Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Kareema's New House Is Completed

Kareema is an inspiring lady who worked with African Impact on our HIV positive awareness community project. It was noted whilst working with her that her house was falling apart (see top picture) so we decided to build her a new one...as it was necessary but also as a thank you because we appreciated her positivity and guidance with the local community. It took a few months to build...however it has been finished this week by African Impact staff (Eddie, Joao and Samuel) and Kareema is very happy with her new house (see middle picture)...we certainly are and we hope it lasts many years.

Storeroom at Escolinha Completed

A spacious storeroom to hold all the necessary gardening tools, chicken paraphanailia and other 'junk' has been completed by Eddie, Joao, Samuel and Lorenco. It was started by the volunteers but because Eddie, our translator and head builder, was ill it was unable to be completed by the close of projects at the end of November. However in December all four men have worked very hard and now the pre-school will be a tider place...storing only teaching resources.

Keep checking for further exciting updates on developments at the pre-school!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Escolinha's New Mural

On my arrival at pre-school on Monday 11th November, the outside of the building was in much need of a fresh coat of paint and looked very grubby. We were told that one of the projects for our duration of volunteering was to repaint the school and paint a mural. I felt quite honoured that I was given the task of overseeing the completion of the mural and started wracking my brain for a theme! I was however saved any sleepless nights by a fresh bunch of teenage girls from an American travelling school. An artistic girl called Anna drew the outline for the mural and they also did alot of touching up of a mural inside the building too. This obviously made my job easier, as all I had to do now was to make the mural as colourful , educational and attractive as possible.

We, as a group, spent two afternoons repainting inside and outside of the school and I concentrated on 'my' mural. I was, I have to say, assisted by Amalia (my 13 year old English club student) without whose help I probably wouldn't have finished in time! This was also a great opportunity to have extra one to one time with her and her English has really improved! In turn, it also gave her a sense of purpose and working together. Katherine, I also have to thank for the beautiful birds!

The mural, as can be seen from the photos, depicts a garden with various fruits and vegetables, the names of which have been written in both English and Portuguese.

The children were, to start with, very interested when big pots of paint and brushes could be seen and initially I could sense they were just dying to get stuck in and make a huge mess! As I carried on every other day or so doing bits here and there at intervalo time etc and once outlining and detail took shape, they would point...and touch!... the various fruits and vegetables and say them in Portuguese and try to repeat them in English. One of the pupils, the feisty Felicidades, even came up before completion and said "Hey! Deb! Muito bonito!" with a thumbs up and then walked off.....praise indeed!!!

It's a great feeling to have been given the opportunity to contribute to something that will last, where I can leave a 'mark', just as these children have left a mark on me in ways that I cannot put into words.

I do know, however, that after the long summer there will be many little grubby handprints on that wall again...the next group of volunteers will patch it up I'm sure!

Written by Debby Weldacher....thank you so much Debby for all your ideas and hard work, the mural looks beautiful and the children absolutely love it! I'm sure you will be right about the handprints!!!- Kerrie.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Finally.....Chicken Tractor is Completed!

Many volunteers over the last three or four months have contributed to the construction of our chicken tractor. They will also know the struggles of buying the resources and the frustrations of actually building the tractor. However our first tractor (of many hopefully!) is now complete and houses three hens....apted named by a volunteer: breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hens have already started laying eggs, which have been cooked and served with the school rice. It is now the volunteers responsibility to look after the chicken's food and water daily and also replenish the bedding weekly.

Thank you to everyone's hard work....it has finally paid off and we have three very happy hens! :D

Monday, 8 November 2010

Escolinha Logo Designed by Volunteer

Hi my name is Haseena, from London and I was a volunteer at the teaching project in Vilanculos, Mozambique, from Oct-Nov 2010.

I am just blogging to inform you all that I have designed a logo for the pre-school which is now painted on the wall inside the school. I really wanted to do something special that would last at pre-school and hence designing the logo was a way of capturing the essence of the school's purpose, the kids and the atmosphere...and it was a sneaky way of leaving my mark behind too!

