Action Ireland Trust Blog.

Action Ireland Trust &PSC Lesotho Trip 2023

 

Monday Mar 27th

 

And so the story begins…March 2023 in Lesotho

 

After traveling over 13,944 km, 16hrs of flying, 10 hours of driving with a stopover in Clarens, the PSLC team of 2023 finally arrived at their destination..here is where we will capture all our live changing memories in our daily blog that will go to press every day by 9.30pm, no delays, no excuses J … Thanks to everyone who got us here!!!!

 

Van 2 (Helen on aux) – Harry Dunne, Janet Clynes, Karl Peyton, Darragh Coughlan, Ava Meehan, Helen Butterly, Anna Curtain & Amy McEvoy

 

Today, our first day of action in Lesotho was one we won’t forget for the rest of our lives.  Starting with the opening ceremony at Makenyane, we received a welcome packed with fun, excitement and a warmth that was evident in all our interactions throughout the day.  We saw traditional dances from students from the five hub schools and preformed our own dance and national anthem. It was a surreal experience! We then proceeded to Lithabeneng where we were met by a very exciting atmosphere as all the kids were lining up at the gates waving posters and flags. We then walked for 15 minutes up the hill to the high school where their opening ceremony took place. We are excited to start working in the schools tomorrow and cannot wait for another day filled with a sea of smiling faces.

 

Van 4 ( The Vanettes) – Sharon Falvay, Fiona Dowling, Ian Curtin, Ruth McCann, Cara Sexton, Jenna Corcoran, Anna Keogh, James Moran, Conor Gibson

 

Driving into the opening ceremony felt surreal. The children were so talented. It was clear they were happy to see us and they made us feel so welcome. All their pride and confidence in their songs and dances helped us in our performance. It was truly an amazing experience. Conor played football (an empty water bottle) with the students and that was the most memorable part of his day.

 

 

Van 5 – Fran Toomey, Joe Cronin, Aine Myers, Ciara Brogan, Rhys Gilmartin, Elliot Hendricken

 

Today went to Seboka Primary school after the main welcoming.  When we got there we got an amazing reception from the students & teachers.  We all felt very welcome and couldn’t wait to meet everyone.  Then we introduced ourselves to everyone and they repeated our names back to us.  After that we played football and said hi to everyone.  Finally we took out Grade 7 and taught them loads of different dances. Overall we really enjoyed our day and can’t wait to go back again tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

Van 6 – Karyn Murphy, , Maeve McNally, Kyanh Lynch, Charlie Cahill, Darragh Corcoran, Ava Collins & Sean O Meara

 

Today, we set out on a mission to introduce ourselves and make friends in our school Seboka Primary School. We arrived with music playing. As we got out of the vans we were swarmed with Learners looking for hugs and high fives. We  had our lunch and then danced and played sports with the Learners. They loved the conga line and listening to Avicii! After lunch there was a  a welcome assembly by the learners and teachers, the principal spoke and then 7 representatives of the students said a few greeting words and thank yous. We introduced ourselves and received cheers and applauds of excitement. We then took the older grades out and taught them some dances. They loved the Waka Waka, The walls of limerick and the hokey pokey. We then said our  goodbyes with lots of high fives to all the learners as we drove out .

 

 

Van 7 (I’m only buzzing off ye)– Paddy Whyte, Collete Cronin, Emma Mooney, Alex Fitzsimons, Alex Redmond, Kian Cronin & Charlie Fitzgerald

 

We arrived to Makenyane primary school with a warm welcome from the students and teachers. The day started off with a meditation session from Jen to get ready for the day then we went to the kitchen built by Action Ireland which cooks 1100 meals for the students every day , we then went to around to the classrooms and we were greeted by the very excited screaming students and we introduced ourselves and DJ Alex played some music and there was some great fun dancing to it.

