I awoke this Valentine’s to a WhatsApp “hello” from Mtuseni’s sister Bongeka. I’ve been grappling for six weeks to get her the mandated tablet for Grade 8 students… along with a SIM card and data plan. Having no electricity at home, she certainly doesn’t have WiFi. Her school principal said Bongeka told her she really needed data so she could “do research” at home. The principal figured it was more about her ability to chat with school friends. LOL…. teenagers!
I was also looking forward to Bongeka getting connected to have direct contact with her. Her first school year was frustrating because I had no contact and only got minimal updates about her from Mtuseni — who gets more taciturn as he gets older — and periodic calls with her principal. Knowing that their mother expresses little interest in their school activities, I’ve been eager to find out what she’s doing, how she’s feeling, and to be her champion. After all, I’m invested in her for at least the next five years through graduation.
So I was happy and excited to hear my WhatsApp chime and see her name and a little “Hi sir.” (Mom may not be big on schooling… due to her own background and illiteracy… but she certainly raises the most polite kids.) I haven’t seen Bongeka in five years. She is still very sweet but also very bright and grown up. She used big words — spelled correctly — in her texts. She is also excited about learning and doing well. As I mentioned in a previous post last year, Bongeka was being teased and ostracized in the settlement for being smart. (Dumb kids!) So I went on a mission to get her into a private school, and last year after a bumpy first term she totally blossomed at Meridian School.
So we chatted a bit yesterday, and then again this morning as she went home from school to do a project for her technology class. She needed to draw a functioning roof truss — and explained to me what a truss is. I’m excited to be hearing about her daily experiences, and hope I can fill in the support gaps for her as I did for Mtuseni. I know it will be different with a girl, but as her principal said to me today “I’m eager to see how far she flies.”
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