Friday 15 February 2019 Day 6 Projects
Unusual occurrence for us in Lesotho is that it rained all day!!! It certainly felt (Irish!!) familiar but not a bit cold. It curtailed outdoor work for our sports people and builders but there is always plenty else to be done.
The Valentine’s dinner was nice affair and we gradually took over the venue and had our own Karaoke session. There are some fabulous signers on the trip and a great night was had by all.
A few more videos of our activities will post in the morning. The following video is a snapshot of the wonderful, wonderful people we have the pleasure to interact with each day.
Here are another two stories of the experience here for our students.
A Students Perspective #1
Every day we wake up exhausted but excited for the day ahead. We start the morning off by heading to the pre-school. When we see the 2-5 year olds faces our hearts melted. There smiling faces makes our day. It puts you in such an amazing mood. I think all of us have realized over the course of the week how lucky we are and we should appreciate everything we have.
Today we did arts and crafts with the kids and played with bubbles. It was an experience in itself when you see the kids react to the bubbles. There smiles just light the room up
After we finish at the preschool we go to Lequele primary school. We are in the reception class (4-6). We were shocked how 60 kids could fit in such a small room .The teacher of the class is lovely and really interested in learning all that we can share with her .
We start the class by revising what we did the day before. We went over “head shoulders knees and toes” and did a few more nursery rhymes today. Then we do an arts and crafts activity. We made flowers today the kids really enjoyed themselves. They get so excited by stickers and glitter and every day the children go home covered in them.
We really love seeing how happy the children get from such simple activities.
So far our experience has been so enjoyable and we have learned so much from the children and teachers which we are very grateful for.
Alanna W, Kate, Sinéad, and Dearbhla.
A Students Perspective #2
Today was the last day of the first week working in Saboka primary school. As always we were very welcomed by all the kids when we arrived. Now that Valentine’s Day is over and we are finished making cards and pictures and we are getting into the more educational side of things.
Today we were supposed to go outside and do sports and dancing but the unfortunate weather meant we couldn’t, instead of that we taught grade 1-3 the colours of the rainbow. We taught them the song called “I can sing a rainbow” which they thoroughly enjoyed. After that they all made our own rainbows and we also did some singing and dances after that.
The school closes at 1pm on Fridays so that meant we had time for painting! We got a whole classroom painted with our teamwork.
The most special part of this trip so far is seeing how happy the smallest things you give can make such a big impact and bring such happiness into one child’s life, it’s really heart-warming and so very rewarding.
Niamh Egan and the Seboka 7!
Thursday 14 February Day 5
Well the week is speeding away from us and all the projects are progressing very well. Lots of Valentine wishes from the Lesotho learners to our students today and it seems to be a very special day celebrated in Lesotho.
As for us there is a Valentine Ball in the hotel in the main ballroom this evening to which we are heading off to shortly…..and the sound of hairdryers on the girls floor is almost deafening!!!
To all our loved ones back home Happy Valentines and especially to the Mammy’s!!!!
A Students Account
Alanna and I walked into the trip not really knowing the kind of work we would be doing within the music group.
On Sunday 11th we attended mass. We had heard about the incredible singing that was in store for us and that of course made us very eager to get there and listen.
When the choir begun Alanna and I turned to each other instantly in shock, with jaws open wide. We could not fathom how they were so perfect, every note was pitch perfect. Each song filled with beautiful harmonies and ad-libs. It was truly emotional and incredibly inspiring.
A day out of the last 5 that was the utmost fabulous would definitely be our trip to one of the schools. Alanna and I performed one of our original songs “What About Me Now”. We were very nervous as we both had suffered from dry and sore throats but managed to persevere and we were then delighted with our performance and seemed to have impressed the children. It was a great moment and we definitely both felt very proud of ourselves, although that not being the touching and overwhelming part of the day.
It was when the students of the school started to preform one of their very own songs. The dancing and emotion that was put into the performance stole our hearts.
A young girl began to sing her solo part of the song. Her talent was absolutely effortless. She was confident and absolutely gorgeous. The fact that despite her talent, despite how amazing she is; we are given all the opportunities in the world.
In saying that, the cliche saying that “the world is your oyster” comes to mind. Because without a doubt it really is true.
Mia & Alanna McSweeney
Wedneday 13 February Day 4
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
Today was our first proper day of working within the classroom and on the construction site. I was a bit apprehensive on the journey to the school as I was unsure how my lesson plans would pan out but upon arrival I quickly realized how much of a welcoming environment Hlalele primary school really is.
What really struck me is that all of these children have vast amounts of learning potential and the majority are highly intelligent. We took the children through an art lesson which consisted of making flags and sticking lollipop sticks to them so that they’re able to wave them. All of them turned out great.
After our lesson we had our lunch before getting changed to help out on the construction site. At the moment the lads are building a fence around the Early Life Centre so we helped out with that. There were a few measurements that didn’t add up but sure Andy and Aido were able to sort it out as usual.
If there’s one thing that I’ve taken from this trip so far it’s that we all work in conjunction with teachers, native builders etc. It’s not about coming here and taking over from people, it’s about being able to work in tandem with people to make lives for people that little bit better.
Enjoy trying to spot your child and admiring the talent of some of our students in the following videos.
