Monday, May 9, 2011


Noluntu has being taking steps to understand the requirements and complete the paperwork necessary to register the Peacock Educare Centre.

She did not realise that a constitution and business plan is necessary in addition to a lot of other requirements.

Excellent news is that Masi Corp has decided to initiate a 'Seedlings Project' which will give weekly assistance to the heads of all creches as far as helping them to understand what steps need to be taken to leagalise and register their centres. Nomuntu is keen to attend these.

On the building front, we have come to the conclusion that we need to wait for her government house to be built, as it will take up most of the property. We can then use the funds collected to adapt it as a suitable creche as well as home for Noluntu.

Last I heard, Noluntu was waiting to hear from Habitat for Humanity re her house. Apparently there is a process of checking that the claimants are indeed the legal owners of the properties before buildng can commence.

SO we wait.

Apparently government is aware that it is one department that is holding up the process, so hopefully their other department does not shut down places such as Peacock while they wait to be ablet to get all their ducks in a row. There does not seem to be a better alternative available to parents of these kids.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Parmalat, Christmas.... and some urgent developments!

A Christmas picture by Alutha (below)

Year end 2010 has arrived and the Peacock Educare Centre has had quite a time. On the one hand it is looking amazing - a team of volunteers from (I believe) Old Mutual did an amazing painting job and AWOL's tourists donated a lot of new toys and books.

However, the Social Services visited and informed Noluntu that she is only allowed 6 children with the size, etc, of the facilities currently at the day care and that they will be enforcing this strictly come January 2011.

Noluntu is very distressed as she will battle to make a living with only 6 kids ( instead of the 56 which were enrolled in 2010). The parents are worried about where to leave their kids in 2011.

We will meet with Noluntu and discuss emergency plans, communication with parents and what her needs are financially as far as her and her two helper's salaries are concerned, etc.

She has been lucky the Social Services have turned a blind eye for this long, but she has been told that she will be facing charges if she has more than 6 kids in that space in January.

One way to look at this development is that it may be an opportunity for some real & immediate improvements.

With the correct number of kids and if she and some volunteers can get her centre correctly registered with Social Services she should be able to receive the government grant of R10/child per day to help with overheads. Also, she should be able to charge more than R70/month per child ($10).

This would be the first step towards growing the Day Care again, with the legal requirements and necessary improvements in place, once adequate space is available.

With only six kids (presumably a few more if we build a temporary structure or use her home) for at least a couple of months while we find/build a new, larger space will allow the helpers to go for some training. Perhaps Montessori training or other. The kids who attend these creches do need as much of a schooling head-start as they can get.

Some more good news is that there is apparently someone who is keen to assist with Peacock's issues, etc from January... Very welcome help that will be!

So here's to high hopes for 2011!

Many thanks for all the support and donations!

Doing art together during a Township Tour

New toys and books!

We made numbers and maths symbols for the classroom.

One of the two helpers in the beautiful classroom!

Noluntu and her other helper.

A wholesome lunch was provided for everyone as well as load of children's Parmalat drinking products were donated during a visit by visitors from Parmalat.

The kids loved playing & drawing with Camilla!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Zwai's house

Zwai's house in Masi P, along with some 160 other shacks burnt down in the morning of the 26th Dec. Zwai had to cut his holiday and visit home to the Eastern Cape short and is coming back to CT to sort out his space and belongs. Luckily a housemate of his managed to save a few things.

Zwai is the AWOL township tour guide and helps out by translating and sending messages for Peacock.

He phoned and asked me to thank everyone who helped him & his family (especially the Browns) - his home is rebuilt and he is calm and cheerful as always.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Introducing Max - Sally & Leif's cute son - this was his first birthday party on Aug 16 2010...

Max LOVED his monkey cake!

Sally and Max with one of Max's godfathers at the birthday picnic.

Sally took Max to play at Peacock Creche

Making art on AWOL's township tours

Zwai beginning an AWOL township bicycle tour in Masiphumele

Noluntu, Sally, Zwai (one of the township bicycle tour guides), Vuyina (a special friend of mine who helped us tremendously by translating Xhosa and English back and forth between us) and I met on Saturday to discuss the progress of the creche.

The main obstacle is that the government house that Noluntu has been waiting for has still not been built and hence we cannot yet do the alterations to it and build-on her daycare centre. SO she is still operating the creche out of the shack. And without the government required spacial requirements, ablutions, etc, she cannot yet receive the government aid money.

All this has caused Noluntu a lot of frustration, but she says that the news from the government agency is that the housing project is back on track again. Apparently it was put on hold while a case of 'misappropriation of funds' was investigated and sorted out.

We have all agreed that Noluntu will let us know when she needs funds for feeding the children and other needs at the creche and we will give her some of the money that has been collected through donations and earned through tours.

Sally noticed that all the kids Noluntu was looking after on Saturday were ill, so she is going to send some vitamins ( 'creche guard') along with the next tour group to visit.
Sally has also come up with the idea of adding a reading project component to her tours which will include leaving a book at the creche each time. Sally has a neighbour who creates Xhosa story books for kids and we will also look for sturdy paged books at second hand book stores. The kids need more stimulation while spending hours and hours at the creche with so few helpers (often 2 for about 45 kids!), so we are also on the search for safe, tactile educational toys such as blocks, strings of very large wooden beads, etc.... things that allow them to develop dexterity, hearing, matching, etc. They need to be safe enough for babies of all ages.

