Born in Africa: The Belgian connection in Plettenberg Bay

DSC_0250Cries of amazement are the first sounds we hear when we visit a little school close to Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. Three white young men enter the classroom, not an everyday event. “What are they doing here?”

Thanks to the Belgian organization, Born in Africa, we were allowed to visit a primary school in the township Kranshoek, a few kilometres from the beautiful beaches of Plettenberg Bay.

In brief: Born In Africa tries to provide the children of Kranshoek of education, by building schools, but also by organizing extracurricular activities. One of the Belgian student, Rien, spent a few months organizing football games. You can read all the information in English, Dutch and even Norwegian on the website of Born in Africa.

Township Experience

The visit of the school is also our first township experience. With around 10.000 inhabitants, Kranshoek is only a small township. Everyone in Kranshoek knows what Born In Africa is doing for the children, so it’s not a dangerous township. It’s not a problem to walk around with a photocamera or with a phone, not like in Cape Town or Johannesburg.

Remarkable: the township consists of stone housings only, a project of the South African government. The small stone houses look nicer than the ones of wood and corrugated sheets, but that doesn’t mean the people who live inside are less poor.

DSC_0266Fist Bump

The school looks less old fashioned than we had feared. In terms of infrastructure, it is comparable to a Western European school of a few decades ago. The classes of around 35 students are a bit larger than schools that we know. But it there was certainly no question of overcrowded classes.

What struck us immediately was the heat in the classroom, no air conditioning o or ventilation. It apparently did not bother the kids. They are very energetic and make is a point of honor the give us a high five or fist bump.

The girl with the crayons

In the second grade of the school in Kranshoek studies, one girl is the only one in the class with crayons. Because she’s the only one, she always have to share them with the classmates. By chance our gift to the school was drawing and craft material. And so we gave the little girl the pack full of crayons.

The girl didn’t really know what was happening, certainly not when she had to pose for a picture with her brand new crayons. The good deed of our trip was hereby done. 😉

Toon Voets, from Belgium

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