Internship – Charles Duna Primary School

The undergraduate students (Anna, Emily, Rachel and Ronisha) of our Study Abroad group have been assigned to the W. B. Tshume Primary School for their internships.  The graduate students (Amber, Cali, Jaimee and I)  have been assigned to the Charles Duna Primary School for our internships.  All of us have been assigned to work in Grade R (Readiness), which is the old pre-school and designed to help 4/5 year olds to become familiar with the big school environment.  

Jaimee and I have been assigned to Ms. Koleka Ndzuta’s class, who teaches along with a Teacher Aide a class of close to 60 students.  

Some students from our class eating their lunch outside

Some students from our class eating their lunch outside

Ms. Koleka Ndzuta telling the children a story


On Friday, September 06 Prof (as Dr. Murphy is known in South Africa) brought in her laptop and computer and showed the kids nursery rhymes from and they LOVED it!   We had to use the ceiling as the screen.  

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September 02 – First Day in Port Elizabeth

We arrived in Port Elizabeth on the evening of Sunday, September 01.  Beginning today and every day, we will be picked up by Calabash Tours, which is a small company that started as an entrepreneurial dream and became a reality through dedication, vision and commitment. Started in 1997 by local Port Elizabeth couple, Paul and Thandi Miedema, the company has grown from strength to strength.


Paul Miedema

We were picked up by Nelson Sebezela who was born and raised in Kwazakhele Township, Port Elizabeth. Nelson is a remarkable young man who has been studying towards his law degree while working with Calabash Tours. From a typical township family, Nelson has been instrumental in developing the tourist experience in the township.


Nelson Sebezela


First Nelson took us on a tour of Port Elizabeth, which is one of the largest cities in South Africa, situated in the Eastern Cape Province and nicknamed “The Friendly City” or “The Windy City.”  Port Elizabeth was founded as a town in 1820 to house British settlers as a way of strengthening the border region between the Cape Colony and the Xhosa. It now forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality which has a population of over 1.3 million.

The effects of the apartheid regime were not lost within Port Elizabeth. Forced relocation of the non-white population under the Group Areas Act began in 1962, causing various townships to be built. The whole of the South End district, being a prime real estate location, was forcibly depopulated and flattened in 1965; relocations continued until 1975.  Since the multiracial elections of 1994, Port Elizabeth has faced the same problems as the rest of South Africa, more especially lack of foreign and government investment, HIV/AIDS and a general increase in crime.


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Next, he took us to tour the two primary school for which we all would be doing internships;  W. B. Tshume and Charles Duna Primary Schools.

W. B. Tshume looks run down and is lacking in resources, but the staff appeared to be an incredible team of positive and pro-active individuals with hearts of gold.

Buyile C. Sali – Principal

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Charles Duna Primary School specializes in Ordinary, where a little over 1,000 children go each day to learn.

Nombulelo Sume, Principal

The school’s garden

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Below are pictures of the community in which the children that attend these two schools reside.

The community water pump; where everyone gets their water

Two little girls coming from fetching water at the pump. I kept help but thinking, “Why aren’t these cute little girls in school?”

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Knysna Accomodations

In Knysna, we stayed at “B My Guest,” where each room has a bird’s name.  Amber and I stayed in the “Sugarbird” room.

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We had breakfast at the East Head Cafe’ and I must say this restaurant had excellent customer service for the American mentality!  We were seated in chairs that had blankets and the waitress immediately asked if anyone wanted a heated water bottle!  Remember, water bottles are a form of heat in South Africa!

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The food was just as awesome as the service!!


Freshly squeezed apple juice

Hot Chocolate

American-style French Toast


EIU FCS Meets EIU ED in Knysna, South Africa!