 

Van 8 – Andrea Byrne, Joe McNally, Ciara Hogan, Alannah Tuite, Isabelle Dunne, Rohan Beglan & Chris Yu

 

Today was our first day going into the school to meet the students and teachers. The opening ceremony was in our school Makenyane. We did our waka waka dance for them and they showed us their poems, singing and dancing. We were so excited to meet them and it was a great new experience. We taught them our Jason derulo dance and they really liked it.

Action Ireland Trust &PSLC Lesotho Trip 2023

 

Tuesday Mar 28th

 

The educating & building programs get into full swing today, swimming, sports, arts & crafts, IT to name a few

 

We finished the day with a visit from the Archbishop and we all got dressed up!!!

Van 4 ( The Vanettes) – Sharon Falvay, Fiona Dowling, Ian Curtin, Ruth McCann, Cara Sexton, Jenna Corcoran, Anna Keogh, James Moran, Conor Gibson

 

Today was the first day that we carried out our lesson plans in the school. When doing them, it was clear to see just how much the simple things were appreciated, so much so that we were receiving gifts of gratitude from some of the kids. It was really just wonderful to see and experience and it made our jobs so much easier and rewarding.

 

 

Van 5 – Fran Toomey, Joe Cronin, Aine Myers, Ciara Brogan, Rhys Gilmartin, Elliot Hendricken

 

Today went to Seboka Primary school after the main welcoming.  When we got there we got an amazing reception from the students & teachers.  We all felt very welcome and couldn’t wait to meet everyone.  Then we introduced ourselves to everyone and they repeated our names back to us.  After that we played football and said hi to everyone.  Finally we took out Grade 7 and taught them loads of different dances. Overall we really enjoyed our day and can’t wait to go back again tomorrow.

 

 

 

Van 6 ( The Zoo) – Karyn Murphy, , Maeve McNally, Kyanh Lynch, Charlie Cahill, Darragh Corcoran, Ava Collins & Sean O Meara

 

Today was day 2 of attending Seboka Primary School. We began by continuing the Swimming Program around that Karyn organises every year from about 9.45am with 4 children from each primary school which ended around 10.30am. It was very cloudy during the Swimming Program and the pool was very cold but all of the students adapted quickly and soon were able to swim with very little help. After that we drove to Seboka and partook in sports, dancing and had a meeting with all of the teachers in the school. The meeting with all of the teachers gave us a great insight into how the students behaviour is, what they enjoy and how the school system works in Lesotho. We had stations set up for the Sports end of things which was organised by Joe and it worked very well and got the children to interact with us and each other a lot more. The students love to dance – especially to Waka Waka. After the students went home, we had a look around the classrooms to see what we would need to do in order to improve the liveliness of the classroom with murals. Soon after we discussed how both groups got on during the day and organised the next day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Van 7 (I’m only buzzing off ye)– Paddy Whyte, Collete Cronin, Emma Mooney, Alex Fitzsimons, Alex Redmond, Kian Cronin & Charlie Fitzgerald

 

We started by going to the school then we went straight into Emma’s lesson plan which was making animal paper plates then we gathered all the children and done some dancing with them then after lunch we played some sports which included football rugby and hurling. We then went to painting in Lithebenang where we started painting the classes. Ms Cronin had a meeting for special education needs.

 

 

 

Van 8 – Andrea Byrne, Joe McNally, Ciara Hogan, Alannah Tuite, Isabelle Dunne, Rohan Beglan & Chris Yu

 

This morning we introduced a brand new CPR lesson to the school. The principal sat in on the lesson , and had commented on how brilliant it was. We also did some dancing and relay races with the grade 4’s , and we did some simple dances and pass the cones with the grade 2’s as well. We gave out prizes and medals to the winners of the relays , which the children seemed to love. Happy birthday was played lots of times due to it being Andrea’s birthday , of which Andrea had quickly grown not very fond of.

Action Ireland Trust &PSLC Lesotho Trip 2023

 

Wednesday Mar 29th

 

The educating & building programs continued today and we are starting to see the fruits of all our work.  We got our first dinner out as well, what an amazing experience.  We all were tucked up in bed by 11!!!!

