At the Lefofa Primary School, Nkosi asked us to give a short lesson about the importance of hand washing. We each took a group of students and paired up with a PureMadi worker. At first, I was a little nervous to speak in front of a large group of students and teachers. I don’t speak Tswana well and I didn’t know exactly what to say. However, when I saw the kids and how excited they were to meet me, I instantly felt better. They were all so curious about me, the United States, and what college is like. Of course, they asked which country I supported in the World Cup and who my favorite player was. They were a little disappointed I said Messi, as they preferred Ronaldo. Eventually, the teacher came by and organized them into rows in order to hear our presentation.
Grace began by giving a brief summary of the history of PureMadi and how the ceramic filters worked. The kids were extremely attentive and were very responsive to all her questions. I then went into my part, but first I greeted them with the traditional “Dumelang”. I think many of the kids were surprised I even knew the Tswana greeting because many of them giggled and smiled. I then tried to keep the presentation engaging and interactive. I asked them questions like “Why do we wash our hands?”, “When do we wash our hands?”, and “What germs are and why are they bad?”. Perhaps the most fun part was when I asked them to raise their hands above their head to show Grace and I how they wash their hands. Each kid rubbed their hands together, scrubbed their fingers, and imitated washing their hands. It was so good to see that the kids had such a comprehensive understanding on the importance of hand washing and keeping clean in general.
Overall, visiting the school has been one of the highlights of my visit to South Africa. It was so fun to interact with the kids and talk with them about school, soccer, and what they do for fun. I think I was most surprised by how excited they were to meet me. They wanted to know my name, where I was from in the US, and all these different things about my visit. The students and faculty just made me feel so welcomed and happy to be there. I was especially impressed with Grace’s granddaughter, Masejo, who wrote PureMadi to let us visit the school. She spoke in front of her whole school and thanked us for visiting. It was incredible to see how much she cared about clean water and how brave she was to speak in front of all of us. It was definitely not something I would have been able to do when I was in middle school. Lastly, I really felt the sense of “community” in the school and in the town in general. The teachers all truly cared about improving the health of themselves and their students. I hope to visit again soon!