! Apparently, Jabulo and him had made a pact that they were both going to steal an ipod and MP3 player from us…He begged us not to tell his Uncle. Yeah right!
I am just glad that I got my phone back. I honestly thought it had gone.
…We were all feeling really lucky today, so we each bought a R5 scratchy ticket each…and we ALL won R5 each! Today was our lucky day!
…At about 6:30, Sizwe and I went over to Jabulo’s house to speak to him about the phone situation. He was not home and when I asked his Mum if she knew what had happened the night before, she had no idea! I told her the whole story – Sizwe translated for me. She was obviously shocked, especially when I told her that he had stolen from me and Eliza and that the police were involved and he got taken away in the back of a police van. She said Jabulo had not come home last night – she had only seen him this morning and he stayed in his room all day.
This afternoon our house was filled with electric shocks! The edges of my laptop was giving me and Sizwe electric shots, Eliza was electrocuted numerous times by the shower tap that she was using to try and clean her clothes, Nina’s mp3 player was sending off shots and the toilet sink, kitchen sink and toaster was also doing it too! T.I.A Baby!

Sunday 22 November 2009
This morning Eliza and I went to church with Sizwe, Kohna and the rest of his family…It was a Roman Catholic Church and the sermon was reached in Zulu. They had the usual accolades and the priest was dressed in a white robe. They also had incense and some people took communion. The singing was absolutely AMAZING! They had a choir lead the hymns – it was beautiful – there were heaps of different parts and harmonies, high sopranos and deep manly baritones. It actually reminded me a lot of an English choir!
…At one stage, Sizwe leaned over to tell me that they guy sitting next to him ‘loved me.’ He said he wanted to visit me later on in the day!
About half way through the service, Eliza’s finger started getting even more swollen than it had been the night before. The ring was getting tighter and tighter and her finger was starting to go slightly purple…
After packing up the last of our things and cleaning the rooms and dishes (hoping that I wouldn’t get electrocuted), we left Manguzi for the final time 😦 It was really upsetting. I had only known Sizwe and Jane properly for two weeks, but I am going to miss them sooooooo much. They were real friends – fantastic and fun people to be around…
For the last time, we drove out of Manguzi, past the turn off road to Ingwavuma, through Jozini and finally into Pongola. It was around this time that Eliza’s finger was starting to get really bad – it was so swollen and was turning a scary pinkish/blue colour. She was almost in tears so we drove her to the hospital. An old lady nun came out and…we told her that we needed to get Eliza’s ring off. She said ‘what do you want us to do about it, we are a hospital.’ Uh…exactly sista! She got out a small silver cutting contraption and after turning the dial herself for about twenty seconds, asked us to take over! Lazy! I went and got Stephan (Nina’s friend who came to pick us up), who spent a god 45 minutes sweating away, trying to cut the ring with the blunt contraption we had been given…Eliza was in so much pain – tears were streaming down her eyes – she was holding onto our hands for dear life – it looked so painful!
…Overall, I cannot believe how AMAZING and how BEAUTIFUL the Drakensburg is! It is sooooooooo green and has so many mountains – it reminds me a lot of some parts of Australia, but even greener and more lush! ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!!
Stephan’s house has the prettiest view ever! It is surrounded by lush green paddocks owned by the family. Heaps of cows, paddocks, tomato fields and did I mention the lush green grass!

Monday 23 November 2009
…The main event for the day was horse riding amongst the beautiful scenery and mountains of the Drakensburg!

Tuesday 24 November 2009
This afternoon I caught a plane from Durban to Cape Town. I couldn’t believe it was already time to say goodbye to them! We will no doubt see each other upon their arrival in Cape Town in two weeks time though! As for me, I plan to volunteer for the next two weeks somewhere in Cape Town – watch this blog for more details!