It was with broad smiles and big hugs that we were welcomed at Fontein Combined School in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. After three months, we are back at the school with the team from Geberit! Our main goals for the next two weeks include installing brand new bathrooms for the children as well as completing several social projects at the school.
So far we have done presentations about hygiene and sanitation with the foundation phase kids (ages 8-10). Along with this we have distributed food and bowls that they can use for their feeding scheme. The installation of the toilets is going extremely well. Geberit has brought 8 apprentices from Germany, Switzerland and Austria to come and install the sanitation facilities. (And they are in the process of teaching us YEPs how to actually handle pipe-cutters and wood drills. Becci spent her afternoon learning how to weld plastic pipes!) In the end, we will have 72 new installations (toilets, urinals and basins) that will contribute a lot to the sanitation of the school.
Today we experienced a bit of a culture shock. We went deep into the townships in order to get a better understanding of the environments that the school children grow up in. We visited the houses of some of the kids and were touched by the poor circumstances they live in. We were silenced by our emotions as we drove through the dirty streets. Ruben (an apprentice from Geberit) mentioned that he had the feeling of injustice and that he felt very helpless to see the people live like this. Simon (also from Geberit) said he even felt too bad to eat after our trip to the township. After an eye-opener like this, I think we were all humbled and extremely thankful that we can give something to people who really need it.