DSCN4270 (2).jpgSeptember 2012 – Dundee, KwaZulu-Natal

What? Its Friday already? That was quick, Monday feels like it was only yesterday. Oh well that’s how it goes.

Bright Monday morning. We – Sipho, Julia, and myself – arrive at a community school to meet our partners from Nurturing Orphans of AIDS for Humanity (NOAH). We are starting our first Injabulo Family Programme in the area with 20 children and 20 guardians. We will be working with both groups for 10 days, helping them to build strong relationships and providing skills in stress reduction through the creativity, community, and the arts.

When we arrived, the children were having their break. When they saw the car come in, their games came to a stop as they stared at us. When they recognised the Clown’s car they came running close. `when they saw Julia they were so excited because they think she is Banana (Annabelle from our previous performance tour) and Julia plays along. So sweet!

NOAH organised us a community church to work in. It’s a good space. Even though it is old, it’s well maintained. From our side we thought that our session was at 10 am only to find out our partners organised for 11am.  The guardians were arriving in dribs and drabs and we ended up starting at noon. So it’s clear that time keeping is going to be challenging!

DSCN4283 (2).jpgAfter we introduced ourselves we started the session. You should have seen their faces when Sipho told them we were going to play. There were uncertain giggles and confusion. We sang and they were glowing as we added the actions to the song. We had 14 guardians to work with on Monday but on Tuesday we had 20. The nice thing is that we haven’t worked with less than 16 guardians. Friday was a wet cold and we expected the numbers to drop drastically but they didn’t. Sipho went in the Clown car to fetch the gogos who stay far. The saddest part of the week for me was that they didn’t know any traditional stories. Even the gogos! Only one gogo told a story. They said they were never told stories and others said it was long time ago and they don’t remember well.

“Yesterday my heart was sad because I couldn’t come to the session and I was worried because I was missing out. I did the homework we were given. My child shares with the whole family what they do in their session and we laugh together. It’s nice.” These are words from a mother.

The children were always on time . As usual there lots of children who were not part of the programme. We used the list we given by NOAH. It was sad to turn the other children away. They stood outside as we sang songs and played games. I wish this programme could be all the children!

The children loved writing their names and decorating them. The lower primary children arrive first and sing the songs we teach them and play the games as we wait for the older ones. We have 21 dedicated children even though two of them joined in later in the week. The way they imbibe everything we pass on to them and they tell us that they share the song with the other children at school.

“It is lovely what we did at class with my child. I realised that these past few days we are open with each other and we laugh a lot. I think this will help me to help my child with her homework as I am learning to ask her what she did at the session.” Said mam’Fikile.

– Sussie Mjwara

10 – 15 September 2012

Nyanyadu, Dundee, KwaZulu-Natal