On Saturday, our former student and now friend, came to visit us at Bakhita Village. Mashudu was an excellent student at St. Brendan’s and after graduating from university she worked as a geologist at a big mining company in South Africa. She has recently completed courses for a business degree and will most likely be one of South Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs one day. We had a great time catching up with her – you may remember from our trip last year, she’s the one who picked us up at the airport and shuttled us around for a day.
Mashudu wanted to spend some time with the Bakhita girls just getting to know them a little and giving them a chance to ask questions about all the things to which older adults cannot necessarily relate – especially if they are people who have not grown up in the same culture. After the girls sang a couple of songs welcoming Mashudu and we all had a bite of lunch, we left her to field questions from the girls. It was a great experience for all of them. Mashudu will stay in touch with Sr. Nancy during the year and will return to visit and help the girls as her time allows. Mashudu brought the girls some Valentine Sweets which they received with joy and gratitude.
Sunday was the day for the official photo shoot – the day when the girls wear their brand new dresses from the gift bags provided by so many of you and John takes a photo of each. We give Sr. Nancy a photo of each girl for her file. Another photo is used each girls’ school record and each girl gets a photo of herself to put in her personal journal or diary. Most girls remembered the drill from last year and dressed quickly and lined up for their moment.
After the photo shoot, we all needed to get out of the sun, so we came into the darker and a bit cooler house and John read to the girls THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein. The book was given to Lerato in her gift bag and it seemed like a great book for girls of varying ages and levels of English comprehension. They followed along and asked questions and made observations that enhanced the experience for all. The girls, in general, come to Bakhita with either no experience of men in their lives or bad experiences only. They’ve had a chance now to see how a man can also be kind, loving and a great teacher. He’s called Papa John and each time they gather around, they get a little closer. It’s all good!