I kept my design clean and simple so it can be easily replicated and hopefully during the lessons the children will be able to draw and paint the logo too. The banner contains the name of the school (pre-school of good hope) and I tried to symbolise this with a cartoon-like house (for young kids at school) and a smiley face and sun to represent good hope.

The next step...embroidered baseball caps withe the logo on for all the kids at pre-school for those hot sunny days and who knows after that....uniforms, pencil cases.... the possibilities are endless!!!

Hope you all like it! :D

P.S. A big thanks to all the volunteers who helped out, including holding the ladder and paint for me and to Poppy and Kerrie for getting hold of the materials and paint. Couldn't have done it without you guys!!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Friday October 15th- HIV/ AIDs Awareness Day

On Friday the 15th of October we held a HIV/AIDs Awareness and Testing day at the pre-school for the local community. On Thursday we went on a walkabout with the teachers and children to advertise the day. We found this really interesting because we were able to see more of the local community and how they live, and also interact with the people. We spoke to alot of locals and were expecting a big turnout.

We arrived at 8 a.m. Friday morning to set up our information stands- one with an informative DVD and true/false game, and the other with important information on transmission and treatment. The local CARE team arrived and set up four testing stations for any members of the community that wanted to get tested. Unfortunately by 9 a.m. we only had five people. However, we decided to get started anyway and a few more people joined in as we went along. The information was well recieved by those that were there and we were pleased to see that they were willing to participate and also knew alot about HIV and AIDs. Although we were surprised to notice that most of the locals didn't realise that HIV/AIDs is a worldwide problem and didn't just affect developing African countries but also rich western ones. Everyone enjoyed our demonstration of how HIV can and can't be transmitted, with the help of our sexual health dolls (full genitalia intact!). We also got a few laughs during our condom demonstration in which we explained how to put a condom on a cucumber. Free condoms were handed out to all those who attended.

Despite our initial disappointment at such a small turnout, we were all very pleased with how the morning went. 38 people were tested, which is a really good outcome. Those that tested positive were directed to the local hospital where there is a great HIV/AIDs department offering counselling and free treatment. We hope that our efforts have helped to raise awareness of HIV and AIDs and maybe even saved a life.

Written by Alex and Ana Costa Matos, Friso Halbertsma, Hassena Hakda and Emily Edwards.

Thank you all so much for your hard work :)

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Beautiful poem written by one of our advanced Edson's students

Street Kid

I am a simple kid born in this wonderful world where everybody has a space,
a piece of land and a roof to live.
The ghetto and the streets of this city are my shelter.
I am a simple kid born and destined to be adopted by the streets of this city.
I spend the most part of my time washing cars,
suffering insult, even worse, humiliation.
So that in the end of the day I can win a piece of land, or 10 mets, sometimes none.
The worst is to recieve insult and scorn, in this way- my life goes on.

If my lucky day come I can get a sandwich or something more.
But when my lucky day doesn't come, it is only despised and sometimes I'm called by names that I don't like.

I still remember last night, when I was dressing without a blanket,
I just heard a voice saying "Hey kid, get away from there, go to school".
Sometimes I spend days and nights praying for me and for those who don't know what they are talking,
because I'm hopeful that I can see a light in the end of this tunnel.

Written by Severiano Francisco Xavier Gimo

Monday, 27 September 2010

Health Awareness Day

Health Awareness Day at the preschool was planned by the volunteers for Friday 24th September. The day before we had all had a walkabout around the local area with the preschool children. We delivered leaflets to each home that we visited encouraging people to attend. There were four subjects area –

  • Sexual Health
  • Healthy Eating & Drinking
  • Malaria Prevention
  • General Hygiene

The group of men and women moved from display to display listing to our presentations with the help of Eddie’s translation.

Written by Sue Fletcher

Sexual Health (L-R: Eddie, Sue, Isabelle)

Sexual Health

The Sexual Health Display was the first to be visited by an audience of about 25 local women and one or two men. Inevitably, our direct approach to sex education was met with many giggles, as it was a subject not usually discussed with such openness.

