Thursday, February 28, 2013

Students Learn About Life In The Village

A local friend of mine, who is a teacher at an international school in Gaborone, came to me a few weeks back and told me about a unit her class was doing on "children around the world". The aim of the unit was to teach her students about difference and similarities among children in the far reaches of the globe. This lesson was exceptionally pertinent to this class, as her students hail from many continents (all, however, seeming to come from some privilege). She expressed that she wanted her class to learn more about the children in Botswana, of which many had no direct knowledge, and to gain some sense of civil responsibility. We decided that the best way forward was for her class to come to the OVC Pre-School at my NGO and spend a day playing and interacting with the children.

In the weeks leading up to the event, my friend explained to her class about "orphan and vulnerable children status", what life was like in the village as compared to the capital city, the nature of giving back, and the magnitude of even small efforts for those who have so little. In this spirit, her class put on a bake sale to raise money to donate to my NGO and held a drive for clothes, games, toys, and other sundries.

When the day of the event came, the students arrived in a combi followed by a truck full of their collections. It was like Christmas morning for our center! They brought so many things that the staff and children both burst into tears. One by one, the visiting students took giant packages from the truck and laid them before us. It was unmatched by any other donation. In all the time I have been here, I haven't seen such a display of love and generosity. And, I have to state, that since the gifts were brought to our center, the children have been playing with them and learning so much (they have even learned how to do puzzles!). It's been so exciting for all of us.

After some opening remarks by our Coordinator, the children were free to interact and get to know one another.

The visiting students and our children buddied up to either play on the gym equipment outside, to color pictures, or to play soccer or other games in the yard. It was a day full of insurmountable laughter and one that I imagine will not soon be forgotten by anyone present.

Here are pictures from the day's festivities:

Ultimately, this day of fun was one that expanded the hearts and minds of everyone involved. It ended up being more than just a day within a unit for the visiting classroom but encompassed a world of giving of time, resources, things, and of love. Both sets of students learned about gratitude. And we learned that, despite circumstance, we really aren't all that different. After all, everyone likes a good time!

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