It has been both fascinating and frustrating to observe the extent to which the remoteness of Nqileni Village has impacted children’s experience and basic knowledge. As an example, during a recent classroom exercise, several children in the Grade R class referred to the South African currency as the ‘Pound’ (pronounced Pont).
Until recently, the children were not able to name animals that do not live in the area. They could not for example identify a monkey or an elephant! Given the fact that these children seldom / never venture beyond the village and that they have no access to books, toys, or television in their homes, their lack of basic knowledge is not surprising.
In an effort to change this, we provide opportunities for the children to enjoy new experiences – using all five senses. Noting for example that the children had VERY limited knowledge and experience of any fruit and vegetables that are not grown in the village, we have been introducing them to a variety of new tastes, and to the previously unheard of act of eating uncooked vegetables!
Here they are, enjoying a platter of new tastes.