Sisanda ukufunda nokudlala, we like to study and play

Last week was filled with adventures. First, we visited a school for children with autism and neural disabilities. The facility and faculty was very nice, with a big playground, nurses, and occupational therapists. Speaking with the teachers and the principal made me aware how much money it costs to raise a child with a disability in South Africa. This school I visited only offers financial aid to about ¼ of its students, and the government offers very few services and funds to students with disabilities.

It was interesting to hear the optimism of the teachers and occupational therapists in contrast to the negativity of the principal. We visited a remarkable crafts class, which the students loved participating in and where they were making beautiful pieces of art. We complimented the principle about the class and he gave us a lecture about how unsustainable to program is for students, because they will be unable to continue with the crafts independently, and will end up living at home when they graduate. It was very strange and quite sad that the attitude of the principle was so callous compared to the wonderful teachers and the stated goals of the school.

My program organized for us to spend the weekend at Windermere flats, on the beachfront. It was absolutely beautiful, we ran on the beach every morning, read, and explored Durban. A group of us went to a soccer match at the new stadium (which was amazing) and went to the Victoria Street Market. The weekend made me feel uncomfortable with all of my privileges, since my family in Cato can’t afford to just get up and go to Durban for the weekend, go to the beach, or even take their children to the mall more than a few times a year. I felt guilty leaving for the weekend, especially after all they have done for me in the past few weeks.

Over the weekend I noticed that very few white south Africans know even the smallest amount of Zulu. It must be weird to live here and not speak any Zulu, considering ~ 80% of the population speaks Zulu as their first language. After the weekend I cooked dinner for my family in Cato. It was a hilarious, but somewhat of a disaster. I now know what my little siblings don’t like vegetables and my family has not had eggplant before, and they aren’t big fans. In the future, cakes, pizza and pancakes will be better options.

This entry was posted in Hannah Ratner '11, South Africa. Bookmark the permalink.