It was a great event! More than 60 teachers from Matopo Primary School and the surrounding region attended. Each received an Oxford Bookworm reader, a set of colored felt-tip pens, a workshop booklet and assorted other "goodies" including a Toblerone chocolate which I'd brought all the way from Switzerland, worrying about them melting in the heat all the way. They survived!
I had the workshop booklets printed and bound in South Africa, thanks to English Teachers Association of Switzerland donations. It was fun putting the activities together: I included jazz chants, pantomime, songs, drawing and story telling and writing as well as some more theoretical aspects of teaching English, and I feel sure that I achieved the right mix. The feedback was overwhelming!
That said, things are worse than ever in Zimbabwe. The border crossing experience from South Africa was a sign that all is not well--it took us over 5 hours, due to the long queues of people who'd been shopping in Musina for basics which are since a long time not available in Zimbabwe. I thought things couldn't get any worse when I was there last year, but unfortunately I was wrong.
I'll be posting some pictures of the event here soon, so please come back and check for further news.
My own thoughts afterwards were mixed--it seems so discouraging--but in the end I resolved to keep the project going as long as humanly possible. I simply cannot turn my back on these teachers and children now--they need our help more than ever.
The Matopo Primary School Teacher-to-Teacher project is documented here. It is kindly being supported by ETAS (English Teachers Association Switzerland) and the Roger Federer Foundation.