 

https://www.facebook.com/cafewhatlesotho

 

Van 4 ( The Vanettes) – Sharon Falvay, Fiona Dowling, Ian Curtin, Ruth McCann, Cara Sexton, Jenna Corcoran, Anna Keogh, James Moran, Conor Gibson

 

We presented the Saor project to 500 boys and girls and they thought it was very educational.

We also did a class on Chatterbox’s which the students really liked and made them take initiative. The teachers said it was really good for kids with difficulties

We finally introduced our selfs to grade 7. And we did a lesson plan with them about gravity using jenga blocks.

We ended the day, painting one of classrooms and danced with some of the students.

At lunch we danced with the kids which was really nice.

We put in a huge effort when painting the classrooms. This showed both determination and a want for redemption.

 

 

Today went to Seboka Primary school after the main welcoming.  When we got there we got an amazing reception Van 5 – Fran Toomey, Joe Cronin, Aine Myers, Ciara Brogan, Rhys Gilmartin, Elliot from the students & teachers.  We all felt very welcome and couldn’t wait to meet everyone.  Then we introduced ourselves to everyone and they repeated our names back to us.  After that we played football and said hi to everyone.  Finally we took out Grade 7 and taught them loads of different dances. Overall we really enjoyed our day and can’t wait to go back again tomorrow.

Van 6 ( The Zoo) – Karyn Murphy, , Maeve McNally, Kyanh Lynch, Charlie Cahill, Darragh Corcoran, Ava Collins & Sean O Meara

 

Today went pretty well as this was the first day of doing our lesson plans. We started with the swimming which again went very well and they learn everything we tell them very quickly. Into the school after lunch we started the lesson plans which was a bit of a worry before but turned out to go really well for all the groups and was a big success all around.  The CPR and Saor project went down really well. We also made clocks and taught the grade fours how to read the time. And as a bonus to the day the packed lunches given to us this time round went down extremely well this time the chicken pita and will hopefully be seen again.

Van 7 (I’m only buzzing off ye)– Paddy Whyte, Collete Cronin, Emma Mooney, Alex Fitzsimons, Alex Redmond, Kian Cronin & Charlie Fitzgerald

 

Today we started by joining in with the Grade 2’s Jolly Phonix class they were learning to write the letters aswell as how they sound when they are in a word. Then we went to the grade 3 classrooms to do some Arts & Crafts which was GREAT!!! Then we went out and learned a few dances from the children from Lequile Then we went out to play some sports with the Grade 6 there was around 180 kids so it was very challenging but also very enjoyable after we went to do some more painting which was great fun and a good end to the day.

 

Van 8 – Andrea Byrne, Joe McNally (The kiss of life), Ciara Hogan, Sophia Kelly Alannah Tuite, Isabelle Dunne, Rohan Beglan & Chris Yu

 

This morning we arrived at the school and split into two groups half of us went out and done sports with grade 1 and 2 and the other half started the Irish plan which the kids all really enjoyed dancing to the different types of music that we played. During lunch we brainstormed different ideas for crafts we could do with the materials we had with us. After that we some of us made bracelets with grade 5 and 6 and after did the cpr plan again. The rest of us brought grade 3 out to the field and we played some games and danced. After school we experimented with different crafts and started painting the walls in   the grade 1 classroom.

 

Action Ireland Trust &PSLC Lesotho Trip 2023

Thursday Mar 30th

The educating & building programs continued today & we got the play the local Lesotho team in a game of football.

 

