the kids at matsopane school do not have desks, or wooden floors, or - until recently - benches to sit on or an actual schoolhouse (the old one blew away in a cyclone). but they have some of the most creative kids on the planet. i know. because not long ago, i received a package from them.
this spring, i told the story of this little school to a group of 5 and 6 year olds at my children's former primary school here in the american midwest. the kids were shown slides of the kids in africa and told stories of their lives. their teacher, donna, let them draw pictures and helped them write letters to send to the kids at matsopane school.
i documented all of this in a blogpost and before sending, two friends - tim, and mina of dun dun mommy - lovingly translated the american kids' letters into portuguese, the language the students at matsopane speak. it was hoped that the african students would receive the letters and then reply, creating a link between the schools and the beginnings of a dialogue between students who live very different lives.
well it happened. the african students did send back a package of letters and drawings, thanks to my wonderful go-between, val, of monkeys on the roof. val goes to matsopane several times a year to deliver packages of supplies and gifts from many caring folks, including angela of letters from usedom (you can begin to see a pattern here with a loving blogging community!)
here are some of their gorgeous letters:
with images of their schoolhouse
the activities and games they play
charitable organizations with which they are familiar
i was mesmerized by the intricacy and beauty of their drawings
in a few weeks when donna begins her study of africa unit once again, i will bring the letters of reply to her classroom. her students are now in second grade, but we can continue this dialogue between schools........
and of children
i feel blessed to be involved with this exchange - it is my own dream of africa.
the students at matsopane may now have a roof over their heads, and benches to sit on, but they are spending their days in this one room schoolhouse without desks. in this heart of the season of giving, if anyone feels the desire to support our adopted school in africa, i've reprinted below a letter from janet of under the blood red sky on how you can help.
thank you, and blessings for a happy holidays♡
While I'm paid to do work for Children in the Wilderness South Africa (environmental education for rural kids etc. etc.), you may or may not know I am involved with a little community school in Mozambique on the San Sebastian Peninsula, off the coast near Vilanculos
Through the amazing world of blogging we have managed to rebuild the one-classroom school (with no help from the Moz Dept of Education, but they were quick to let the community know we weren't allowed to rebuild the same crap type of structure they had, that was blown away in the cyclone of 2007. Go figure!!)
All that aside, the classroom is now functional - littlies in the mornings and bigger kids attend classes in the afternoons - my international blogging friends have sent money and the little basic rustic benches are being built with the money they have sent and we hope to be able to help fund the building of basic rustic desks some time next year. (We have involved the local community parents and they do the actual building - despite THEIR Chief demanding we pay him to help them!!! Needless to say he got "the finger" from us and the parents are forging onwards - but you won't read that on our blog!!!)
Now at this time of the year and as school year will start again before you blink, everyone is asking for something - including me. I am making it my mission to get exercise books, pencils, rulers, etc. for the kids (the international bloggers were doing this, but all the postal services charge more for postage than any parcel of goods was worth!!) so I will buy the stationery locally and Val in Phalaborwa will take the stuff through whenever she visits the San Sebastian Peninsula.
You might remember when I worked for the Vilanculos Coastal Wildlife Sanctuary - well the school is on the border of VCWS.
It is also a mission for international bloggers to send money to our FNB account so I've decided to appeal to my SA friends to help.
You can either send me donations of stationery (old pens pencils etc. lying around your house) or you can put some money into the FNB account.
My postal address for parcels (if you don't live close by for me to collect)
PO Box 25
You can deposit money into our savings account - any amount, no matter how small, accepted.
(Account is in my name because it's too damn onerous and expensive to start an SA trust for a Mozamibican school and be able to open separate account, so we have a separate account in my name)
First National Bank 62248855762
I hope you can do something - no matter how small
See you soon