28 November, 2009

End of school year

Elizabeth writes:

I can hardly believe I have taught here for a whole school year.  When I look back, it seems that some things are just the same as at home and others (such as very basic classrooms, no books, students who have never watched television) I now take for granted.

One thing that still amazes me is the readiness of the students to turn their hand to anything.  On Thursday it was time to help unload a lorry load of bricks while some of us continued to carry buckets of sand up from the river bed.



Friday was the last day of term and we had a party – it was a combination of prizegiving and a farewell to our Form C students who move on to High School next year.  Although scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. we didn’t actually get started until quarter to twelve (no surprises there).  It was a lovely occasion for students and parents, and speeches were interspersed with traditional dances and songs performed by the students.



Prizes were given for academic achievement and for full attendance (my idea), and small gifts were given to the leavers.  They were very happy to receive a mug or a geometry set.


After the ceremony, we all enjoyed a meal cooked by one of the parents – chicken, samp (maize cooked in a way that resembles lumpy mashed potato but tastes good), beetroot and carrot, accompanied by a very refreshing ginger drink which is a local speciality.

Then the music started (after we had solved the problem of round/square pin plugs and a generator that doesn’t like being on a slope) with dancing enjoyed by all.


Students harvested Swiss chard from the keyhole garden and sold it to parents as part of their Business Education project


26 November, 2009

Teacher’s present

Elizabeth writes:

It’s the end of the school year and one of my students gave me a lovely present – a live chicken.


I think I am going to need some help from my friendly neighbour getting it ready for the table!

23 November, 2009

End of term jobs

Elizabeth writes:

The tasks these students readily undertake never ceases to amaze me.
We are building a proper toilet block ready for next year.  First, we need to dig the pit….


While the boys were doing that, some girls helped me to measure out our new netball court using some string, a trundle wheel and a board protractor!  The next job will be to remove the anthills in the middle of the court!



22 November, 2009


David writes:

If you travel for an hour north from where we live, you can cross the border with South Africa into Ficksburg.  It’s the heart of a fruit growing region and this weekend they held their annual cherry festival.  It’s like a small-scale county agricultural show, but with the events including a cherry pip spitting competition.

Cherry picker

We missed the competition but took a tour out to a fruit farm, where we were able to pick cherries fresh from the tree … as well as buy them from the farm shop afterwards.  I’ve never been too impressed with cherries before, but these were big and sweet – a real treat.

18 November, 2009


Elizabeth writes:

Those of you following the progress of the keyhole garden should be impressed with the crops it is producing:


At home, I found that three small peach trees had seeded themselves, so this morning I dug up the plants and took them to school.  Immediately the students started to dig holes and fetch water to plant them.  Perhaps we will get nice juicy fruit in a few years’ time.


17 November, 2009

Help Lesotho

Elizabeth writes:

Help Lesotho is a Canadian charity which is only five years old.  It operates in several centres,one of which is Hlotse about 40km north of here.  My sister Mary has become involved with it and sponsors a child who lives in Hlotse;  she was very excited to think that now she has enjoyed the oppprtunity of meeting the girl, Motheba.  What a delightful young lady she turned out to be.


The charity has a very focussed programme supporting children and families who have been affected by AIDS or poverty.  We joined a session where 50 grandmothers meet together and are helped to cope with bringing up their orphaned grandchildren.  Talks are given on such things as health or nutrition and there is always an opportunity for discussion.  Both Mary and I were moved by these wonderful ladies who have lost their own children and now have to cope with bringing up young childern again when they frequently have virtually no income.


13 November, 2009

Mary visits

Elizabeth is enjoying having her sister to stay


Mary visits

Elizabeth is enjoying having her sister to stay


The first peach of the season…