We started with some basic statistics on HIV/AIDS and the need for regular testing and possible treatments. With the help of Eddie’s translation, we went on to discuss the ways in which HIV may be transmitted, and we explained that it is possible to live normally with people who are HIV positive. We quizzed the audience, using flashcards, about activities that will not transmit HIV, which they understood clearly. Another key message was the right of women to refuse sex and the pressure placed upon them by men.

We then discussed other STDs, their symptoms, consequences and possible cures. Condom use was a major topic in our presentation, we demonstrated how to correctly open a condom packet and compared HIV transmission with and without a condom, using a diagram. After looking through the leaflet on how to use them, and laughing at our descriptions, each member of the audience was given a handful of condoms, which they gratefully received. Before the presentation ended, some questions were raised about the acquisition of female condoms, which we explained could be discussed at the local clinic.

Written by Sue Fletcher & Isabelle Younane

Healthy Eating & Drinking (Standing L-R: Margarida, Jade, Eddie)

Healthy Eating & Drinking

We talked mostly about 3 main topics:

*Food Pie Chart

*Food to limit (sweets/fried food)

*Healthy drinking

We described the food pie chart of how much wheat, meat, fruit, veg and dairy products should be eaten a day. We specifically mentioned the amount of fruit and veg they should have a day and how they contain a lot of vitamins to help prevent flues, cold and help boost their immune system. In contrast we focused their attention off the foods they should limit, for example, fizzy drinks, sweets and fried food.

Lastly we spoke about healthy drinking, how much clean water they should drink a day and showed how many cups this would be. In parallel we told them alcohol should be drunk in a moderate and controlled way and we gave an example of how many cans of beer would be acceptable to drink at once. We also showed them bottles of rum and wine to demonstrate the amount of alcohol is considered acceptable at once.

The audience was very enthusiastic about our stand and they were particularly interested at the end, they asked questions regarding alternative ingredients they could substitute others that are very expensive for them (eg. Meat/Cheese). They mentioned that beef is not a common product on their daily diet and we suggested that it could be substituted with beans, because they have the same amount of protein.

Another topic brought up by them was fruit and vegetables have more vitamins but how could they get the vitamins in more affordable foods? We explained that oranges, bananas, tomatoes have a lot of the nutirients that they need, but a good way of having more variety would be to add spinach and cabbage to their rice.

Finally, the women mentioned they would actually like to see the different ingredients on the table, instead of having them in a drawing of the food pie chart.Most of them specifically talked about cheese, since this is something they don’t usually eat, because it is very expensive when compared to other products.They suggested that next time we could have small pieces of cheese so they could try out how tastes and what they would use it for.

Written by Jade Thomas & Margarida Rodrigues

Malaria Prevention (Standing L-R: Eddie, Katherine sitting, Jantine)

Malaria Prevention

Our presentation for Awareness Day was based on Malaria. We had four main points to get across; where malaria comes from (mosquitoes), how to prevent mosquito bites, the symptoms of malaria and that going to the hospital to be tested was vital.

We made the presentation as visual as possible and this was received really well by the local women. When Jantine described how to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes Katherine put on a long sleeved top and climbed onto a pretend bed underneath a mosquito net which was hanging from a tree outside. This got a lot of laughs from the crowd and hopefully this will stand out in their memory and demonstrate the message clearly.

Overall we believe that the presentation was succinct, it relayed each message very well. The one query we received was questioning whether or not malaria could come from water. This was quite a shocking question and we quickly reassured them that malaria only came from mosquito bites. We connected and assured them that the waters role in malaria prevention was the need to put lids over water buckets and containers so that mosquitoes are unable to lay their eggs.

To conclude, the short nature of our presentation meant that it ran smoothly without a great deal of complexity.

