Photo Essay – Port Elizabeth Township School

During my volunteer trip in SA I got a chance to go with some of the other volunteers to teach in the school. It was a township school so the drive there was pretty daunting, even though I had been in South Africa for several weeks I still couldn’t get my head around how different each part is. The school was completed surrounded by a big wire fence and we couldn’t get out of the minibus until someone opened the gate for us. Once we were inside the school it all became less scary.

These were just normal teenage kids, they wanted to have fun, they want you to take their picture, they didn’t want to learn or behave it was school. The American boys who had been teaching at the school every day for 7 weeks took over from the teacher for the maths lesson. Standing at the back of the class watching my friends teach 30+ African kids was a little strange.

We moved around class rooms as the day went on either assisting the teachers of the school or taking over the class. I have to say I really enjoyed the teaching part, it was hard to explain things to these kids as they spoke English but it wasn’t great, and we didn’t know any of their Africans language, but once they got it you were rewarded with such a great feeling of achievement.

We had lunch with the teachers and they really made you feel welcomed and like they appreciated the help – this was very different from the feeling we got at the orphanage. They felt so grateful to us, one afternoon they did a culture show for us.

The little children sung us a poem that their teacher had been teaching them, it was in Africans so I didn’t understand what it was about but the kids looked so happy trying to remember the words and actions to the poem.

The older girls then did some singing and dancing, one of my highlights of the whole trip was the 3 girls singing us an African song they had such amazing voices. Afterwards the girls just wanted to have their photos taken, it’s a shame they have never seen the beautiful photos I took.

With the older children you always had to be careful with your possessions and money, what we might think of as a small amount of money was a lot to them however if you gave something to one child everybody wanted one so we were taught not to give them anything.

I really enjoyed my time at the school and the kids were so happy to be photographed which really shows in these photos. In the 2 days I spent here I felt much more appreciated than I did the whole time at the Orphanage but that is just the way it is with volunteer projects. After teaching here I always thought about doing TEFL but without a degree my options are limited.

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