The day was devoted to spending time with the students and teachers at the school at Elim, which is situated next to the Elim church. But before we left Mahanya, Fedor carried out an animal rescue, removing a small dove that had found its way into Charlene and Wendy’s room. With the natural order restored, we headed for the school.

The students were waiting for us. The younger ones were excited and mobbed team members for mass hugs. The older students were pretty much as adolescents elsewhere, not so sure about the visitors and too mature for mob hugs. The younger students were separated out and moved into the church building, where our retired teacher, Charlene, took charge with other team members, showing how engaging and teaching children is done, no matter where they are.

The other team members spent some time meeting the older students before starting some craft projects that were made with easily available materials and could either be used at home or sold for the benefit of the school. Ivan proved to be a master teacher for the students working on keychains made from corks and ended up with a dedicated group that used all the corks we brought, with a wide range of the students’ own designs. The older girls in the school created a lot of distinctive and beautiful necklaces and bracelets.

We were provided a lunch with foods associated with different South African groups, including fried ox liver, hominy, samp (cooked dried, husked corn kernels), samp and beans, a spicy chicken wing dish, and a cabbage salad. In the afternoon, we continued with the students working on their projects until it was time for clean up at the end of the school day. On our way back to Mahanya we found more materials to continue the projects on Tuesday morning.

That evening, after dinner at Mahanya, we were invited to attend a small gathering at West View with the pastor and some members to answer questions we might have about their church or South Africa and to spend some time getting to know each other over coffee, tea, and snacks.