Friday, December 21, 2012

Nativity Play

Happy Advent!  It’s summer here in South Africa, and it’s been nice to spend the month of December walking around in shorts and a t-shirt.  We’re officially on our “Summer Break”, but before we broke for the holiday, the students at the Holy Cross School put on the first ever Holy Cross Nativity Play for their families and friends at the monastery.  The kids got decked out in all sorts of shepherd, angel, wise men, and animal costumes.  It was pretty awesome!

Simamkele the Wise Man
A few of the animals 

The Angels
The students worked hard practicing the songs and speaking parts in the weeks prior to the performance, and when the big day came, they nailed it.  It was a treat to watch them perform.   

The Shepherds
The Stars

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, November 30, 2012


Inkululeko, which means freedom in isXhosa, is the name of an up and coming Non-Profit Organization that aims to provide academic and moral support to township youth in Grahamstown.  The mission statement for Inkululeko is as follows: 

To provide South African township youth with the skills, support and guidance necessary to apply, attend and succeed in university; to challenge the bigotry of low expectations for township youth; and to provide sustainable, positive change – student-by-student, generation-by-generation.

For the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of helping my friend Matt Kellen, a former Young Adult Service Corps Volunteer and one of the Directors of Inkululeko, get the project off the ground and running.  Inkululeko is doing some wonderful work, and it's been such a great experience to be involved.  When you get a chance, please check out the website:

Below are some pictures of the youth who have been involved so far.    


Some of the youth showing off the new Inkululeko backpacks
Looking sharp in the school uniforms!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Meet Buzwe.  Buzwe is a Grade 11 student at Nathaniel Nyaluza High School in the Grahamstown Township.  Buzwe is a quiet, hard working, and extremely polite teenager who LOVES soccer.   Almost everyday for the past year we’ve been working with Buzwe at the Holy Cross Resource Center (a place where Holy Cross scholarship kids can come for tutoring or homework help).  His commitment to showing up on a daily basis comes from his desire to improve his English grade, which is by far his worst subject in school.  Buzwe has the determination and motivation that teachers and coaches dream about in their students, and I'm so happy to share that on his most recent report card, Buzwe earned the highest grade for English he's received in years!  I'm so proud of him. Way to go Buzwe! 

Buzwe looking through the dictionary during an English lesson.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Pumba is a wildlife game reserve that is about a half an hour drive outside of Grahamstown.  It's home to what is known as the Big 5 in South Africa: the Lion, the African Elephant, the Cape Buffalo, the Leopard, and the Rhinoceros.  In South Africa game reserves are set aside for conservation purposes and they also afford people an opportunity to see some of Africa’s wildlife up close and personal.  However, private game reserves can be quite expensive, and unfortunately most South Africans are unable to enjoy the wildlife and beauty these reserves have to offer because of the high cost.  As part of a social outreach effort, Pumba game reserve hosted the Holy Cross School free of charge on a game drive in order for the students to see and experience the wildlife they only hear about and see in pictures.  Below are some photos of our class adventure.  

Mr. Lion

Holy Cross students posing in front of the Land Rover
The Rangers at the reserve like to call this big guy "Bumps"
The African Elephant

Masixole enjoying the drive