Louisa Cataldo provides another update from the teaching side of Holy Family Care Centre, South Africa.
Life as a volunteer is filled with rewards and equally with some disappointments. And while one certainly does not go looking for the rewards, it is always such a pleasure when they come unexpectedly. And so it happened that after a particularly difficult week with some of the children in the classroom who just do not want to cooperate, that I found myself teaching Mathematics of all things!! The children in Grade 5 did not know how to multiply by a double digit number, so I was quite determined despite wanting to pull my hair out and using up every bit of patience that I possessed and more, to teach them. But most of us succeeded by the end of the week and the reward came, when last Thursday night one of the particularly moody and not so motivated children came running up to me ready for her lesson with a massive smile on her face, telling me that in class that day they had been given multiplication again, and that now she could do it- all of it. She was so happy, actually beside herself! We high fived and as her reward I got her stuck into division!! I know it seems such a small thing, but she was so excited, and I think I got more of a buzz out of it than she did! It was a great way to end that week and gave me a little bit of a boost in reminding me that it’s all worthwhile.
I have mentioned the very low level of education at the local village school. It is very sad and makes me think a lot about how the children, even when they have the ability and the drive can ever rise above their situation. Education – and its necessity for the betterment of the children’s lives- is drummed into them constantly, but how can they see the value when the learning environment and standard is so poor? This has been a big learning experience for me- and shattered the perception that I had and that I am sure many of you may have that poor or disadvantaged people should be grateful for what is provided and would act accordingly. The children at Holy Family have been too busy trying to survive let alone understand the value of things no matter how good they may be. It has really made me look at things differently.
A new born baby (1 week old) arrived at Holy Family two weeks ago. He is the most beautiful little boy. I was so sad and the few times I went in to see him I was overcome with the emotion of how any one could give something so beautiful away. I was more upset because I was thinking about his future and what it might look like. But then someone much wiser than me told me to snap out of it! There are 70 people who want to look after this baby, and 70 people who are loving him as we speak. And, you know, she was right. This little baby is getting so much love from the adults and the children alike – he is the luckiest little child at this moment with all of the love and care he is receiving. It reminded me of what Holy Family stands for. It really is a special place.