During our overnight stay in Knysna, we met with two other Eastern Illinois University (EIU) students, who are residing in Knysna, doing their student teaching through the Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching (C.O.S.T.).  They are Jordan Jones and Hilary J. Reynolds.  Jordan is a Secondary Education Student Teacher and Hilary is an Elementary Education Student Teacher; both teaching at the same (private) school.  Jordan is living in Knysna Heights and Hilary is living on the Heads.  Jordan is from Salem, IL and Hillary is from Arlington Heights, IL.  They both travel to Knysna from their hometowns and met in Atlanta during their flight to Knysna.  Like us, they will be spending an entire semester in South Africa, but we will go home before Thanksgiving and they will go home after Thanksgiving.



We met Jordan and Hilary at Quay Four, which is one of the oldest restaurants on the V&A Waterfront and now a famous landmark.  Quay Four has an elegant upstairs restaurant where the emphasis is on fresh seafood.






Jordan told us the thing that he has enjoyed the most during his visit where the views in Knysna and boy do they have views; check some of them out!!


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Knysna, South Africa

My favorite thing at the Elephant Park; HEAT!!


008 017 019 150On our way to Port Elizabeth, we stopped for an overnight stay in Knysna, South Africa, which is a town in the Western Cape Providence and part of the Golden Route.  The town is a popular destination for both tourist and senior citizens entering retirement due to the year-round warm climate.  Recently the town has also become a preferred destination among golfers, as the town boasts several world class golf courses including Pezula Golf Course, Simola Golf Course and the well-established Knysna Golf Course situated on the lagoon.  Knysna’s other claim to fame is its proximity to the fabled relict elephant population that survives in the region.  And boy did we see the elephants, when we visited the Knysna Elephant Park!  First we had lunch and then we went to feed the elephants!


Watching the video before we go out to feed the elephants

Accommodations for those that want to spend the night with the elephants

Oh YES, he did!

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Cape Town Reflection

Our time in Cape Town has come to an end; so I will take a moment to reflect on it.

There was one thing I did miss more than my sister, son, daughter-in-law, grandbaby and family of friends and that was CENTRAL HEATING!  Everybody that knows me know that I hate being cold and man have I been cold here.  I LOVE Cape Town’s winter weather, but the lack of central heating is something I just cannot get used to.  Their solution to the lack of heating is to put on more clothes and/or sleep with hot water bottles.  I did sleep with more clothes on, but I refuse to buy a hot water bottle.  My paranoia about that was the water bottle would leak in the middle of the night and I would not be able to sleep for sure.  It seemed to be colder inside than it was outside.  Lindsay from Beth Uriel explained to us that it was because most of the buildings were made of cement.  If you noticed on every picture you see of me, I have on my jacket; inside and out.  What you couldn’t see was the other layers of shirts I had on!  Yet, it was never enough.  The lesson I learned as I venture into finding employment in warm climate is to not only research the climate, but research the resources of handling the climate.

Another thing I did not like was riding in the Kombis, which we did not have to do that, much; but when we did, I hated it.  Kombis are a form of public transportation; a combination of a taxi and a city bus.  They ride around picking up people like taxi’s, but they load people in like a bus.  I really did not like the way they packed people in them like sardines; they almost had people sitting on each other’s laps.  When you would think, “Okay, it’s full in here, they would stop and pick up more people!”  All the time, I’m thinking where are they going to seat them and believe me, they would find a spot!  They even had a crate inside for some people to sit on, when they ran out of seats!  And they hustled those Kombis like they hustled drugs.  They rode around looking for people walking and would whistle and yell to see if you wanted to get a ride.  I rather walk than ride in a Kombi.

Now what I could get used to was the laundry service.  We did not have to wash our clothes.  There was a laundry service right around the corner from us and all we had to do was take our dirty laundry bag there for cleaning and drying.  They would weigh your laundry and you pay according to the weight.  The most I paid was 75 Rands, which is $7.50 in American dollars.  The best part of it was they would have it ready for you the same day!  I will admit, they did not get them as clean as I thought they should have been, but the service was surely worth it!

