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Our first week here in South Africa is going great! For the past two days we have been going to an elementary school in a township and teaching kids in grades 6 and 4. Unfortunately we’re not allowed to carry our phones to the school or take any pictures with the kids. (GVI policy)

The first thing we do when we enter the classrooms is to play a game with the kids to get them to feel more comfortable around us. The game requires us all to stand in a big circle and go around saying our name, favorite animal and favorite dance move. The most popular dance move among the kids was “The Dab” and “Nae Nae” (Watch me whip/Nae Nae). I was pleasantly surprised to see these young South African kids so up-to-date on American pop culture and the latest trends.

One of the things we were meant to talk to the kids about was the importance of setting goals. So to kick start the discussion we would ask the kids: What do you want to be when you grow up? I was even more surprised and happy to hear a large number of kids saying that they want to be social workers when they’re older. It made me feel happy that these 11-year-old kids have aspirations to help their communities and countries. Other popular profession choices were soccer player, doctor, teacher and singer.

So to kick start the discussion we would ask the kids: What do you want to be when you grow up?

My favorite part of the day was always when we would end our classes and start leaving the classrooms to go teach the next one. The kids would immediately come running towards us, hugging us, giving us high fives and would try to prevent us from leaving. It was probably one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

We start our next project tomorrow which we’re all super excited about. More coming soon!

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