History was made last night in Lesotho when the Action Ireland Trust football team defeated for the first time the Lesotho Football Academy team 8-7 at the Kick 4 Life grounds. In a close fought game AIT opened the scoring with a screamer from Kian Cronin. Kian went on to score 4 goals. Approaching first quarter time out ACT were leading 3-1 after a great goal from Elliot Hendricken and another from Kian. However early second quarter ACT were pegged back to 3-3. The squad of 33 students subbed on and off to ensure everyone played a part in this great win. Remarkable goalkeeping from Rhys (The Cat) Gilmartin ensured ACT remained in the game and Rhys was undoubtedly the Man of the match alongside another brilliant performance from Emma Mooney who scored possibly the goal of the night. While Lesotho academy got 5-3 ahead in Quarter 3 ACT rallied well under the highly motivated team coaches Noel Fitzgerald and Dominic Fitzsimons. Some clever substituting saw goals from Alex Fitzsimons, two more from Kian and another from Elliot to leave the match 8-7 to ACT. The adults made a very brief but impressive performance in the last few minutes to hold out and a brilliant solo from former professional Andy O’Neill saw his finish just sail over the bar. Credit to the Armagh referee Aido Mc Kenna who so used to hard fought games controlled the match superbly. The enthusiastic supporters all played a role in this great win with some great moral support although it had to be said the referee did not take kindly to some comments and reached for his cards at one stage as a warning. Great night had by all with both teams enjoying a well earned BBQ together and some great hospitality at the Kick 4 life Academy. Well done all.

 

 

Builder update.

Progress has been steady all week with the building team working on Plasterboarding two Classroom ceilings and the pouring of a new path that connects the classes to the new toilets in Seboka. The water tower in Lithabaneng has just started aslo to be connected to the new toilet blocks. The commitment the team has shown has been amazing.

Action Ireland Trust &PSLC Lesotho Trip 2023

Monday April 3rd

And so we enter week 2 of our Lesotho Trip

We had an action packed weekend, on Saturday we hiked to Morija to see the Dinosaur footprints, we visited a local museum and that night we walked to a local restaurant.  Sunday was an early start with a 3hr mass, we had another amazing hike at Thaba Bosiu and we finished the day with a visit to the St Angela’s school.

 

Building update

Momentum is flying with the building crew as days go by, lads in Lithbaneng are finished the water and ploughing on with the  roof trusses.  In Seboka Paths prepared, painting of rooms are looking great and the relocation of the water tower has been set in position to be recommissioned and have the toilets up and running by Thursday. All in all great progress has been made and the team are just amazing.

Van 2 (Helen on aux) – Harry Dunne, Janet Clynes, Karl Peyton, Darragh Coughlan, Ava Meehan, Helen Butterly, Anna Curtain & Amy McEvoy

 

Today we went straight up to the high school. Ava, Amy, Anna and Helen did a soar class while Darragh and Karl helped mr Clark with his English class. Then we had an assembly with the students as a final goodbye to the high school. We spent the rest of the day making Easter cards and painting in the primary school.

Van 4 ( The Vanettes) – Sharon Falvay, Fiona Dowling, Ian Curtin, Ruth McCann, Cara Sexton, Jenna Corcoran, Anna Keogh, James Moran, Conor Gibson

 

We started the day in the field making Easter art while Cara and Ian painted.
They painted the water tower and then returned to help out with conor’s Easter art lesson plan.
We finished the day off with some mural painting.

Van 5 – Fran Toomey, Joe Cronin, Aine Myers, Ciara Brogan, Rhys Gilmartin, Elliot Hendricken

After the swimming we drove to Seboka primary school, when we arrived it’s was lunch time for all the kids so we played football, danced and blew bubbles with them.
After lunch everybody split up into small groups to complete lesson plans, everyone went to different grades around the school and taught different classes.
After the lesson plans we painted in one of the classrooms and got a lot of progress done.

Van 7 (I’m only buzzing off ye)– Paddy Whyte, Collete Cronin, Emma Mooney, Alex Fitzsimons, Alex Redmond, Kian Cronin & Charlie Fitzgerald

 

Today we started making bookmarkers with grade 3 and 4 then after lunch they preformed a ceremony and we joined in on their  dances and after that we painted the walls and cleaned the floors in seboka. Jen went to the high school and did more meditation with the teachers there and got a great reaction. Earlier in the day over 500 pupils in Lequele sang Happy Birthday to Emma Mooney on her birthday. Van 7 yesterday managed to finish off some form of activity with 1170 learners over the 6 days. Considering we had 5 students to achieve all this it was a brilliant engagement.

