now that’s what we call a career break! …

By Sallie Grayson. Filed in project news, volunteer stories  |  
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This from Kate: …

THE BLOG –  a grand system of communication (which as many of you know, is Sallie’s strength, rather than mine!)

Fortunately for all of us, many volunteers are also doing their thing in the ‘social networking’ department – here’s the latest (that we know about anyway…) from volunteers who are obviously more techno-competent  than I …

(See the end of this post for an update from our local partner on Robin and Jane’s first two weeks at AV Bukani school)

Jane and Robin

In March of this year, Robin and Jane had sold up and packed up their UK lives, heading off on their round the world trip. Everything was going to plan … until the ash cloud in southern Chile forced a re-think. Two weeks of being stranded in Santiago caused Robin and Jane to abandon their New Zealand part of the trip and make a temporary return to the UK … with new flights booked and insurance amended, they were back on their travels by late July, making their way towards South Africa to start a month of volunteer work in A.V.Bukani School

The following news came in from our local partner, Paul at Calabash, shortly after their arrival:

“I have just returned from Addo, and AV Bukani. Robin and Jane are doing really well, in fact we would all like them to be here longer!

“They have produced an amazing amount thus far. They came to a computer lab that has departmental Cammi software on, that teachers have been using, but after a day or two of observation they recognized that teachers are only using the system to a limited degree …

“The first step was to work out the software admin system, which they have done, as well as assisting the teachers when they come to the lab. They’ve also been upgrading the admin of the system, making it more relevant for the teachers’ assessments learners’ abilities. Robin has had a few interesting encounters with the Education Departments Cammi support staff …

“Robin and Jane have run a couple of teacher training sessions on excel, and are setting up model lessons on how to effectively use the Cammi programme in a proper way. This will happen next week – and what a boon that will be for the teachers!

“All the desktops have been standardized, so it’s easier for teachers, and worksheets have been developed for the students who are in the lab, but cannot access a terminal due to large class sizes …
… and Robin has been team teaching in the grade 4 technology class, working on practical tasks that help teach technology!

“So their input has been tremendous.

“But – just so that we remember that things don’t always run smoothly … Nomathamsanqa Township has been having the water switched off and on over the last 2 weeks. 800 children with no water for hours at a time is NOT easy to manage! Added to that, getting home to their homestay and not having water for washing is no fun at all. I am pleased to report though that as of the middle of this week the water is back on!

“I must tell you about their wonderful welcoming ceremony this week, with local stakeholders in attendance too. Jane was fascinated by the formality of the programme, which then seemed to be forgotten after each speaker as everyone got up to sing songs. On their first day, as we arrived at the school, some Grade R children were outside waving SA flags, and carrying little signs that said ‘Welcome Robin and Jane’! A real warm welcome.”

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