Ubuhlobo back from South Africa

Once again this year six students, Jana Jäger, Lena Kaufmann, Stefanie Mohr, Clara Schäfer, Johanna Krämer and David Hundertmark left for far away South Africa under the leadership of Rolf Meder. They wanted to support the people of Walmer Township in Port Elizabeth and continue the aid project that had been started years ago.

This year we focused mainly on working in the crèche of the Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Walmer Township. Apart from dancing, singing, drawing and playing one of the highlights was the furnishing of a pre-school classroom. On the container that had been donated by VW we first painted colorful animals, children and the logo of the Ubuhlobo project. A friend from Rotary Club put in windows and hung up boards. Together laid a carpet in the container and provided cupboards to stow toys and materials for the lessons. At the end of our stay the container could already be opened for the pre-school class. 16 children have the opportunity to learn English, some writing and numbers. The South African TV channel Bay-TV came to visit us and to make a documentary on our work in the crèche. The same evening the programme was broadcasted. In addition, we visited two radio stations, where we were interviewed.

On Sunday we used to cheerfully celebrate a long Mass with all the members of the community, singing, dancing and praying a lot. We enjoyed this experience of a very particular way of celebrating the Mass.

In addition to our work in the crèche we gave again courses in First Aid, aids prevention and the prevention of youth pregnancy at the University of Port Elizabeth, at a day care center, at two different homes for handicapped children and their families in the community of the Apostolic Faith Mission Church. Once again the courses were appreciated. The participants were very interested and enjoyed them. In the end they were very grateful to us for the knowledge they had gained. Working together also forged a bond between the members of our project and we enjoyed it very much.

In summer 2012 five South African students and their chaperon had taken part in a workcamp in the Palatinate woods of Germany. For them it had been the first time to gain great experience in a faraway country. That was the reason why we visited two of the participants in nearby Jeffrey’s Bay, the chaperon in Jansenville and another participant in Graaf-Reinet, which was 3 hours from our place. There we explored the Valley of Desolation with her. We learned a lot about South African culture through our visits to different national parks, various beaches and African markets. The contact with the native people created bonds with them and made us share lots of positive experiences.

We were impressed to see how many of our ideas and our impetus of previous years have been adopted and realized by the people living there. This is evidence of how important they consider our work and how much they trust us. Once again new friendships have been created through the project and experiences made that none of us will ever forget.

Marlene Hassinger