Dawbies in Africa


27 Oct 2012


Two mornings a week we continue to work at the Pre-Primary School in a disadvantaged community near where we live.  When we walk in the door we get mobbed by 20 pre-school children who run up & give us a big hug whilst calling out “teacher, teacher, teacher”!

For many of these 3 to 6 year olds they have not seen white folks up close before & certainly not to speak with. They take great delight to looking & touching the unusual features of white folks bodies (e.g. freckles & hair). They are not backward in telling you “your nose is too sharp” & recently a number of them were in hysterics when looking at Mike’s elbow (uncertain what was so funny here & we did point out that they had one too).

During the week Kate was teaching them how to count backwards from 10 & then “blastoff”. When she reached the number zero & finally blasted off into the air, she momentarily exposed her belly button to the great delight of the children who could not believe her tummy was also white. Amazing the things you learn in one day at pre-school.

Kate continues to work with the children in a teaching capacity & in mentoring their teacher with new ideas, songs & material. The children’s discipline & behaviour are below expected standards & this will be a focal point to address in the coming month.

Kate with some of the Pre-School children during morning tea

The great majority of children in Namibia do not get to attend pre-primary school, which can have a big negative effect on their education. They start Grade 1 at age 7 where all lessons are taught in English. Many of these children who do not go to pre-primary school arrive at school speaking little or no English, which places them at a significant disadvantage to others.

We have seen this evident in the Bible Club class we teach at the After School Program for Grades 1 to 4. There are number of “naughty” Grade 1 boys that find it very hard to sit still & participate in the lesson. We now realize, that despite being at school for nearly a year, some still do not speak English & this is why they misbehave during the lesson – they simply can’t understand what Kate is saying!    

Mike continues to work as the Pre-School’s Administrator. Over the past month the Constitution has been re-written, finance budgets have been drawn up, a funding proposal submitted, computer security addressed & banking arrangements reviewed.

Mike learning to be a Pre-School Administrator

Computer classes begin in 2013 for those parents you can afford to pay a little extra & would like their children to learn the basics. This would be a computer illiterate community so this is a big step forward for those who will participate. The computer classes will also assist the pre-school to become financially self-sufficient which is very important.

SIM is just one of four Christian partner organisations that the pre-school works with. It’s all about “capacity building”. Some give people & their skills, whilst others provide assistance with Curriculum & others to the funding of specific items (e.g. craft materials, blankets, food, first aid equipment). 

The pre-school will receive five second hand computers from one partner to enable their computer classes to begin in February. They will probably be four or five year old desktops that still have some life left them. There is no money anywhere to purchase the requirements of the pre-school so we look to the Christian community to assist where they can.  

Some of the boys posing for the camera

The partner supplying the computers is a Christian Welfare & Poverty Relief Association backed by the Dutch Reformed Church. We have been blessed by the people we’ve met & the organisations we’ve come across. So many people reaching out to help others stuck in the mire of poverty. This particular organization has a Latin name, which means “Image of God”. An organization which provides a bridge between the community of needs & the community of means.

The Director of the pre-school remains committed to his vision of providing quality Christian education for this community of need. Remember he does not draw a wage & lives essentially by faith. He is intelligent, humble & overjoyed that he can serve God in this community project. He crossed the border into Namibia many years ago following the long running civil war in Angola. He walks to work at the pre-school each day, as he has no other means of getting there. The walk is around 45 minutes each way.

Please pray for the Director & the pre-school that lives would be changed one child at a time.              

In the classroom

Play time at the Pre-School

Teacher power!