We have had a fantastic second term. The students came back to a house that looked more like a home. We were able to put in place systems to help this term run efficiently and are so enjoying having our House Mum full time with us now!!! All the students were thrilled to be back!
We set up an official co-curricular programme for this term. The students enjoyed playing Tennis, Basketball, Soccer and Volleyball two mornings a week and even competed in a Basketball match against another school. We were very proud of them, winning one game and narrowly losing the second game. Their conduct on the court was impeccable. For many of them it was their first time playing against another school!!! We look forward to more matches this coming term!!!
A few career lectures were included in the curriculum – Michael Rapson (former student of Mark) on Mechatronics, Irene an Architect (together with a couple of visiting engineers) and Anne Conibear (former student of Mark) who is doing a PhD in Chemistry in Australia. We also had the chance to introduce the students to Tim and Julie Lewsey (both former students of Mark…and now married!). They are travelling from Cape Town to London (…and back again) in their home on wheels. The students have enjoyed being exposed to different careers and have found these lectures quite thought provoking.
As part of the co-curricular programme we have had a lady volunteer her time every Thursday morning to teach our 15 students basic computer skills and work with programs they will possibly use at university and in their desired careers. Free internet was installed in the house, which is a wonderful resource for the students.
The students wrote end of term examinations and they should be proud of their achievements thus far. They are on target for where Mark wants them, as it is such an adjustment going from O-levels to A-levels! We keep reminding them of this and that if they continue to work hard they will achieve fantastic results.
A family friend called Liz teaches recorder and music to three of the students on a Friday morning. They are loving this and the experience of doing something they have never been exposed to. What a great opportunity this is for them!!!
Denise and Laura are running a voluntary Bible Study on a Thursday night for those who want to attend (all seem to come each week which is lovely) and we are studying The Purpose Driven Life. We have had some wonderful evenings together, sharing some really deep stuff and then other evenings just having good fun together.
Each one of these students hold such a special place in our hearts and we feel so proud of them. Four of them were baptised by Mark and Laura.
Mark had noticed that two of the students were really struggling to see textbooks and board work. Laura’s Dad kindly arranged free eye tests for them and then managed to get free glasses for Mike and Tinashe R. They are soooooo thankful for the gift of sight!!!! They felt like they were swimming the first few days but are now used to them!!!
We took the students hiking up a huge rock that protrudes out of the ground (like a mountain but a huge granite rock – called Domboshava). They had never done anything like this before and it was such fun as our kids joined us. It was such a beautiful evening and we enjoyed snacks and drinks on top – a reward for our climb!
August was the school holidays. It is a 4 week holiday and we planned 3 revision schools during this time. Two of the revision schools were held in local townships. The first was in Mufakose 2 High School in a township to the south of Harare and the second was at Mabvuku High School another township to the east of Harare. We focused on Maths and Science subjects. They taught Maths to roughly 120 O-level students and 80 A-level students. During the second week we were able to assist with Physics and Chemistry due to a few volunteer teachers who specialise in those fields. I think the most amazing experience was to watch our 15 students throw themselves into one-on-one tutorials with the O-level students and love it. Especially the students who came from these schools!! They all felt so passionate about giving back to their community!! The schools welcomed us with such open arms – it was humbling. They all seem to have caught the heart of giving back to their community, especially now that they have been given such an opportunity. Here is a letter from the Headmaster of Mabvuku High School we received a few days after we had finished the week:
I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the service you rendered to my students. This event will remain indelibly imprinted in their minds and the impression will last forever. I have always wanted my students to strive for academic excellence and with your program I feel the Lord is answering my prayers. Please give the whole team my appreciation and we as a school will always cherish your support for the disadvantaged communities. I hope our partnership will continue to inspire my students. I am deeply grateful and indebted. May the good Lord continue to shower you with the selfless spirit you have shown. We will always remember you in our prayers.
Our third revision school was a short one day event held at our boarding house purely for our Biology students and a few invited students from Mabvuku High School. Jane Hall is a fantastic Biology teacher who came out for two weeks with her husband Bryan. She led this day and we know the students benefited greatly from it.
We had a number of volunteers out from the UK to help with various areas of School life. We have so appreciated the time they have invested into the project. The students have also enjoyed having so many visitors around. We look forward to welcoming more people in the future!
Thank you again for your continued support of this project!
Written by: Laura Albertyn