I moved in with my host family yesterday - Brenda is the house mother, a lovely warm lady wo seems very laid back, and her son Jason who works for Projects abroad doing inductions and running a surf program. Her daughter Kayla and husband Charles im yet to meet as I crashed out early last night after my induction in preparation for my first day in the creche today. Other volunteers had told me a little of what to expect (I think pre warm me really) as the place really isnt in good conidtion (one of the worst projects) but the work they have done so far has greatly imporved it and Im quite pleased im here now and not 2 months ago.
The 'creche' which is basically the only place you can leave you 1-5 year old pre school kids if you have no family to look after them while you work is a small brick building like a garage, they have a small kitchen and toilet but the place is in disrepair.. Over 60 children of all ages (many who look quite ill - HIV/AIDS is prevant in the township) are crammed into 2 rooms (it was one room but anothetr vounteer has just built a dividing wall to try and get some order) ... im brain dumping a bit as I've just finished and wanted to come and write this and catch up before i go home and crash so apologies if its not that coherent (and I need to try and think of something to do to help tomorrow!!) .... im shocked by the hygiene and the lack of space, dogs run around, food everywhere, it smells of everything you can imagine and whilst i was prepared for the conditions I am fast realising that my ideas of sitting playing with the children and trying to teach them some basic words/maths is near impossible. after excited shouts of teacher I am mobbed as I enter and have crying toddlers hanging off every limb - the real teachers of which there are 2 for the 60 kids (carers basically) just tell me to ignore them and push through .... not easy when its your first day but i soon realised that giving the extra bit of attention to one child can almost cause a riot ... i enjoyed today but im kind of confused about how i can help and what i can do here - the other volunteer has dedicated her time to improving the environment as there just isnt space to do anything much with the children as it is so we spent some of today painting the drab stained walls bright colours and trying to think about what else would make it a better place to be (without a new builiding etc for which there is no funding obviously) ....
First thing I helped feed the toddlers - considering i have no experinece i am bloody impressed with myself and managed to feed 8 kids at a time with a bowl of porridge all crying and fighting for more .... for those of you that have kids imagine that time you had to try and get the mush in the mouth and not on the face/floor - well i had 8 children on my knees with fingers up my nose etc and trying to hold of bowl of porridge ... very chuffed that most of it went in them and not on me but i do look a bit of a mess now :) .... after feeding we played a bit but i realised that since most of the children speak different languages pointing at animals etc and me saying the names wasnt getting much response. I then washed up all the dishes, attempted to clean etc then started painting the outside gates .... in between stopping fights, hands of wet paint walls and lots of toilet breaks ..... I wanted a real experinece .... and I have got one ..... will update more tomorrow - I need to go home (a mile walk and im just waiting to be mugged as it seems quite inevitable round here) .... wish me luck!