Tuesday 12 February Day 3
All the projects began in earnest today after yesterdays introductions.
A Students Day:
The day started off same as usual waking up at half six, going for breakfast at 7 and heading out to the schools at about 8. I am working in Hlalele primary school. Today was my first day sitting in classes and observing in the primary school.
I felt very welcomed in the school the class that we sat in on was very Interesting because of the way the kids were though. It was the complete opposite to how I imagined education in Africa we nearly spent more time laughing than writing I could see why these kids loved to go to school are always smiling.
After that class we were straight into a bit of construction work. Later in the day all my jobs were done and I was asked to help out coaching football in the secondary school. I loved this, it was crazy to see that these kids were the happiest, most fascinated, hard trying kids I’ve ever coached.
I love it here the feeling you get from the kids is indescribable it’s melts your Heart to see how much the kids love and appreciate you, even yesterday one kid was picking the flies (like labybirds) off of my top and offering them to me as food even the youngest kids will want to be your best friend and for you to sit beside them in their class.
Even though I am already wrecked the buzz the kids gives you energy and you can’t wait for the next day to arrive.
#MapLesotho Official Launch
PCS have been instrumental in literally putting Lesotho on the map or at least mapping Lesotho. This initiative started by Niall Fitzgerald in conjunction with Fingal is been recognised formally this evening.
Tonight’s event is an exhibition and launch of the local Planning project. #MapLesotho has resulted in the country being the best mapped in Africa and forms the basis for future spatial and development planning. Two planners from Lesotho have achieved Masters degrees in spatial planning from DIT Bolton St and three more are currently studying there.
Part of this year’s work will be to work towards a National Spatial Strategy which will inform and guide all future development and local area plans. It is a collaboration between FCC and the Lesotho Government underpinned by a Memorandum Of Understanding running until 2020.
It is s dress up night for all our students and dignitaries by the dozen are expected. With the amazing group of student musicians on this year trip I am sure we will show them the Irish bring when we are away from home.
Day 2 Monday 11 February 2019
A Welcome of Traditions
We have been coming to Lesotho for 8 years and our original project work has been at the Ha Hlalale school. It is spiritual home of the PCS students in Lesotho and the physical manifestation of the investment of Action Ireland Trust in the area and in education.
Today’s welcome was a fabulous presentation of the Lesotho history with the students of the primary school and secondary school dressed in the various tribes and dance cultures.
The opening concert is always impressive not least the ability to get over 700 students into a room the size of the PSLC Martello Room! The primary school kids give our students the greatest lift and impact. Their affection is genuine and they just want to literarily hang out of our students and suddenly there are dances and games with a 100 kids involved. I suppose the only way to describe is that you get play with Santa on Christmas day.
After the welcome all our students had a tour of the secondary school to see all the buildings we have added to the school and the school is now in the top ten results-wise in the country. our students who are based in other the schools left to introduce themselves to their schools.
Nice and sunny today (26 degrees) and the rain stayed away until after 6pm so we got the best of the day (rain is a short almighty deluge with thunder and lightning that passes in 15 minutes). Students having dinner now and the we have Music bingo to end the night.
Today we went to Hlalale school. We got a warm welcoming and the children were delighted to see us. We then got a tour of the school and then played with the children. They adore us. Great to see huge smiles on everyone’s faces. They’ll be happy going home today. Played games with them and sang chants. They loved it. Great to see so many people happy.
Sunday 10 February
We are underway!
There were plenty of tired eyes this morning as the 6.30am wake up calls were made. Naturally a few stragglers held up the show a little but we weren’t too late and were greeted by a fabulous new American Priest on a mission in Lesotho. He gave us the warmest welcome we have had since these projects began and even had a few anecdotes about Ireland… as every American seems to!
After our blessing we went to the incredible St Angela’s Cheshire Home for Children with Disabilities. We’ve never had so many students ask to return to anywhere more than this home! Words can’t really describe so I’m gonna let the videos start doing the work for me below!
(Please excuse and skip the 10 second freeze… can never avoid technology problems)
Tomorrow we have another early start as we head as a full group to our Sister School Ha Hlalele. We will get a full tour of all the developments that have taken place on site since our very first arrival. The kids will share plenty more songs and dance so be sure to stay tuned for tomorrows video
Saturday 9 February
Well Good News!
We arrived safely tonight at 7.30 after 36 hours of travel… not a problem to this year’s students though! We were blessed to have such supportive staff from both DAA and BA to complement the courteous behavior of the students.
Unfortunately we had a weather delay in Dublin and an even longer delay in London but when you are in no hurry there is no drama. Tomorrow morning the 6.30am wake up calls start (that’s 4.30am for you parents at home) and we travel together to the worship mass for our group to be blessed at 8am. Next we go to St. Angela’s Cheshire Home for children with disabilities for our annual ceile. A really unforgettable afternoon!
When we return to the hotel we meet with the teaching staff of the 10 schools to finalise plans and objectives for the two weeks…
For our students, the rest of the day is downtime to recover from the travel.
Thursday 7 February (One More Sleep!!)
This is the page where we will post daily (well … nearly daily!) the activities, photos and videos of the trip.
Just to give you a little flavor the following video is accompanied by a song that the learners from the Sacred Heart School in Flagstaff, Eastern Cape, South Africa sang to us about the blessings in their lives.