Executive director update – orientation


With the majority of our team arrived by June 30, the Teach with Africa July/August 2008 Program in Cape Town began with a trip up famed Table Mountain, for our first team meeting with John Gilmour, founder of The LEAP School, and Bonisile Ntlemeza, assistant director of life orientation. John specifically chose to start the entire program overlooking on the city centre and outlying suburbs, to give the students a geographical context for the economic, historical and social issues they will encounter. The spectacular beauty of Cape Town, the bays, the mountain ranges, and the landscapes was the beginning of this unique experience that is uniquely Africa, which John describes as “having the beauty and the pain of Africa always in your face.”

The launch of this first project during the first two weeks of July is very fortunate, because we were able to have a lot of John’s time since the students are on holiday. If we had arrived either during last term’s exams or after school resumes in mid-July, John would have had less time to spend with the fellows during this critical orientation period.

Over the next few days, the group had orientation meetings with John and Bonisile who began outlining the cultural, academic and program contexts. The team participated in a Life Orientation group with the LEAP School’s Green Club (a student club focused on green issues and sustainability), were given a song performance by the students, and toured the townships of Langa and Gugulethu which included visiting the neighborhoods where the LEAP students live, a local township B&B, a partner preschool/daycare, the Realistic parolee program, and the first LEAP satellite student study center set up in secure containers in Langa.

One of the key messages that John and Bonisile communicated to the fellows is that they should be cautious about their own expectations about what they will accomplish here. The need to examine expectations at every point is very important – John told them that “the value that you bring is that you are here. YOU ARE HERE.”

Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed

Sorry, but you cannot leave a comment for this post.