St. Lawrence College making a difference

A group of 20 students from St. Lawrence College in Kent England recently visited      South Africa with African Insight on a wildlife studies and authentic cultural immersion experience in the Kruger Park region of South Africa.  Prior to their trip the group organizer expressed the group’s wish to undertake a community project in a local school whilst on the cultural immersion component of their trip.

In 2011 African Insight, through the People and Parks division of Kruger Park, were      introduced to and worked with the Hundzukani community outside the park on a social anthropology project with a group from Roehampton University in the UK, and an         informal partnership was formed with a local entrepeneur involved in tour guide and     hospitality training.  The community partner was contacted and a project with the local primary school headteacher was soon arranged. The school had identified the desire to  have a Jungle Gym for the preschool (Grade R) pupils.

African Insight found a service provider, who, having worked with a child occupational therapist has designed a jungle gym and has all the necessary Dept of Education            approvals and could supply a complete Jungle Gym in kit form. Arrangements for         delivery to Hundzukani were made.

Working on the Jungle Gym (Stew Nolan Photography)

The budget was worked out and the students set about raising the funds. Finally, almost a year later, the students arrived in Hundzukani in the early afternoon, with African Insight owner Andrew Anderson and guide Stewart Nolan. After a welcome meal with their hosts and community ‘chaperones’ (youngsters from the village paid to be with the group from rising to sleeping) and formal introductions to the village elders, their host  and chaperones took them on a walking tour of the village to get a feel for their surroundings and to meet some of the neighbours.  The group was divided into smaller groups (max 4 per group) and billeted out to host families within the community who    have been trained on the ins and outs of hosting foreign visitors, few had any prior experience but all were eager to participate. It was obvious that the hosts were as excited as the students.

Learning new skills (Stew Nolan photography)

The group ate dinner together (and each night in the village) and then retired with their various hosts to their accommodation.  After breakfast the following morning with their hosts they met at the predetermined time for a project briefing and to get started.           Next came the off loading of the various items and with the help of Fanie, the owner of  the Jungle Gym company, they set out the kit in its various parts on the designated area in the fenced school ground.

The team building the Jungle Gym (Stew Nolan Photography)

With Fanie, Andrew and Stewart operating the power tools and the students and chaperones doing the holding, measuring, hammering, sanding and finally varnishing at the end of two days the project was completed.  Throughout the project a lively and       excited bunch of kids, having recognized the bright blue slide and swings, eagerly awaited the opportunity to play.  In the meantime we had to distract them by taking turns in kicking a ball that the students had brought.

Late on the second day the last of the varnish was applied and the school yard locked for the night to allow the varnish time to dry.  The next day there were some final touches to do, much to the disappointment of the crowd of anxious expectant kids that were by now desperate to ‘have a go!’

Finally it was ready and what an absolute privilege it was to see the pure delight on the  faces of the kids as they threw themselves at the jungle gym.

Well done St. Lawrence College for making a difference : you have brought huge          pleasure to a most appreciative group of kids.

Andrew Anderson

Or click here to find out more about youth travel.

About Andrew Anderson

Managing Director: African Insight - Travel Experiences That Make A Difference African Insight - Explorations Tourism Concessionaire - Somkhanda Game Reserve
This entry was posted in Community Projects, Hundzukani, News and Trip Reports. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to St. Lawrence College making a difference

  1. I’ll be heading to South Africa with Roehampton University this year, and staying with the Hundzukani tribe as well. Do they speak Afrikaans? Loved reading this report, made me even more excited!

    • Andrew Anderson says:

      While most of the older population will be fairly competent in Afrikaans as they would have grown up on farms and would have acquired the Afrikaans language from the land owners, the predominant language in the village is Shangaan with many people being able to speak Sotho as well. We hope you’ll have a great trip!

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