I have been in Johannesburg for almost eight weeks. In the past few weeks, I have done a lot of works and traveling. The life in Johannesburg is not so fun especially during the weekdays but I am getting better to enjoy the time here. I am so glad that my internship is going well and learning a lot about development work and myself during the time here.
As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, I was working on the project on creating a model classroom for Grade-R with teacher training. This project started in the first week of my internship. For this project, I have invested most of my time because I thought it will be my biggest gain from this internship. I did all the literature review and held interviews with local consultants and contacted my professor at the university. I was looking forward to seeing the implementation of it before I finish my internship. Because of some challenges on the project methodology and management, the project was about to cancel and then it was decided to postpone it to September. It means that I will not be able to see its implementation. Firstly, I felt frustrated but then decided to take it as an important work experience and decided to focus on another project. This was a life lesson for me being flexible with unexpected events. It also made me realized that there are some other realities in development work which we have not seen in the articles and reports. We are working with people and the world does not have a laboratory condition to control all external factors and dynamics among the team members.
JET has a lot of projects and I easily distracted by another project. I had a chance to attend a field visit for the project on school improvement. The first day, I observed my colleague and second day I started to hold an interview with the teachers for need analysis of the project. It was my first field experience and I was really excited. During the interview, I realized it is important to use some ice-breakers and have a positive attitude to make the participants feel comfortable and keep them more engaged. During the interview with the ECD teacher, I told about my previous teaching experience as a preschool teacher.
Then, she invited me to her classroom and visited her class. I was really surprised when I see fifty-four children in a small class. It was music and movement time. I stayed for about half an hour and before I leave the teacher asked me whether I would like to share any song with the kids. Of course, I would love to sing however when I was a teacher, I had nine children in my class and never lead a class more than fifteen children. I generally know the interactive songs but it is not possible to do it with this classroom size. After I took some time to decide on a song, I sing a family song and the children and the teacher really liked it. The teacher asked me to write down the song for them before I leave to sing them later again. I also really enjoy it and realized how much I have missed to working with the children. On Mandela Day, my organization organized a volunteering event to support the school. I went to the school with some of my colleagues. There were many options and I have chosen to paint the school and have another chance to interact with the children.
I am glad that I have some friends from my cohort. Last week, Susan came and went hiking tour and stayed with me on her last week of internship. It was the week I did not go to sleep at 9pm which is my usual sleeping time here 🙂 Although we are having our internship with the same organization, we haven’t been together in the same office until her last week. Additionally, it was the first time all IDEP interns in South Africa came together. We all met and celebrated Nicole’s birthday. For Nicole’s birthday, we organized a trip and went to the Kruger National Park. We rent a car and made a safari trip plan. I drove almost 5oo km on the opposite side of the way with the biggest car I have ever driven. Although hitting the wipers instead of indicators in my first hour of driving:) but we made it safely! Also, I should mention that how we all yelling each time when we saw an animal during our game drive as if it was our first time to see! It was a really fun road trip and we have seen Big 5 except leopard. IEDP friends are the best and so happy to have them here. In my next blog, I will mention my new work experience in Cape Town office and travel plans after the internship.