Day 4 – Hoofd schouders, knie en teen

Written by Meike Berben & Freddy Renisch.

How to keep the participants awake after four days? Use a nice Dutch song and do some movements as well:

Hoofd, schouders, knie en teen. Head, shoulders, knee and toe
Knie en teen. Knee and toe.
Oren, ogen, puntje van je neus. Ears, eyes, tip of your nose.
Hoofd, schouders, knie en teen. Head, shoulders, knee and toe.
Knie en teen. Knee and toe.

At first sight, this little song might seem like the perfect energizer. And yes, it is! However, when you think about it for a while, the song suddenly has a deeper meaning.

`Hoofd` stands for all the knowledge input we got today. Firstly a presentation was given by the Agency for Refugee Education, Skills Training and Advocacy (ARESTA). ARESTA is providing refugees from different African countries with e.g. English language courses, life orientation, HIV/ AIDS workshops, CV checks, and assistance in legal matters. In the afternoon we had a workshop about MDG 2 (Education). The main conclusion was that although South Africa is doing well in the achievement of the MDG (enrolment, literacy rate and completion rates are high), the students are still underperforming due to poor quality of teaching.

`Schouders` symbolise the cohesion in the group and the cooperation with all the local organisations.
Today we also welcomed some friends from ‘Canada World Youth’, Mozambican students and South African exchange students, who participated actively in the workshops the whole day. Furthermore, the African participants could provide `the facts behind the figures`; personal experiences in their educational systems.

‘Knie en teen’ stand for stepping forward and undertaking actions: we started with some facts about the educational system, became aware that there is still a lot to be improved and gained inspiration to make a contribution. Finally we thought of concrete activities to undertake during our school visit of tomorrow.

`Oren, ogen‘ represent all our observations and experiences. These can be very small things, such as a view on the townships next to the modern airport of Cape Town or a ride in a third class Cape Town train that made us realise that we are just about to discover South Africa and that we are slowly opening our minds and deepening our understanding.

´Puntje van je neus` finally stands for looking further than your ´own nose´. For the first time AEGEE is looking ´beyond Europe´ and we are opening ourselves to new experiences as well. We are very conscious of the fact that the past few days have been an introduction and that the real confrontation with South African society is just about to begin from tomorrow onwards, when we are going to visit schools in a township.

A few more impressions of the day:

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