Written by Katherine King & Jantine Verboeket

General Hygiene (Standing L-R: Eddie, Becky, Emily)

General Hygiene

General Hygiene covered hand washing, eye infections and oral hygiene. We explained the importance of washing your hands with soap and hot water, if available, or clean cold water, and when you should wash your hands after going tot the toilet, working outside, treating wounds etc and before eating and preparing food. In regards to eye infections, we described some symptoms of eye infections, including sore or watery eyes and a burning sensation behind your eyelids. We also explained how to prevent spreading eye infections. Tooth brushing was fairly straight forward as we demonstrated how to brush all surfaces of your teeth and the importance of using toothpaste and rinsing your mouth. We handed out toothbrushes and toothpaste to all the ladies but of course they all wanted a different colour, different size and 10 more for their kids at home! We also briefly went through the dangers of smoking and its possible effects on your health. All in all it was a successful presentation that was easily received thanks to our translator Eddie. We hope that we imparted some useful information and that the toothbrushes will get some good use!

Written by Emily Edwards & Becky Hatton

Monday, 20 September 2010

Art Day (Thursday 16th September 2010)

Today the whole school participated in a day of art organised by Ashy and Dani. We began the day with the normal routine, which meant distributing e-pap as the children arrived and also singing a few songs together during circle time.

Dani and Ashy organised use all into three groups; 3-4 year olds inside the pre-school in one room, 4-5s into another classroom and the 5-6s in a separate classroom outside.

Katherine, Emily and Jantine were with the 4-5 year olds. We started with leaf rubbings. Some of them found it very hard but one little girl managed really well...she's definitely an artist in the making!

The next activity was finger painting, which was of course rather messy....although not as bad as it could have been! The children enjoyed using their thumbs, and other fingers, to make flowers. Some of the volunteers also enjoyed doing this!

After a quick run around outside in the sun, we moved onto the next activity. The children coloured in little paper cut-outs of themselves, which were then placed onto a sketch of the school. The finished product looks amazing, it's bright and colourful and really represents the spirit of the school. Everyone was really pleased with the final piece of art and is now proudly displayed inside the school.

A huge thank you to Ashy and Dani for organising such a fun and successful day!

This blog was written by Katherine King (Thank you also!)

Sunday, 19 September 2010

New Bikes and Uniform for all African Impact Staff!

The African Impact Staff! (L-R Deolinda, Eddie, Joao, Cecilia, Lourenco, Zelia, Maria, Samuel)

Last Friday each member of the African Impact Staff received a new bike (brilliantly put together by Joao) and a very smart African Impact uniform. Each member of staff works so hard towards making this project the success that it is, so a HUGE thank you to them all!

Joao's mastered it! Eddie gives Samuel a helping hand

Friday, 17 September 2010

Completed Building Project...New toilets at Pre-school!

The volunteers and our very hard-working translator Eddie have completed a new set of toilets for pre-school. It took two weeks and alot of hard manual work but everyone got stuck in and the rewards are well worth it.....thank you everyone :)

*New Project* English Club

We have just started an exciting new project....English Club. Currently we have twelve students who all work at our volunteer accomodation, Aguia Negra, and they attend lessons on a Saturday morning from 9-10 a.m. The lessons are planned and led by the volunteers and focus on speaking and listening skills, which will aid them in their jobs.

We are hoping the project will prove to be as successful as our others and will grow to include more members of the local community.

Mozambique Victory Art Day

On Thursday 2nd September we held an art day at pre-school to celebrate Mozambique Victory Day. Victory Day, the 7th September, celebrates the date Mozambique initially gained independence from Portugal in 1974.

In their classes the children loved decorating and making brightly coloured flowers from pipe cleaners and tissue paper. They then all joined together for a colourful procession in the plyground. They enjoyed waving their flowers in the air and singing 'Bandeira Africana, Bandeira Mocambicana', meaning 'Flag of Africa, Flag of Mozambique'.

The volunteers later helped to make the flowers into two wreaths and a lovely garland, which are now hanging brightly outside the pre-school.

Using the colours of the flag- green, red, yellow, black and white, all the children helped to paint a big 'MOCAMBIQUE' sign. Many messy hands later....it looks great hanging in Zelia's classroom.

It was a really fun morning with big smiles, loud singing voices and multi-coloured decorations in celebration of a special Mozambican national holiday.

