Kathrin Jansen & Susannah Ware: GESI South Africa Advisors

The GESI South Africa Advisors Kathrin Jansen and Susannah Ware write: “Last Monday Susannah and I drove to meet the students in Nelspruit (about 2.5 hours from Clare) where they had one more day to prep for the village and do some shopping.

The next morning we loaded a big truck and drove back to Clare. We were excited to see how the students would react when they arrived in Clare and met their homestay families. Some students live with families and young children, others with single moms, and three students are staying with a young man who takes care of the house for another family (the family only comes for the weekend since they work outside of Clare) and others have their own small house on a compound where several generations of a family  live. The diversity of the homestays were accompanied by a similar diversity of the reactions of the students: most of them adapted immediately, some needed a bit more time to get to know the family. Getting to know your homestay family is not always easy in Clare. The house is usually full of family members, friends and neighbors. And it takes a while to figure out who actually belongs to the family.

During a first walk through of the village on Tuesday afternoon the students tested their Shangaan language skills and already began meeting some of the community members. The students immediately started with Immersion, the first phase of ThinkImpact’s curriculum. They helped to fetch water, learned how to cook pap and weave mats, as a few examples of the wide variety of activities undertaken.

The rest of the week was structured around immersion, and the students did a fantastic job of getting to know the people of Clare and their daily life. For many students our meeting with the Induna was a big highlight. The Induna holds the highest role in Clare leadership, and he warmly welcomed our group and promised to assist us with everything we needed! In turn, we had a chance to tell him about the work we are planning to do. Now nothing stands in our way to become successful social entrepreneurs with the help of the community in Clare!”

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