Kodumela Visits Choko
It is 7 o’clock in the morning and we are at Heathrow Airport, eagerly awaiting the arrival of our three visitors from Kodumela. We didn’t have to wait long for Ledile, Rosina and Elizabeth to appear and after much excited greetings, we proceeded to make our way back to Cholsey for the start of a hectic 10 days.
The following day commenced with a trip to the Community Tea Shop and Library where the ladies were most impressed with the simple, but effective bookcases. Many photos were taken and I’m sure something similar will soon be found in Kodumela Schools.
For the first time the Choko visit coincided with the Choko Beer Festival. The Kodumela Trio was the first act on the music stage, although as Ledile professed not to be able to co-ordinate her feet and hands, it was actually a duo who danced for us. The rest of the day was spent chatting to old friends, and new, and discovering the delights of Pimms!
Sunday morning saw the visitors attending St. Mary’s followed by a visit to Mapleduram House. An evening meal completed the busy day.
Now it was down to business and on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the ladies spent the days at Cholsey Primary School (linked with Mamokaile), Crowmarsh Gifford Primary School (linked with Masekane) and The Treehouse School. On all of these visits much was learnt about our early intervention and special needs provision. Cholsey School also entertained our visitors with an excellent concert performed by the children, and the Treehouse put on a display of English country dancing. Needless to say, at both events the ladies (well two of them) were prevailed upon to perform some African National dances.
Of course, the visit wasn’t all work and amongst other things, the ladies visited and sang at Cholsey Community Choir, rode on the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway, ate at The Red Lion, went to the Wallingford Toy Library, had a walk around the WI and local markets at Wallingford, discovered the delights of a charity shop and enjoyed meals at several homes.
26 present and former members of the Choko Committee and trips joined our visitors for a lovely shared supper where again juice (Pimms) proved to be very popular.
The visit finished with a shared service at St. Mary’s followed by lunch before seeing them back onto the minibus, with a lot of extra baggage, for their journey back to Heathrow and South Africa.
I am sure that visiting England throws up many unusual occurrences for our visitors and this year the one that seemed to stand out for them was the number of men they saw carrying or pushing babies. That, they said, would never happen in South Africa!
As ever those of us privileged to spend time with these remarkable women will never cease to wonder at what they can achieve if just given some help. I am proud to think that Choko has done just that.