Written by Laura Barton and Katie Hood- thank you girls for planning a fabulous morning!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

HIV/AIDS Awareness Project

African Impact has just completed 4 more successful weeks of our HIV/AIDS Awareness Project. We had three sessions at the Escola Secundaria de Vilanculos, teaching a class of 18+ year olds, and two sessions at Alta Macassa working with a group of HIV positive women.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the secondary school, and found the students to be enthusiastic, hard-working and knowledgeable. We taught the students about prevention and treatment, along with the biology and history of the virus. Although the students were already quite well informed, we found it necessary to clear up some of the common myths surrounding HIV and AIDS. The students were very engaging and asked many questions, which was fantastic and created a lot of discussion amongst the class.

In one of our sessions we performed a short play about HIV, in which our main character Pedro was persuaded by his friend not to buy condoms as “it’s better without!” Pedro then goes on to have unprotected sex with Nilza, a girl he met in a local nightclub. After the performance the students were asked what they thought of the play, and what they thought about how the characters acted. We then invited the students to change the play so it had a more positive ending, and asked the students to enter the roles of the characters. This worked really well, and the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves. In the second part of the session we asked the students to create their own piece of drama about various HIV/AIDS topics. The students came up with some great performances and really explored the issues surrounding the virus.

Our two sessions at Alta Macassa were very different from those at the secondary school; the group was a lot smaller and our sessions were much more casual. We began both sessions with a quick game of Uno to help make everyone feel more comfortable. The women took to the game quickly and everyone really enjoyed themselves. Since it was already known that the women were HIV positive, we decided to focus specifically on the transmission of the virus and treatment.

In our second session we asked the women to create a piece of artwork that expressed how they felt about HIV/AIDS. This was very special because they had never done anything like it; most of them had never even held a pen. It took them a while to take hold of the idea, but once they started working they got very involved. The artwork covered a wide range of topics, some focused on the need for a healthy diet while others illustrated the need for support from loved ones. Overall, the two sessions went very well and the women were eager to learn more.

Throughout the past four weeks, we have been lucky enough to work with a lot of great people and have really enjoyed the project. We look forward to future updates on the progression of the HIV/AIDS Awareness Project.

Written by Catriona Currie and Katie Hood

Monday, 13 September 2010

African Impact Mozambique on YouTube!

We had the pleasure of having Yvette and Maurice from Activity International visit our projects last month. While here they kindly put together a video of Vilanculos, life as a Volunteer and the projects we are working on, check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbYPNB9ifUc

Monday, 30 August 2010

Road Safety Day

On Friday the 27th August, African Impact ran it's first ever road safety lesson at pre-school. The lesson was spilt into three different sections, focusing on areas that the volunteers had noticed there were concerns, including:

  • Crossing the road,

  • Where to walk,

  • Not using the road as a playground!

For the 'Crossing the road' activity the children were taught five basic steps using flashcards and 'do as I do'. 1= Listen, 2= Look left, 3= Look right, 4= Look left and 5. Ok......now walk. The volunteers created a road using skipping ropes and the children had to pretend to cross the road using the five basic steps.

For the 'Where to walk' activity the volunteers drew a road scene on the blackboard with clear pavements. Using stick on cars, bikes, motorbikes and pedestrians, we asked the children to put them in the correct place.

For the 'Not using the road as a playground' activity, the volunteers created another road using skipping ropes and demonstrated how you should and should not behave on the roads and pavements. Including: sitting/ lying on the road, chasing each other, chasing vehicles and picking up fruit. We had made a car, which we used on the 'road' to model the correct behaviour. Using the same activity and several of our pupils, we showed the rest of the school our correct road safety behaviour. The children really enjoyed the demonstration and were beeping constantly! Also in the second session we sang our fantastic song, which was a 'mash up' of 'The Wheels and the Bus' and several other songs the children know well. It was such fun!

Overall it was a hugely successful morning and the teaching points were re-enforced in real life by four volunteers who walked home with most of the class...and not one of them chased the truck!!!

The blog was written by Danielle Bailey, who also suggested the lesson needed to be taught and planned it along with Laura Barton. It was a well planned lesson and will be repeated every two months in the future to keep up the safe road behaviour. Thank you Danielle and Laura!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Water Awareness Day....What A Success!