Tourists who have some time in Cape Town can also volunteer to spend a few hours playing with the kids, doing art and reading. Volunteering from about 8am, when kids are dropped off and crying is a very good time to help by taking the older kids off the carer's hands while they feed, change and comfort the tiny children.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Birthday fund raiser

Marva and her husband, Fred, from Anguilla, celebrated his Birthday last weekend and this is the wonderful news they have sent us!

My Dear Family & Friends,

It was truly a delight to see you all and to spend time together celebration Fred’s 60th Birthday. We are truly blessed to have friends and family like you all. I just thought that I should take this opportunity to say thanks to all those who gave to the Peacock Educare Centre in Cape Town, SA. The total collected is US$1276.19. This will go a long way to assist with a place for the children and to help to improve their lives. You will be blessed for feeling the need to give to others who are less fortunate than we are and for acting upon that feeling.

Thanks again for coming and spending this special time with us. I will keep you updated on the progress of the Peacock Educare Centre as I receive information.

Best to all and God Bless.

Marva & Fred

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


We are still waiting for government to start building Noluntu's house... there was a delay earlier this year, but they said they would begin in May.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Exciting times for Peacock

The kids at Peacock were delighted with the Teddy bears and toys donated by some of AWOL's guests.

Sally reports that tourists are now doing art with the kids at Peacock as a part of the Township Tours. The kids LOVE it and have produced some lovely things... Enjoy the blog exhibition below...

ART EXHIITION: Team efforts - a nice kind of sharing!

We'll print a set of greetings cards - proceeds to go towards teacher training and classroom equipment at Peacock. We are also making t-shirts which are for sale during tours or online... more on that soon, too.

An incredibly affectionate and gentle young guy who just came up silently and gave the best hugs in the world to a bunch of total strangers (me & my tourists) in the middle of Masi! Christmas tour 2009.

The back wall of the creche after it rotted away & collapsed in December 2008 - it was soon fixed up again by neighbours and community members.

Dec tour 2008 to the (delapidated) creche...

Part of the December tour 2008 group with Ma Noluntu (centre) & kids on a very windy day at Masi. This group gave a Christmas gift donation and pretty beaded wall decoration to Peacock for its future building.

Hello Everyone,

Despite being a bit of a challenge, 2009 ended on a high note for our 'rebuild Peacock Educare' project. It was not a year to be asking for donations and tours were pretty sparse too, but we have had a number of kind donations and several pledges for financial support from visitors over the last few years. It looks like we are really going to see a new building for the kids of Peacock very soon (hopefully this year!)

Several new developments, realisations and pieces of advice are shaping new parameters for the actual design & cost of the creche.

Noluntu has been given a government housing grant which means a 6 metre x 10 metre house consisting of a kitchen, sitting room, two bedrooms and a bathroom is to be built on her property to replace the current shack she has. She is delighted. I met with the official at the government organisation, Sosebenza, who are building this and they may be starting the building of her house as soon as next month - March 2010!

The new house has to obey the rules as far as building (boundary) lines and so will be positioned fairly centrally with the front side close to the front perimeter of the property and two passageways down each side. The creche shack will then have about 3 metres ( 10ft) x 9 metres (30ft) of open space (where the kids jungle gym now is) in front of it, as it now stands. However, it is currently built right on the boundary which would not be allowed once it is a formal brick building. We will probably be able to expand the current size of the creche building by about 6m x 3m (18 m squared) SO - we have to look at some creative ideas to generate more room for the interior of the creche itself and outdoor play space.

Building it as an extension onto the back of the house building will make it south facing which in this hemisphere is not ideal as buildings need to be north facing in order to face the sun. (maybe a sun roof and an easterly and/or westerly double door can help with passive solar for winter? and perhaps the southerly aspect will help with cooling in summer). We will also have to take note of the fact that the predominant wind in summer is the south easterly - and have the doors on the western side. Kids can then play outside on the west & south sides which will be partially shaded by the buildings.

Other possibilities may include building an upstairs bedroom above part of the creche building and then using one of the interior bedrooms of the proposed house as a bathroom for the kids - breaking through from the inside and sealing this off from the private house (if Nolumto likes the idea and it is affordable).

We have realised that the new building has to be made of fireproof materials such as brick, not wood after several places including the other creche in Khayelitsha which I wrote about in 2007 was burnt down (and fortunately also rebuilt!).

Sally & I are in the midst of several meetings to see who else we may be able to bring on board for advice/assistance/funding.

At one of the meetings held last year, Noluntu expressed that she is feeling some pressure from the community who are eager to see improvements at the Peacock Educare Centre.

The main objectives at this stage are to build the best building possible, given the resources we have in 2010 - with a view to possible improvements at a later date if necessary. To this end we will put forward as many innovative ways of making use of the space and building resources as possible and work out a plan of action. We are hoping to have a good idea of what this will be by the next blog entry in mid-March.

Thanks again to all those who have contributed and visited!
Happy 2010!