Blog written by Lani and Becci
After staying at Fontein Combined School for so long, we really feel at home. Even when we walk around in the township the people greet us by our names! Impulsively, the two of us decided to stay for another week to finish off some things before we head back home.
We decided to paint as much as we possibly could. Most of the school buildings now boast a new coat of paint and are decorated with educational messages and diagrams. The kids really liked some of the math problems on the walls and often asked their teachers to explain it to them.
We are also very excited and proud to announce that the junior bathrooms will be opened to the kids tomorrow. The kids really enjoyed taking their first look at the new sanitation facilities.
“These are the most beautiful bathrooms I have ever seen!” said Dinovan, a 9-year old boy from the school.
Mister Elmer Williams, the principal of the school, mentioned that the new bathrooms have really improved the quality of life at the school. He was really thankful for all the work we did. “It has lifted the morale of everyone at the school. We cannot express our gratitude in words.”
In the end, we (PANGAEA and Geberit) managed to complete the following:
• Installing brand new bathrooms and sanitation facilities
• Starting the food garden that is now flourishing. Veggies are being harvested and the excess is sold to raise funds for more seeds.
• Painting most of the buildings and decorating them with educational diagrams
• Building a new playground for the foundation phase kids
• Upgrading all buildings by installing new windows and burglar bars.
• Supplying the sports department with soccer posts and netball balls
• Providing new tables and chairs for the classrooms
• Putting up benches all over the school yard
• Putting bins all over the property and take part in major clean-ups
• Taking each child on various educational excursions
• Initiating a fresh drinking water system at the school
• Creating awareness on pollution, the environment and cultural differences
• Workshops on hygiene and sanitation
• Improving the kitchen facilities and feeding scheme
• Improving structures in the school eg. Installing new ceilings
• Providing the kids with games on the tarmac
• Fitting the soccer team with new uniforms from Laureus
• Distributing toothbrushes and toothpaste to the children
• Providing the kids with stationary
• Distributing fruit and bowls to learners
• Equipping the school with gardening tools and provided workers with basic education on how to use them
• Fitting the drains with new grids to prevent injury
• Removing unsafe structures from the school yard
• Managing the water flow from the fountain on the property
• Removing poisonous and alien plants
When we said goodbye, we realised something interesting. It is not necessarily about leaving and maybe not coming back, but it is seeing how much you mean to the kids at the school. We have made a difference in their lives and they will be reminded by our work every day. Even though we don’t always realise it, we have a major impact on their lives.
This project also had a major impact on us. We have learnt to take responsibility, to handle different situations with integrity and to work as a team. We have broadened our horizons and we’re emotionally touched by the children and the environment they live and grow up in. We will cherish these experiences and we can only encourage other Young Explorers to become involved in projects like these. It has been worth it 100 times over!