This week at Kiddies Corner we had our first parents meeting. Yolisa, the principal of Kiddies, wanted to gather the parents of the children in her crèche with GVI staff and volunteers to explain to the parents what we’ve been doing with their kids every day and also have a hygiene work shop to explain the importance of tooth brushing and hand washing properly every day. The meeting was supposed to start at 4pm, but in African time that meant starting at 5pm. As the parents eventually strolled in we handed each of them a file filled with their child’s lessons from the entire year so they could see what they’ve been learning in school. It was heartwarming to see how carefully they turned each page and looked at their child’s work with such awe. One of the mothers couldn’t speak English so she pointed at the files and gave us thumbs up with a smile.
As part of our hygiene workshop we used one of the volunteers for a hand washing demonstration. We covered his hands in black paint, which represented germs, and gave him 20 seconds to wash as much paint off of his hands as he could in a bucket of water. When he revealed his hands after the 20 seconds, you could see a lot of paint residue still on his hands, which showed how just dipping your hands in water is not effective for cleaning hands. The parents really enjoyed the demonstration.
As the meeting was coming to an end, several parents took turns standing up and saying a few words about our GVI volunteers. They all said they were so grateful that we were there to teach their children, what remarkable improvements they’ve seen with their English, and how we are providing them with great opportunities. One mother said she used to speak English around her kids when she didn’t want them to hear what they were talking about, but now she can’t because they understand! It was incredible to hear firsthand how much we are appreciated, especially since this was the first time we’d had any interaction with the parents. It was an unforgettable day and it reminded me that even if it doesn’t seem like we’re making progress at the time, we really are making a difference.