Ambassadors Report by Ronja Lundquist, March 8th
9:00 We left the hotel in a bus, together with a rather large group of people, for a half hour drive up to Nkanyiso High School. This school is preparing to become a Star for Life school so today we got the opportunity to watch first-hand how they work with the program. Today was stage 1 of 10 in the SFL program which means a workshop to introduce the students to the method and the dream diary.
When we arrived at the school, the whole school yard was calm and quiet. The students were already sitting in a big tent waiting for us. I was surprised how well disciplined they were, not at all like the students in our Swedish schools. The session started with an introduction by Siphile, who is one of the Star for Life representatives. He held the whole lecture today about the meaning of dreams and goals and that the responsibility for your future is in your own hands. Siphile told us about his own career and education. “Future success starts with great education” he quoted. He also told us how he started his own career by studying Drama at the University in Johannesburg but then realized that he was not going to end up in movies or television, so instead he started working. After a while he got in touch with Star for Life and today he is here with us to educate the students at Nkanyiso High. His dream is constantly evolving with new goals. His message: if he can dream so can everybody. The students we met today were in grades eight to nine, dressed up in their uniforms and red long-sleeved jumpers, very properly dressed I must say. Everyone got a new dream diary handed out to them, not just the students but we did as well. The dream diary contains different steps in the journey to proceed your goals:
– Dream, close your eyes and see your dreams.
– Write down your dream in your diary.
– Picture your dream before you, and then draw it down in your diary
After working through these steps some of the students got to tell us about their dreams and goals, I was quite surprised that there weren’t many children laughing and goofing around. This is a big difference from what we are used to in school. They showed respect to one another. To summarize their dreams they were pretty much similar to what anyone is dreaming of, a family of their own, wife/husbands and two kids, and a proper house. When it came to careers, priest, police and doctors were very popular occupations. They all agreed upon the importance of education and paying attention in school. Another part of the dream diary session was to write down necessary steps to go through in order to be able to reach our goals.
– Things I want to stop doing to achieve good marks.
– Things I want to start doing to achieve good marks.
– I promise myself to…
The morning session ended with a short run through about HIV and AIDS, how it’s spread and how to prevent the spreading of the virus. They also talked about the SFL Star and the meaning of the colours in the SFL star, followed up by singing and dancing in the the tent together.
Ken and Göran from the Swedish band Triple and Touch put on a good show and sang the Star for Life song about living an AIDS free life, together with the students. It was a joyful occasion and it´s going to be so exiting to go back to the school for the SFL launching on Friday. Our afternoon was spent in a Zulu village. We stopped for lunch at the house of Siphile and his family outside the town of Hluhluwe and then continued for a walk in the Zulu village. We got insight into the Zulu traditions and how they are living. Whole families live together, and by family they include multiple generations. In the home we visited four generations were living together.
The eldest member of the family is in charge, no matter if it is a woman or a man. For family occasions or family meetings they gather in the main house and then they have another house that is the kitchen and other houses for sleeping. It’s tradition in the Zulu villages that the women get more food than the men because they need more energy to have children, take care of the children, the house and so on. The women also brew beer for the men and they drink their beer from Zulu beer pots with a small lid, which looked like a small hat. When there is beer in the bowl the “hat” it turned upside down.
It has been a very interesting and educating day!