Friday, May 21, 2010

After reading James' thoughts on his hero Ronnie James Dio, you may be asking yourself what exactly it is that we do here that we have so much time to immerse ourselves in pop culture. In reality, we are insanely busy to the point where we just get home and crash every night. Of course, insanely busy is a relative term as we are still here in South Africa and we are still home between 3 and 5 every afternoon. I think I would have a heart attack if I was still at school at 6 o'clock though this is something that my principals do often (the amount of paperwork put on the management is ridiculous...this week they got a memo telling them they needed to submit final grades for all students from 1994 until 2009. They keep track of these on progression schedules but finding them from way back in 1994 proved to be very tricky.)

Anyway lots of things have been keeping us busy. We are quickly preparing for our World Cup day camp. We got final approval for our grant last week so we are very excited about that. We've got over 250 applicants for 100 spots to attend the camp but are hoping to have another similar camp in December so that more kids will get the chance to attend. Our co-chairs (two wonderful volunteers) are amazing and took care of tons of stuff when we were out of town for a week for the training of trainers for the new volunteers who are coming in July. Now we along with the co-chairs are busy training our staff (who are mostly middle and high school youth) about camps and youth development. Things are on track, but the looming obstacle is Youth Day (a national holiday that happens to fall during our camp). We've attempted to help plan some sort of celebration to happen after camp that day with some community partners, but so far we have no plan at all so it should definitely be interesting.

Other than the camp, this term at school has flown by. Exams are starting this week which to many people means we can't do anything else. In reality, the kids have lots of spare time during exams because usually they take two tests a day and spend the rest of the time hanging out. We're doing a candy gram fundraiser for our magazine at one school which I'll be interested to see how it takes off. My other club (a community service club) has come up with a killer vision and mission for their project (which focuses around healthy living for HIV positive folks) and we'll be drafting the action plan soon. Next quarter, they are going to make it happen. At the other school, I have been busy getting the library off the ground though I've faced a few setbacks, mostly because of the end of the term. The teachers have said that they want to wait til next term to open it so I've decided to informally open it to kids during break time and I've got some very excited Young Librarians helping me. And then there's educator computer classes...We've actually had to start saying no or not yet to people asking us for help with projects because our plates are overfilled right now. And I've realized we won't have a spare moment in the village til mid-August or so which will be right around time to start planning the next camp.

But though it's a bit overwhelming, it's great to be productive and James is just as busy as me with libraries, reading tutoring, computer classes, and more. Hopefully all of the stuff we are working on now will make it easier for us to do some of the things we are even more interested in (i.e. I have yet to do a workshop about bilingual education which is kind of my main goal in being here). And besides, being busy helps us stay warm in the colder weather.

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