What an amazing day......on Friday 20th August we held a Water Awareness Day at Pre-school. Around seventy members from the local community came along to learn about water hygiene and health. This fantastic attendence was due to the volunteer's hard work planning and making leaflets, which were handed out the day before during a 'walkabout' around Mahake. The volunteers worked in four groups to plan and make resources for an informative and fun stand, each on a different aspect of water awareness. They kept it visual and fun, with lots of demonstations and also free samples of soap. Everybody had such a fanatastic morning and at the end a lady thanked the volunteers for putting on the event for the community. She explained that although they already knew they should wash their hands properly with soap, many people do not and that it was interesting to find out about the diseases and how to prevent them. She also expressed her general appreciation for our Water Awareness Day. Below are the volunteer's summaries of their information stands.

  • Handwashing (written by Danielle Bailey, Heledd Owain and Nina Baur):

The aim of our stall was to educate the community on when and why they should wash their hands and the consequences of not using soap. On our stand the group were shown a series of prompt cards with different activities on e.g. administering first aid or going to the toilet. They were then asked to decide whether they should wash their hands, before, after or both. We had a bowl of soap and water and asked them to wash their hands if they thought the answer was yes, but they were a little shy. Once the prompt cards were completed we explained the diseases that they could catch if they didn't use soap, which caused a few surprised faces. At the end we gave out free soap, but the demand was so high we had to cut them into smaller pieces.

  • Drink Water, Clean Water (written by Johanna Oblund, Megan Jones and Maroeska Van Oosten):

We wanted to inform about the importance of drinking water so we had one poster with 'Why' it's important and also 'How to know I'm drinking enough' facts. The second poster was about safe/clean water, informing about how to make sure the water is safe to drink. We divided this poster into three parts: water from the river, the pump and rainwater. The third poster explained why clean water is so important; informing about diseases and again emphasising checking the water source and what to do if they're unsure the water is safe. We also illustrated how much a person should drink each day by using the male and female puppets. Deolinda did a fantastic job translating for us and everybody seemed very interested in the information we provided.

  • Storing Your Water (written by Katie Hood, Emilie Mesmans and Laura Barton):

We aimed to explain how to keep your water clean in a container and safe from contamination. The main message was 'Keep it clean and keep it covered'. We gave some examples of daily activities such as: farming, using the toilet and playing, and explained how you should always wash your hands with soap and water. We also showed a clean bucket with a lid, explaining how an open bucket risks the water getting dirty and contaminated, leading to illness. The visitors seemed very interested in the advice and the morning was very successful.

  • Cleaning With Water And Soap (written by Catriona Currie, Kelly Bolhuis and Ilona Elferie):

Our Water Awareness Day stand was a great success. We used colourful posters, visual aids and props to explain the best ways to clean your body, teeth and house. We explained that you should always use clean water and soap, toothpaste or washing up liquid. The group were very attentive and engaged in discussions about whether you could use soap and washing up liquid interchangeably. The group seemed to appreciate the advice we gave.

The morning was a huge success and thank you very much to everyone involved!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Care's Support

We have been very lucky over the last few months in having incredible support from CARE International. CARE have been incredibly generous in the diverse areas which they have helped Escholinha de Boa Esperanca.
Since March with the help of volunteers and the dedicated work of Lourenco an area of land has been cleared at preschool. Last month the land was leveled and CARE organized for local carpenters and builders to come and construct the playground. As you can see from the photographs the children have loved playing on the seesaw, slide and swings.

CARE have also donated five beautiful wooden tables and twenty chairs. Now with a brand new roof on the main building at preschool (paid for through our Sponsor a Child scheme) we no longer have to worry about rainy days disrupting lessons and materials and resources being effected by the water and the new tables and chairs being damaged.

We have always provided the children with daily rice (cooked for by a volunteer or Lourenco) which has been supplemented with the vegetables grown at the preschool farm. Now with the support of CARE the children have ePap (a vitamin and nutrient powder) which is added to hot water. When the water is cool enough to drink fresh fruit juice is added as well as oil and sugar. This ePap constitutes to the daily allowance a child needs daily for growth and development. This is given to the children on arrival at Preschool and goes down really well!

