handball and rounders poster

Sport Transcends Everything…


Welcome to the next installment of the blog! Today has all been about consolidating the work done with the South African leaders ready for the festival tomorrow. A nice breakfast and a packed lunch and we were on our way. We went straight to Eshowe High School to pick up their four leaders and then we made a bee line for Mnyakanya High School.

One of the things I have noticed the more we have travelled to and from the school are the building and houses scattered around the countryside. After learning so much about how the Zulu people live and how they shape they homesteads, you can see lots of evidence of those kinds of homes around.

As we arrived at Mnyakanya, we put our stuff in the classroom we have been working in and waited for the classrooms to be allocated for the St Mary’s students to teach in.

As I have mentioned in a previous blog, sport transcends everything. If you put a ball in front of a group of lads (young and old) it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable happens and it did.

Within around two minutes, a full on game of keep ball broke out. About 30 students all across the playground, students and staff all involved. Lots of laughs and lots of running around. The game was finally broke up when the classrooms became available.

Today’s sessions gave the rest of the St Mary’s students the opportunity to deliver the lessons that they have prepared. There was a real mix of lesson today, they included, economics, biology, bracelet making, music and science. I must say they were mightily impressive both their content and their delivery. The lessons were engaging and provided all the students with an interactive learning experience. It also provided the St Mary’s students with an excellent opportunity to test out their newly found skills and confidence. The music lesson was one I won’t forget for a while! The sight of 20 students with kazoos playing the South African national anthem isn’t something you see every day of the week!

A big well done to Niall, Elliot, Dom, Tom, Ben, Jess, Chris, Mitch and Maireen.

students in music lessonstudents being taughtbiology written on blackboard

With that we were straight back into the sport! After the success of yesterday, we turned up the challenge for the Mnyakanya students. They were given the challenge of leading each of their activities to the rest of the group numbering around thirty in total. This included setting up the playing areas, explaining the rules and running the activities. This would give a chance to again develop their skills but also prepare them for the sports festival tomorrow.

They did an excellent job, they all got stuck in, took turns to lead, explain and officiate. The progression over the last three days has been great. The students are now speaking with authority and clearly understand the process of leading a group. It is easy to forget that English is not their first language but they can communicate effectively and get the activity going. The sports festival will be interesting to observe as they deliver their activities to students from a local primary school. I think this will bring the best out in the students and the activities will be even better than today! I’m already looking forward to it, I am sure it will be an amazing day!

picture of all the students and andy

I think sometimes it is easy to forget where we are and how different things are compared to home. I think especially when you are doing sporting activity, you just get engrossed in what you are doing or at least I do when it comes to rounders! Today I took and opportunity to stop and actually look around at what is going on.

Picture the scene, a game of rounders, the sun beating down and a stunning back drop. Perfect conditions for a competitive and lively game just forget about the playing fields covered in stones, glass and bushes.

I then take a glimpse of second post and see a group of six Mnyakanya students singing in Zulu in unison. I then take a look behind me and see a small group of students playing the kazoo and dancing. I am pretty sure that this hasn’t happened before and probably never again! Surreal, strange and brilliant at the same time! I’m laughing just thinking about it.

Andy's dirty footWith that our day was done and we were on the bus back to the ranch for a well earned shower and some dinner. It is easy to forget how dry and dusty the field is and how quickly you get dirty! A long queue awaited for the shower. The food has been great all week and today was no different we were treated to a Zulu feast of chicken stew, sweet potatoes and Sweet beans. Full stomach and sleepy eyes.

Tomorrow is going to be ace and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Also, our stash of football shirts will be making an appearance!