After spending the night in Johannesburg, I fly to Hoedspruit on Thursday afternoon, where I am personally welcomed by Ellanie, the Tshega founder. My joy over the reunion is huge and a little surprise awaits me right after leaving the plane: finally I get to know Sabine Uriot personally. Sabine is the first chairman of Mohau e.V., the organisation that has actively supported Tshega from Germany for many years. Sabine and I have been in electronic contact for more than four years now and today we finally meet in person. Sabine flies with the same aircraft to Johannesburg, with whom I just come from there. Of course, I do not go into Sabine’s offer to take her return flight instead of her and rather take a seat in Ellanie’s pick-up truck to drive with her to her farm.
Before I can visit the Lighthouse Academy on the following day, I first meet many new and some old friends on Ellanie’s property. First, I get to know the volunteers who are currently actively supporting the Tshega employees and teachers. Five of the volunteers are from Germany (Leana, Laura, Gina, Enna and Samuel), one volunteer comes from Mexico (Santa Maria, haha) and two ladies from South Africa (Sandy & Anica) are also there. When I see Mucha, the best cook in the world (I mean, of course, the second best cook in the world – sorry mom) my joy increases exponentially. Mucha “feeds” the volunteers and four years ago she was responsible for me leaving the project a few kilograms “richer”. After settling into my new home, I take a little walk around the property and I also meet old and new, four-legged friends. My grin is getting wider and I’m very much looking forward to the coming days and weeks.
(Here you can read the report about my first arrival four years ago: Arrived: Limpopo, Fobeni)
On Friday, I see many friends at the Lighthouse Academy. Lovely Bronwyn, who does a lot of the administrative work for the Lighthouse, takes me across the grounds and proudly shows me the changes of the past four years. Even though I was already informed about most of the changes, it is yet another experience to see the progress with my own eyes and to experience the positive appeal of this with the students. Anyway, in the next few weeks I will pick out some of these projects and report on them in more detail.
For me, today’s highlight is the visit of Vutomi’s class. Vutomi is my South African sponsored child, about whom I have already reported more often (=>Vutomi). As her sponsor I am being regularly informed about Vutomi’s developmental steps and already know that she is doing well at school. But today I am allowed to sit beside her at her table and experience her in action. I’m excited! Vutomi now speaks English fluently and rocks the lesson. After the two lessons that I have experienced (English and Geometry) I would without hesitation call her one of the top performers in class. But most of all, I am impressed by the self-confidence with which she participates in class and talks with her classmates. Vutomi, you could become an inspiration to many other children.
Sorry folks, I’m sitting at the laptop and has to fight tears of joy (Soviet Indians do not cry, not even of joy, haha). For that reason, I will stop here and send you – as usual – a lot of positive energy.