After a brief orientation, some team building activities and a little time to shake off the travel and to learn a little about the local community it was time for us to head to ACJ Primary School.
We had been given a quick briefing of what to expect but it wasn’t until we were driving through the township that it really hit me. The disparity in wealth was a hard pill to swallow as we watched the quiet streets of clean concrete buildings quickly turn into rows and rows of tin huts and streets packed with bustling people.
Then we pulled up at the school – greeted with a mix of wary stares and offers of high fives we entered the classrooms ready with presentations and a couple of ice breakers to present to four different groups of 6th graders. As it was the end of the term the classes were a little smaller and not quite as structured as normal; despite a little shyness the kids were very enthusiastic and receptive to us.
We played some games with them where they told us some of their favourite things and showed us their favourite dance moves, with ‘dabs’ featuring almost every other person. Then it was time to present about our assigned topics: goals, perseverance, courage and comfort zones. While two people were presenting the rest of us would be interspersed with the kids – asking them questions and helping them to understand the key take-aways of the presentations.
In my opinion, one of the best parts of the day was when we broke up into smaller groups during the discussions and got to speak to some of the children one-on-one. The language discrepancy was definitely challenging and even though the conversations were simple and fairly brief I really enjoyed connecting with the kids. When we asked them about what they wanted to do when they are older they gave us a range of professions from famous soccer plays to doctors or social workers, all of which really gave me hope for the future.
The language discrepancy was definitely challenging and even though the conversations were simple and fairly brief I really enjoyed connecting with the kids.
I wish we had more time to spend with them and could interact with them more but I’m really looking forward to the next two sections of the trip and I hope we will be able to reconnect with some of the 6th graders we met when we do the sports camp in the final week.