A New Roof on the Preschool!

For years now we have had constant problems with the roof at Preschool leaking. Although many attempts have been made to patch the offending areas rain still seemed to seep through into the school. This caused extensive disruption to lessons as the water flooded the main classroom.

Now I am so thrilled to say that we have a brand new roof! This was paid for by the general funds of our Sponsor a Child scheme. The new roof brings with it many benefits including the obvious lack of disruption to classes. Volunteers can now paint the interior of the preschool (something that is already well under way) without having to repaint in a few months time to cover the water damage. CARE have been very kind in donating some beautiful wooden tables and chairs which we can store without the worry of them becoming damaged by the water.

Esperanca’s Children’s’ House

Last month saw the completion of a house which the volunteers built for the children of Esperanca; our teacher who tragically died last November.

The house was built for the eldest three of her six children who live with their father Alfredo. The younger children live out of town in the countryside with their grandmother. Before the house was built the children were sharing in a house with their uncle and auntie.

The volunteers greatly enjoyed seeing how the house came together under the leadership of master builder Eddie. When it was completed Deolinda and Zelia, Esperanca’s colleagues from the preschool came to see the end result.

This project was kindly supported by Michael Poppel who has given very generously to African Impact Mozambique. Thank you Michael.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

HIV Project Impacts the Secondary School!

June has been a very exciting month for the HIV/AIDs awareness project! Owing to a strong working relationship with Laura, a Peace Corp Volunteer, we were able to deliver a series of four teaching session promoting HIV/AIDs awareness at a local secondary school. We worked with a class of forty students aged between seventeen and eighteen years old which provided us with an excellent opportunity to work directly with our target audience.

As the content of the sessions was of a highly personal nature we began by agreeing a set of rules to which we would all adhere to throughout our time together. The students expressed the importance of trusting and respecting one another and ensuring that all information discussed in the sessions remained confidential.

At the outset, we created a list detailing any questions the students had about HIV/AIDs in view of answering them over the coming sessions. The class were very proactive and showed great interest in furthering their understanding of HIV/AIDs. Many of the questions concerned fundamental issues regarding transmission of the HIV virus. Accordingly, this exercise was very positive as it reinforced the importance of conducting such workshops.

In our first session we introduced the topic of HIV/AIDs by presenting information about the prevalence rate of people infected with the virus in Vilanculos. This elicited a mixed response from the class with many surprised by the high infection rate. We played a game whereby students were asked to write a statement they had heard about HIV/AIDs and indicated whether they thought it was a true or false. This task raised some common misconceptions about the virus and led to discussions of relationship issues such as the importance of being faithful. It was really rewarding to see the students considering the social context in which the information we were giving them was operate.

In the second session we focused on the differing ways in which the HIV virus can be transmitted. Through the use of role play, illustrated flashcards and a DVD presentation we discussed the range of possible transmission methods. The class had many questions and really engaged with the material. We then explained the biology of the virus to ensure the students understood the effect the HIV cells have on the human body. In particular, one student expressed his surprise at the aggressive nature of the virus. This was a very satisfying moment as the class were really comprehending the severity of contracting HIV and consequently the importance of protecting against it.

In the third session we focused on treatment of HVI and discussed the important things to remember once someone has begun taking medication. We used true or false games and group discussion to reinforce the crucial requirements associated with controlling the virus. We also used diagrams to show the speed at which HIV can spread as a result of unprotected sex.

In the final session we conducted a quiz and referred back to the set of questions from the first session. Much to our delight the students were themselves now able to answer those. This was extremely rewarding as it showed their knowledge and awareness of the HIV virus had really developed.

It was a pleasure to have worked with such a welcoming, bright group of students and this session marked the end of a truly fantastic experience.

Written by Laura Robinson from England who volunteered for one month from June-July 2010

Monday, 12 July 2010

Keeping Fit and Having Fun on Sports Day

This past Thursday we had a 'Sports Day' at the Pre-school. We planned a day of fun and games for the entire school and it was a great success! We spilt the children into eight different coloured teams, which were each led by a volunteer. We began the morning with an extended 'do as I do' gym session, to get the children warmed up and stretched out! There were four different events, a wheelbarrow race, egg and spoon race, skipping rope/army crawl challenge and a water relay. After the morning session we spilt the school into two groups and they enjoyed a game of soccer or a circle game with some beach balls. It was a fun day and all the children had a blast!

