It feels like so much has happened this week that I don’t know where to start. To begin with, we had a debrief with True North this week to reflect about our last week in the creches. We reflected on how our visions of change have altered from when we first began the program until now. It was really great to hear and have it reiterated by True North that there is value in the work that we do, whether or not we can see it in the big picture. Value comes from the time, effort, and love put into the daily interactions with staff, children and each other. It’s through the connections and relationships where the real learning happens. In zooming in on the daily interactions, small gestures of appreciation, and time spent with one another, these moments are truly what makes our journey here in Vrygrond and Cape Town meaningful.
There was a moment this week that made me extremely hopeful and grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to experience and witness the amazing changes and development of the ECD community here in Vrygrond. Amy and I had a check in with Tougeeda (a teacher at Rainbow) about the week long training they had attended to brainstorm how they can now train the other teachers to turn theory into practice. The theme she identified as most important and foundational to the work we all do as teachers is creating positive interactions between teachers and the children. We talked about how important it is to build on the individual strengths that every teacher has and suggested using videos and pictures of their own teachers having positive, intimate interactions and connecting with the children; these visuals can then be the prompts that lead into talking about different skills children develop and looping this back to the training topics and developmental domains. It felt very productive to collaboratively brainstorm and to bounce ideas off of one another.
Shortly after this meeting, Faranaaz arrives, enlightened. She talked about her faith and how excited and grateful she was that God had sent us to Rainbow as supports, but also how the work we’ve done has paved the way for the direction of the work they’re moving towards. As we were talking to Tougeeda about providing lots of acknowledgement to the teachers and strengthening relationships, here the principal arrives and does exactly that. She was giving us acknowledgement and showing her gratitude, and it came in such a natural, organic way. I don’t think she realizes how impactful her presence and responsiveness is as a leader. Her presence and warmth is so powerful beyond belief, and her faith, passion and vision for her family, school, and community truly is empowering.