A visitor’s observations
Who am I - I am Lea Hoefer, third year student at Iowa State University studying Global Resource Systems, Emerging Global Diseases, and Political Science. My last semester was spent studying at a university in South Africa. Given that I am interested in international development, I have recently come to Swaziland to learn about Vusumnotfo’s operation as a sustainable community-based development organization.
Today (November 8, 2011) - I visited Cetjwayo to see the preschool building currently under construction. The building is nearly finished, with smooth cement-plastered walls, many windows to let light into the building, and a roof sheltering the structure. All that seems to be left in the building phase is to install the doors and paint, and a few fittings….
Getting ready for phase 2 - After construction of the preschool building is finished, phase 2 (the playground!) will begin. So, today we also delivered a pick up truck full of old tires, which will be used to help build the playground - assuming the remaining $1,436 comes through.
Community meeting - during my visit the community was engaged in a meeting, discussing the upcoming preschool graduation. Everyone is pleased to know that it will take place next to the new building on this upcoming Monday (Nov 14).
I also met Nellie Mhlabane, the woman who will soon be transitioning from teaching 34 children under a tree on her homestead to teaching in this brand-new school building. Needless to say, she is incredibly excited to begin.
Why I’m excited - The day before I visited Cetjwayo, I had the opportunity to spend a day at another preschool. This school is located inside Ngonini Citrus Estate and therefore is able to use the company’s infrastructure.
Reflecting back on my day there, I have realized what an important role the preschool building and a ground plays in the children’s learning. The building provides a focus point for learning. Having a building to house the preschool also helps the teacher use teaching activities and display visual aids in order to develop critical reading and writing skills. They aren’t interrupted by weather, and they aren’t distracted by daily life going on around them. And although it may seem like just fun and games, I noticed that the playground provided a place for the children to develop social skills as they played together.
After seeing the nearly finished preschool, it’s wonderful to know that the children of the Cetjwayo community will have this same kind of space dedicated to their development
Nellie Mhlabane - Preschool teacher
Tyres for playground
Community elders planning for the graduation