I love these walks partly because of the region’s beauty, but also because of the strong emphasis on Zulu culture these walks can provide. One of the most moving moments on this holiday is when we visit Sibahlethu Primary School in a rural area of KwaZulu-Natal near Hluhluwe. First off, this visit is so important because we pay a fee to the school for allowing us inside, which they use to buy equipment for the children. We recently provided them with new sports equipment, which is a rewarding way to give back to local communities.
Many of the group members are extremely touched by this visit, and are both encouraged by the incredible effort made by this community, and made aware of the difficulties the country faces. The visit begins with our group sitting in classroom desks, just like the students would, and being taught about the economy of South Africa. The speech is very moving, and we always feel very emotional afterwards.
I’m always so pleased to hear the thoughts of those on the trip when they see the school. People always comment on the good behaviour of the children, and the excellent level of discipline within the school. I have had many teachers from the UK on this tour, and they have always been amazed at the way these children so much more keen to learn and polite than children of similar ages in the UK. Some of these children walk 10km all on their own each day to get to school, and yet they still manage to be willing to learn, smile and play when they arrive.
This visit is encouraging and while situation may be depressing, we ultimately come away with a very strong message: Although this community may be very poor, there is a fantastic sense of community spirit, and education is valued and nourished despite incredibly difficult circumstances.