A busy week at the Bulungula Incubator ends with a Saturday afternoon lazing by the fire. It has been raining incessantly for days. Just a steady, grey, wetness that has made the track of a road we use to get in and out of here barely passable. The grass is green and lush, but the goats are hiding under the eaves of huts, looking miserable.
The rain did let up enough for us to have an important community meeting/training session on Thursday. The excellent school capacity building organisation, Fundani Nonke, ran this on the grass outside the headman’s house. Given the weather, this was well attended, by about 60 community members. Fundani Nonke has started to empower the community by teaching them their rights and responsibilities in relation to education. In this meeting they, and Dave, opened the space for the community to dream about what they would like the education here in the village to be like, and to recognise that they have an important role in realising that. In a place where education has never really been present this is an important step. And it is important now, because when Malcolm (the architect) and Justin (the builder/engineer) come up this coming week, they will be looking for community input into the design.
Otherwise, I landed up having lunch next to the Premier last Saturday when I went to meet Mr Xasa, the District Director close to Elliotdale. What he hadn’t told me when he arranged the meeting was that the event was a Christmas party thrown by the Premier for a number of the poor schools in that area. As a consequence a number of the people from the District Education Office in Dutywa were there, and I made some excellent connections; the kinds that can really make a difference. I have to admit, thought, that I was too shy to lean across the table and say to the Premier, “I wrote you a letter, but I have not heard back yet…” I wasn’t sure it was quite the right time and, unless spurned on by a glass of wine or two, I just don’t have that kind of journalistic tendency.