10th anniversary of Sithand'izingane and opening of the library:
22-05-2010 On May 23 we received an email from Maarten and that is the best description of the events:
I just woke up and enjoy the African sun to recover after a really great day at Sithand'izingane. We celebrated our 10th anniversary and in the programme were included the opening of the library and the music-garage. It was a very festive day and as you can see on the pictures it seemed almost a Dutch day. Everyone in an orange t-shirt, which happened to be the color of the day. It is a tradition here in South Africa to this kind of celebration, for all kids and for all employees a great shirt and thus it became a festive entry. We had expected the coming of many children, but that we would end up with 876 children and about 300 adults was even for us a big surprise. Suddenly it was clear how many children and adults we help and support. There was already a queue of people when Anke and I arrived at 08:16h. We used the celebration also to ask everyone to re-register to provide actural data and thus to ckeck whether we are using the right lists for the feedring-schemes in schools. Together with Sr. Sandra I started decorating the dining room and the outside. Balloons, streamers and a beautiful lettering made by Sr. Sandra. Anke began preparing liters of lemonade. Unfortunately there was a small logistic problem: there were only 200 plastic cups and as I mentioned 876 kids. Fortunately Anke and I have more experience with that sort of thing from Cultura Nova and Pinkpop, so we solved that problem quickly with some creative thinking. That was a laugh of course. Sr. Mary walked on the ground the whole day with a huge smile and especially the smiling faces of the children and the very festive mood were beautiful of course. There was much singing and dancing and everyone was well prepared. The choir sang beautiful and the marimba players and dancers were very good. (unlike that which I had seen and heard at rehhearsals in recent weeks) Occasionally I made a lap around the ground with Sr. Mary and when I asked her "Did you expect this 10 years ago?" she really had to laugh. Sr. Mary is an amazing woman and and I have great admiration for her and for her work. She is actually so modest and in the background and yet so present. It's amazing to see how everyone in the project treats her and - especially yesterday - congratulates her.
Well, after months the moment had come, yesterday we could finally open the library and the music-garage. I have told about the programm problems before, but together with Mathapelo and Thembi we could solve them last week. But only last Thursday the entire music-garage suddenly was filled up with building materials. The project has received money to renovate a number of houses. But I will tell about that another time. Everything was cleaned and waxed in recent weeks as if the queen would come to visit. Even the pavement was scrubbed with washing-powder.
So yesterday - after the programm in the tent - all invited went to the library and the music-garage. (see pictures) Sr. Mary had already hung a poster with many thanks to Stichting Intabazwe. And there is a temporary placard, stating that the library has been established thanks to Stichting Intabazwe. Of this I have to make a final poster. The library will not get a special name, as everyone now uses the word "library" and that is clear to everbody. With colourful letters I have hung the name on the door and now it is clear to everyone where we are. Sr. Mary had thought, that perhaps it would be good for someone (from The Netherlands) to speak a few words. We had asked Anke as so-called guest of The Netherlands to give an opening speech.on behalf of Stichting Intabazwe and to cut the tape. I didn't want to do this myself to prevent confusion for the employees of the project. First Sr. Mary made a speech in which she thanked Stichting Intabazwe for the excellent cooperation and support for the library and the project in general. Then she introduced Anke as representative from The Netherlands. On behalf of Stichting Intabazwe Anke officially transferred the library to the project wishing them a lot of success and fun and hoping the library may be a start for enjoyment of reading and various acitvities of reading and writing. Then the big coloured ribbon was pulled with the help of some kids and the room was blessed by tradiotional Zulu custom. After that I myself told some guests about the work of the library and the activities we do with the children. The rest of the day people constantly went in and out admiring the library.
And the it was time for photos and a festive lunch followed by the cutting of the 'anniversary cake'. Now we are back home. Yesterday we went to bed early. All those kids, all those parents, all this attention to anyone, it was wonderful !!!
Lots of greetings, Maarten and Anke