Van 8 (The kiss of life) – Andrea Byrne, Joe McNally, Ciara Hogan, Alannah Tuite, Sophia Kelly, Isabelle Dunne, Rohan Beglan & Chris Yu

Today in the Army Barracks, Alannah & Isabelle started teaching the kids hurling. They really liked learning a sport from our culture and they picked it up really fast. Meanwhile Rohan and Chris were making posters for CPR to leave in the classrooms when we depart. Joe continued doing IT with the learners, especially maths as they have an eager learn to learn it. After lunch we did a sports day with the learners which they really got fully involved in. When the learners went home we painted a full classroom blue and the paint really stood out from the others. Last night our van song was Lay all your love on me for karaoke. It was a great night

Action Ireland Trust &PSLC Lesotho Trip 2023

 

Tuesday April 4th

 

Tonight we had our fancy dress party, WHAT A NIGHT!!!!

Building update

Working at full tilt today, just another amazing effort by the while team, up early getting seboka water tank secured, ready to by lifted into place and fully connect and toilets had running water tonight AMAZING. Tower git concreted late and all the painting done to the classroom. Was brilliant. Lithbaneng had got its water tower erected today and what an amazing site it is also to see in the air, the carpenters continued in with the finishing of roof trusses and getting them primed up for finish paint.  Well done with all the fantastic efforts over the last few days. One last push and  all targets will be met.

 

 

Van 2 (Helen on aux) – Harry Dunne, Janet Clynes, Karl Peyton, Darragh Coughlan, Ava Meehan, Helen Butterly, Anna Curtain & Amy McEvoy

Van 4 ( The Vanettes) – Sharon Falvay, Fiona Dowling, Ian Curtin, Ruth McCann, Cara Sexton, Jenna Corcoran, Anna Keogh, James Moran, Conor Gibson

Today we met with the lady who makes reusable pads and delivered a talk with her to Lithabenang and the army barracks. She delivered the reusable pads and teachers and students all seemed very happy with them. We also had sports day today where we played pickleball, golf, obstacle courses, soccer, and rounders. Grades 6 and 7 had great fun playing outside. Then to finish off the day we finished up with our murals on the classroom walls.

Van 5 – Fran Toomey, Joe Cronin, Aine Myers, Ciara Brogan, Rhys Gilmartin, Elliot Hendricken

 

Today in seboka we started the day by teaching grade 5 classes about Irish tales which we focused on Vikings in Ireland. We gave them a sheet to colour in a Viking shield and another sheet to write their names in Viking letters.
At lunch we played with the kids with bubbles and footballs. After lunch we did Easter colouring with both grade 3 classes where they used colours stamps and stickers.
Finally we did painting in a classroom where we got most of the class painted

Van 6 (The Zoo) – Karyn Murphy, Maeve McNally, Kyanh Lynch, Charlie Cahill, Darragh Corcoran, Ava Collins & Sean O Meara

 

Today was our last day of official teaching in Seboka Primary School. We finished up our swimming program with some students from each primary school and it was very rewarding to see how much progress has been made with the students and even to see how much we have improved since the first day of teaching swimming. Soon after the swimming program ended, we went to Seboka and began by handing out some supplies to teachers and putting some posters on the walls. Then we went to grade 4 and made some Easter cards with them which they seemed to really enjoy. To finish the day, we went to the classrooms to paint with van 7 and do the murals in one of the classrooms.

Van 7 (I’m only buzzing off ye)– Paddy Whyte, Collete Cronin, Emma Mooney, Alex Fitzsimons, Alex Redmond, Kian Cronin & Charlie Fitzgerald

Van 8 (The kiss of life) – Andrea Byrne, Joe McNally, Ciara Hogan, Alannah Tuite, Sophia Kelly, Isabelle Dunne, Rohan Beglan & Chris Yu

 

This morning we arrived at our hub school and started with some dancing with the grade 4’s. We then split into groups , of which some did some arts and crafts , some did Irish , and the rest did some painting. A second room has nearly been fully painted  and it shouldn’t be long until the second room is finished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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