As far as my packing, I can rate as pretty good right now.  Though, we had cleaning ladies that left new bath towels each day, when they came to clean the room, they did not leave wash cloths.  Thanks to my flatmate, Nisha, who brought plenty, I was able to use one of hers until I bought my own.  So far it seems like I did not need to bring any short sleeve or summer/spring clothes at all.  I should have brought all winter clothes, along with hats, gloves and scarfs.  We all resulted in buying those things here; trying to stay warm.  The best thing I brought was my Sigma Gamma Rho afghan, which I use as a blanket.  I walked around with it around me while inside like Linus with his blanket.

What I will take from Cape Town as we move to our next destination is an enhancement of my appreciation for the things I do have.  The first month in South Africa revealed to me that we, in America are TRULY BLESSED!  We have unlimited resources that we are so used to having that we feel we are supposed to have.  I became so frustrated with not being able to have things I wanted or how I wanted them, For example, all of the food portions here are smaller; the fish fillet at McDonalds is so thin, it’s like you are eating a bread sandwich.  They sell pop mainly in the cans rather than the bottles and the cans are not 12 oz. cans.  Subway only gives you four choices of breads to choose from, limited choices of meat and they don’t sell soup.  Everything you see that is like home is different.  They don’t have Diet Coke, they have Light Coke and it’s different.  I found myself about to have a tantrum; like a spoiled little kid.  When I calmed down, my level of appreciation grew for the resources we have in America!  I understand why people here feel like America is like Heaven; because we’ve got it like that!

As our picture shows, here’s to Cape Town!  Now, let’s see what Port Elizabeth has to offer us!!

August 28 – 28th Day in Cape Town

Today we had a lecture from a guy named Innocent Kache.  Before I tell you about him, let me remind you how we have been warned about safety.  Remember, when we first step on Cape Town’s ground, Dr. B met us at the airport and before we departed from the airport, she gave us a lecture on being safe.  That was just our first lecture and throughout the trip we have been constantly reminded about being safe.  When we met the Consul General, she immediately began to talk to us about being safe.  Being raised in the projects have bred me on being safe; so when I received these warnings my safety antennas were extremely extended and I’ve been safety paranoid.  So, when the group informed me that Dr. Murphy said she met a taxi driver that inspired her so much, she asked him to come in and speak to us!

RED ALERT; I thought, “Is Dr. Murphy crazy?!  And his name is Innocent?!”  I told my flatmates that I would be sure to give him a look to let him know that I did not trust him and we were ready to do anything necessary to protect ourselves from him.  I even “googled” him to see if I could find any other information about him.

Innocent came and tell us his life story and I felt bad for being so paranoid about him.  I understood why Dr. Murphy was so moved to have him to come and speak to us!  His story is so much like my own, it was touching.

I must say the way South Africans tell stories is so intoxicating.  Unfortunately, I could never tell you his story in the manner he told us; it was just too long and too detailed.  In a nutshell, like me, he has lived a life of struggle.  Innocent was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.  His parents separated, when he was young and he never knew him.  His mother died, when he was young and he was raised in an abusive environment by his maternal aunt (his mother’s sister).  One difference is his father is alive and well, but has never been a father to him.  He admits that he still has bitter feelings towards his father and he continues to pray about that.

The moral of his story is that he knows his life has been and is in the hands of a higher power and through it all, he will be alright.  His journey of struggle brought him to Cape Town.  Since being in Cape Town he has been able to buy a car, which is why he is a taxi driver.  He feels that though he has struggled most of his life, he will be rich one day.  He suggested that we stay in touch with him through Facebook, because one day he may be in America!  To him, coming to America is like going to Heaven!

Though, I initially thought Dr. Murphy was crazy for inviting Innocent to come to speak with us, he has become another of my Facebook friends; a brother from another country.  Ironically, he has a picture on his Facebook page that says, “Need New Haters, the old ones are starting to like me…”