Written by Kelliann Devine, who with another fab volunteer Laura Robinson, planned the morning.

(Sorry we have been having problems uploading photos....they will be put up as soon as possible!)

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Art Day at Preschool - Mozambican Independence Day Theme

The volunteers got creative in planning a ‘Mozambique Independence Day’ (Independence day is on the 25th June) themed art morning for the whole school. Using the procession from Maputo through Vilanculos as an inspiration, the children made paper and sequin torches and we held our own procession, holding our torches high, through the playground. Each child also contributed to a fabric painting of the Mozambican flag and got very messy with handprints! A very fun morning enjoyed by all....Well done everyone!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Children’s Day with CARE International

Tuesday the 1st of June was a very special day for the children at A Escolinha De Boa Esperanca as it was Dia Das Criancas (Mozambican Children's Day) and we celebrated with a huge party! For weeks the teachers and volunteers had been preparing the children for this day by teaching new songs in both Portuguese and English and as well as performing these songs they played 'pass the parcel’. The children were also treated to a puppet show from CARE International and they donated the children's lunch which included chicken, vegetable rice and for a treat a bag of sweets and biscuits. After lunch the children then had some wonderful cake baked by Deolinda and Zelia. It was such a fun day for the children and rewarding for everyone involved. As well as this a new uniform of a red polo neck T-Shirts were given to each child very generously donated by Maureen Lonergan. Don't the children look smart?!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

HIV Testing at Escolinha de Boa Esperanca

On the 25th May we had an HIV testing morning at the Preschool. The previous week the volunteers made fliers and posters and walked around the Mahaque area letting the community know that we were organizing free testing with CARE International. The volunteers as well as Annie a volunteer from Mozambique Horse Safari arrived at 8am and there were already a few people waiting. CARE arrived soon after with five people to do the testing. Three stayed on site and set up separate testing stations while the other two walked around the neighborhood doing testing’s.

The volunteers playing a true and false game based around HIV/AIDS awareness and by this time there were a substantial amount of people waiting to be tested. Many questions were asked which was very encouraging and many were well informed and talked openly about HIV/AIDS. One woman explained that it is difficult to use condoms and when the volunteers asked why she said that her husband refused to wear one and she was tired of asking him. The volunteers gave facts about HIV/AIDS in Africa and specifically about how it is effecting Mozambique.

Darren and Mirjam then showed how to use a condom with the use of a cucumber. A number of the young men made fun of it but Darren reminded them that it is not a joke, could save your life and therefore is very important. They then offered for anyone to come up and try putting the condom on the cucumber. Sofia (the lady we are involved with in our HIV project) volunteered and gave a speech about the importance for woman to carry condoms as well as men and that a woman should walk away from a situation if the male does not want to use it. A number of young men then came up and did the demonstration however the women watching were a little shy to volunteer.

Karen and Annie played out a comic made by Mirjam about the ways you can contract HIV/AIDS. This was very entertaining and provoked a number of questions and comments by the audience.

Through out the time the volunteers kept the waiting audience engaged in total 56 people were tested of which 6 were HIV positive. If was a very successful morning which the volunteers found very rewarding. Many thanks to CARE International for doing the testing’s and we look forward to working again with them soon.

Written by Andrina, Mirjam and Alexandra (HIV Project Volunteers)

Welcome Kerrie, our new Volunteer Coordinator!

May saw the arrival of our new Volunteer Coordinator Kerrie. Kerrie is a qualified Primary Teacher from Salisbury, England with six years teaching experience in Salisbury and London. She took a career break last year (February to April 2009) to take part in African Impact's Lion Conservation project in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, where she absolutely fell in love with Southern Africa. She feels that her new job as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Mozambique community projects combines everything she is passionate about: teaching, working with the communities, Africa and working in a team with a variety of people. A huge welcome Kerrie!