First Shine Centre Days Cape Town South Africa


Shine Learning Partners
Prestwich School Green Point

On Monday I attended an introductory training session at the Prestwich SchoolThe Shine Centre’s location in Green Point. It’s near famous Green Point Soccer Stadium.

Shine Literacy – GivenGain
Cape Quarter

Cape Town’s Green Point is strikingly similar to San Francisco’s South of Market (SOMA) District – both before and after development. In some areas there are old brick warehouses on cobblestone streets, in others, renovated buildings with Cape Malay architecture and upscale office and shopping complexes. Cape Quarter is one complex I visited – it’s a great place to shop for anything and everything – from groceries at SPAR to fancy delis, restaurants, cafés, and fashionable boutiques.

Cape Quarter
Shine Children

I’ve had two reading sessions on my own, but the process is still new. It’s an amazing experience working with these young children (second to fourth grade). My first reading session was with an eight-year-old African boy (Enrique Chinydka) who had difficulty focusing and sitting still. He recently moved from Zimbabwe to live with his father in South Africa.

Cape Quarter

During literacy hour, Enrique couldn’t concentrate and was everywhere in the reading room. Shine Centre learning partners are not tough disciplinarians. We encourage the children to do their best, and know they’re all trying to improve their reading skills – in itself, that’s an admirable effort. Many of the children come from difficult living situations and have had troubles in their young lives. Like all of us, sometimes they have a bad day. With varied success, I tried to bring Enrique’s attention back to the reading lesson. My animated attempts at reading him a book and sounding out the vowels caught his attention, but he became distracted again.

Table Mountain Donkey

The second child, a shy Muslim boy named Imityaaz Knowlden, was the opposite – serious and focused. He was absolutely “flying” with his reading skills. More interested in reading than writing, together we wrote a few short sentences. Imityaaz was a star and did well with everything.

Shine Literacy – Twitter

Helping these children improve their reading skills is fulfilling, and as I get more sessions under my belt, I hope to become better and better at it. Each child is different, and we end the sessions with a handwritten note praising their efforts.

Shine Literacy – Media Update

On August 15, I’ll also begin spending time with children at the orphanage on the same grounds as The Shine Centre in Zonnebloem. Two German college students are helping until then. It’s a small orphanage with six children. I’ll take photos of the children and post their names and pictures on the blog, but will wait until the right time to do that. They’re all sweet!

Prestwich Primary School Cape Town
Tamboerskloof and Donkeys

I’m settling into my new Tamboerskloof apartment surrounded by Signal Hill and other Table Mountain terrain. This evening there’s fog spewing over the top of Table Mountain. Will try to get a good photo of the famous “tablecloth” on Table Mountain and post it. Tamboerskloof is not as “inner city” as my other flat which was located near the beach and a few seconds from busy, bustling streets. There are nearby cafés within walking distance and the heart of Cape Town is less than ten minutes away. High in the hills, Tamboerskloof is like neighborhoods in San Francisco – Russian Hill and Potrero Hill are two that come to mind. It’s interesting living in a different part of Cape Town and fun discovering its secrets.

Shine Literacy – shineliteracy.org.za

My biggest surprise so far was coming home last night to a street filled with donkeys! They didn’t budge, so I got out of the car and took photos! Eventually they moved, so I could get into the driveway. These are wild donkeys. They live on Table Mountain and sometimes come down into the neighborhoods in the evening. The neighbors feed them apples and other natural food. As you can see from the photo, they’re healthy but look a bit haggard.