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Spring greetings from South Africa

Spring greetings from South Africa

Although there is still no swallow in the sky, there are swifts and it is really warm, almost hot. But we still enjoy not having to freeze after such a long winter. The so-called lockdown has also contributed to the fact that we felt the winter more than in the previous years. We are now on lockdown level 2, which makes things a lot easier.

What has happened in Tsibogang? All Tshepanang members who were infected with COVID 19 in the first few weeks have recovered, for which we are very grateful. Overall, the statistics say that 90% of all COVID 19 infected people have recovered fully.

The last grades of the school children that had to stay at home are now back in schools. However, the lessons are massively disrupted by all the necessary social distancing rules. Since there are up to 50 children in most classes, the children only go to school on certain days or alternate weekly. We are glad that all of our after school programs have started again, but we adhere strictly to the social distance rules, all children / helpers wear masks. The government’s back and forth about schoolchildren has unsettled many, which has led to a number of children no more attending school. The parents wait until the next year. For the children in our after school programs an important reason for their presence is that they get food. In the months of March-July, hunger was a major problem for many families. Since August 24th, when all learners came back to school, there has been a meal again in the schools. This helps the families who are affected by unemployment. We are glad that we were able to distribute food parcels through special donations.

This year we set out to specifically help children who have difficulties with reading and writing. We have to postpone that to the next year, because the children now have a lot to catch up on and they are covered with loads of homework.

Since the beginning of July there have been children again in our preschools, but much less because their parents are worried about COVID 19 infections. The teachers can finally give every single child the care they need. After two months we can already see progress in some children. The children do not wear masks, but the teachers do. At first it was irritating for the children, but now they are used to it.

In Godisang we have a 7 year old autistic girl since two weeks. She is waiting for a place in a special school. The mother had heard good things about our preschool and asked if we could accept her. I was very glad that our two preschool teachers accepted this challenge and took her in. By this we find ourselves being those who have to learn and find a way how to communicate with her. She is not talking but at times makes a lot of sounds which irritate the other children. We try our best to introduce the Montessori material to her. She uses it in different ways but she seems to like us and the preschool. The other day her mum forgot her mask at home and had to go back to fetch it and she was very cross with her thinking she would not go to the preschool. We observe her a lot and it seems in terms of communication there is some progress. She has learned that before the meal there is a prayer. Instead of folding her arms, she puts them up and she can say” Amen” now.

We are grateful that we can serve the children and that so far no one has contracted COVID 19.
Christel Hermann