Hogsback Mountain

Hogsback Mountain
Hogsback Mountain Wilderness

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Celebration of the Boxes

Last December during our brief visit to San Diego, I approached Jeannette Vaughn, the current principal of Albert Einstein Academies Elementary School in San Diego and discussed the possibility of organizing an effort to help the Phakamile Junior Primary School in Mdantsane, South Africa.  She readily agreed!

Our relationship with the students, teachers and principal at Phakamile has grown during the last six months as we worked with the students teaching English in the classrooms. 
Teaching 4th Graders English Lessons
The need for materials, especially books was critical, so together with Principal Skolpati at Phakamile and Principal Vaughn at AEA, a plan was launched to send boxes of used books and school supplies half-way around the world to the children in South Africa.  The students at AEA not only donated used books and school supplies, but they also donated nearly $900 to pay for the shipping of 19 priority mail boxes.

Filled boxes ready to be shipped in Albert Einstein Academy's Board Room 

The boxes finally arrive…
Boxes awaiting the celebration.
and the “The Celebration of the Boxes” is organized by Phakamile School. 
Parents waiting for the celebration to begin.
Principal Skolpati and Fowers being introduced.
Singing and chanting a song of welcome.
Elder Fowers and I formally presented the boxes to the children of the Phakamile School on March 22.
Elder Fowers explains details of the gift.

Joyful celebration erupts as "mamas" dance among children with the boxes balanced on their heads.

Spontaneous, joyful songs erupted from the parents.  The “mamas” took the boxes and danced among the children while balancing them on their heads.  The energy and emotion of the experience is beyond words and parents, children and teachers expressed their gratitude to AEA through cultural songs and dances. For nearly two hours we celebrated together and all the cultural barriers melted away.

Waving to the children.
Finally the time comes to open the boxes and share treasures with the Phakamile community.
Excited Anticipation
Books...Books...Books--worth more than gold.
Sharing picture of Einstein students receives thunderous applause.
The children at Albert Einstein Academies made the world a much smaller place through their generous gifts.  I hope they understand the difference they have made in the lives of these children. 
Happy Dance

Cultural barriers melt away as we celebrate together.
We were blessed to have played a small part in this grand event and will treasure the memories always.
Sister Fowers and Mrs. Mbiza, a Phakamile Teacher