We were excited about the first chance to be with the children and teachers at Elim School. We were told the location had changed since the visit by the October 2017 team. As we drove up to the relocated site, the front door on the building closed, leaving us puzzled about our welcome. But as we got out of the vans, the school door flew open and smiling children swarmed out to greet us with group hugs and laughter.
We unloaded donated school supplies—pencils, sharpeners, and notebook paper—and took to the classrooms to work on math skills, social studies, English, and beading. During the morning break and at lunch the children thoroughly enjoyed endless games of chase around the premises with the high school members of the team, eventually swamping them when they were “caught”—then ready to start all over again. The staff provided us a lunch of traditional South African foods, then after more time in the classrooms, we headed to the Ditshego “Place of Safety” for the balance of the day. At Ditshego we toured the house, classrooms, and the new tunnel (hoop) gardens which will greatly increase the ability to grow vegetables to supplement the children’s meals. We concluded with planning for the work to be done there through the rest of the week. That evening, members of our partner West View Methodist Church hosted three of our team members for dinner.