Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Voices and Stories from Volunteers

Hello from Pat and Steve,

Although we had been out to South Africa in 2009 working as volunteers in the informal settlements (townships) of Port Elizabeth, 2011 was our first visit to Ukerewe.

Hearing that children did not get anything to drink during the school day, but knowing that oranges and other fruit are grown on the island, we packed a manual and an electric juicer plus a liquidizer, along with chopping boards and beakers.

Demonstrating this to the senior girls was a pleasure and on the official visit of Queen Mlozi, they presented her with a bright green smoothie!  They had also made a display in the classroom of other donated equipment.  I was so proud of them!

The teachers Sobi and Elizabeth had asked for sewing accessories such as cottons, buttons, zips etc. and when we found that box, together with all the cookery aprons (which had been sent beforehand in the container), they actually cried, which made me feel very humble.

Stephen spent many happy hours up ladders, or on his knees working in the hostel we were creating, but took time off to help me put a mural of an African scene on the wall of the new dining room.

Few adults or children on the island have the opportunity to draw or paint, so brushes and paints are travelling out with us again, perhaps this time to brighten up the buildings at the Lake Victoria Children's Centre.  Selestine, a local self taught sign writer did the sign board for the hostel saying in Swahili that it was for expectant mothers and "All were Welcome".  He was paid, and given several new brushes as well.

The mural below, which I painted in the entrance to the Maternity Waiting Hostel helped to create a happy atmosphere, and I had great fun doing it.  We are both very excited about going to Ukerewe again in July.

Our thanks go to Pat and Steve for their contribution.  We're sure that the lovely fat cat offers a warm welcome to all who enter!

Until the next time,

Best wishes
Diane and Derek

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