Chrysalis Project

Many thanks to all who have been following us here on the website. 

I am not unaware that there hasn't been a whole lot to follow. :)  Since my last posting way back in April, I have sat down many times to write blog posts. And then, hit "delete". While writing is something that normally brings great satisfaction, that I'm squeezing it in between other life priorities was evidenced in those blog postings. They all read forced and contrived. So, delete!

Between the daily farm chores that start before the crack of dawn, renovations on the main house that will be on-going into 2013, working with our area kids and young adults, building up of our non-profit organization, and developing and keeping up with profit-generating work (so we, too, can eat), all which continue long after the sun sets, plus taking a wee bit of time to enjoy all that we're doing, and appreciate the good people in our Valley …

…, trying to blog here is just … well … wrong. It doesn't fit. Despite what we expected — a slower (ha ha ha!), more contemplative lifestyle — life currently happens in snippets and, as we used to say in the broadcast business, "sound bites" that come and go and pass faster than a mongoose can steal a guinea fowl (that's fast!). Plans and priorities change with the wind (and I don't mean only figuratively), the rains, the availability of a particular item or tool, or the health, life, death, and birth of our animals; projects begun are without end (see previous "plans and priorities"), or at least seem so; and the growth and learning that we're both experiencing are as big and rich as a pile of rhino poo (just believe me on this one), or at least larger than what I'm capable of putting on paper at the moment. 

So, we've made the decision that should've been made awhile ago: we're closing moving. No, no! Not physically moving. We're just … well, we're closing down this website … 

BUT, both Nils and I will continue to give updates on our Chrysalis Farm Facebook page. There you'll get "only" snippets, but we believe that the spontaneity provides a real and honest picture of our life/lives with all its trials, joys, (sometimes hard) lessons learned, and successes. 

You can also read about our work with our non-profit organization on our Chrysalis Project South Africa website and on our Chrysalis Project South Africa Facebook page

We hope you'll continue to follow us on our daily and life journeys, and we hope that life is bringing YOU joy and as many adventures as you can handle. 

p.s. – the site will actually remain up until at least the end of the year, in case you want to copy something.

Today is "D Day". 

First and foremost, D is for Departure. Nils' parents have been with us for six weeks and they headed back to Deutschland this evening. In that time with us, we've grown quite accustomed to having them around, and they've been a big help in the renovation efforts. It will be very quiet here … actually, what am I saying? It will continue to be just as chaotic as ever …

Anyway, due to limited time today, I decided to make this a Diverse Stuff Day and use the opportunity to show (rather than tell) what's happening on the farm.

Please mouseover each photo as you go along.




































































































Thanks for following us, and mousing over our photos.



and Nils and Shecky, Daisy, Daphne, Esme, Donatello, Waldo & Statler, Guenther & Gaby, Solo & Kazu, and all the babies and new additions that don't yet have names … 






Today, "D is for Diverse Stuff" and this posting is part of the A to Z Challenge April 2012


Yesterday, on arrival at "our"* school, I was disappointed to learn that all 7th graders refused to participate in the after-school homework session scheduled with one of the teachers. They were sent home at 2:05 pm. 

At 2:07 pm, I was sitting in an empty classroom preparing my lesson for 5th graders when four of those "recalcitrant" 7th graders sneaked in. 
"We want to talk", one of the boys said in halting English.
"Oh! Uh, okay." I shuffled papers aside. "What shall we talk about?" 
The boys just looked at me expectantly. 

With quick improvisation, I started a lesson I thought they could manage, shooting questions here and there. Each boy responded hesitantly, but proudly. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw another four students enter the classroom; they slid into chairs. I threw more questions; the responses came more naturally. Another group settled in. More questions. Another group. The kids volleyed more answers back. Soon, the entire class was there with me.
No one can tell me these kids don't want to learn! They're hungry … frankly, in my opinion … starved for knowledge and learning. They just need to be stimulated and motivated in the right way. 
Nils is calling me Michelle Pfeiffer. :)
* In brief: Through our in-the-process-of-being-established non-profit organization, "Chrysalis Project South Africa", we are working at the Mankonjane Primary School in Hlatikulu, KwaZulu Natal. In partnership with the Kamberg Valley Rural Community Upliftment (KamVarCu), we have initiated an after-school program for grades 4 through 7. At Chrysalis Project South Africa, we strive to help children in rural areas pull themselves up from the "disadvantaged" category and learn better, faster, and more. In addition, by working with interested local volunteers, we aim to provide adults with training and "practica" to help them discover the world of teaching, and prepare them if they should choose to take this on as a career.
Being in isolated areas in South Africa can, indeed, create a great disadvantage. It can mean limited teaching and classroom materials (some of my kids struggle with pens that don't even write well), teachers with insufficient training, and poor resources — an example of the latter, the Mankonjane School was only recently completely fitted with electricity. Through our after-school program, we and our volunteers provide daily homework assistance and English language learning. You see, "our" kids are native Zulu speakers. At a certain point in their primary education the teaching language across subjects changes from Zulu to English with no preparation or transition period. This can work for children in urban areas where English is commonly spoken. However, in rural areas, some of these children arrive in 4th grade and find themselves face-to-face with a teacher that's speaking a language they've never learned.
Through our work, we hope "our" kids can transform into the "advantaged."
More to come. We're spending so much time in development of this project, and working "in the field" with the kids and volunteers that we don't have the time to provide comprehensive information on our project. I hope to be able to do a better job in the days and weeks to come. 

Hi! I'm Corinne.
After many years of meeting challenges of the corporate world as a (moderately) Type-A city gal, I embark with my DH, Nils, on a completely different adventure in living.

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*Sawubona means "Hello" in Zulu.
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