At the end of last year Malcolm and Justin (the architect and engineer for the new school) came to visit Bulungula. While they were here we held a community meeting and they asked what the dreams were for the new school. The response from the School Governing Body Chairman, Balisile, was, “We want it to be beautiful,.” “Beuatiful how?” Malcolm asked, “Beautiful like the lodge” Balisile replied to general murmurs of consent from all present. We have received the first draft of the plans and it seems this dream will be more than met.
I had been waiting for the arrival of the plans in order to start my proselytising campaign with the various government departments we had yet to approach. Their arrival meant I could get going, and it has been a busy week. It has also been a good one – being a missionary for this cause has proved very satisfying.
I met with our Circuit Manager (in Elliotdale), our District Director, the Premier’s Office and the Department of Roads and Public Works (all in Bhisho, which makes for a long day). The outcomes have been fantastic. We have the blessing of the Department of the Premier and the District Director. We will now be meeting with all the District Specialists (who work under the District Director) to draw up a terms of reference document where we list who is responsible for what – it is extremely important to get this on paper before we go any further.
The Department of roads and Public Works has offered to help us finish up the building budget, and they will help us to get the plans to spec and approved. A good partnership with them will make all the difference in the building of the project.
The only failed meeting I had this week was an attempted meeting with the principal of the school. We had a bit of a tussle over the appointment of this principal and unfortunately relationship is proving difficult. An excellent principal is imperative for an excellent school, and working out this relationship is probably our most important challenge at the moment. We are working on it.
In between all these meetings I have been spending time with representatives from the African Health Initiative who are currently out at Bulungula. We have been looking at innovative ways in which we can work together in the school project. Some interesting things have been boiling in our thought pots. Keep an eye on this space.