All Credit To Batya

Having left UWC, I’ve decided to share a beautiful poem written by my good friend Batya. Certainly recent UWC alumni, and others, will appreciate Batya’s words. Enjoy.

 

If you pump enough caffeine through your veins it starts to seep out through your fingertips

2:46 is bedtime
I switch off the fluorescent screens and open my windows. The moths only stop by for a visit when there’s light in my room.
I look out and see the light still on in the corridor opposite mine. Third room from the end. Solidarity to you, whomever you are.
In the distance there are orange clouds pressed against the no longer pitch black sky. If you look at it for long enough you can see the lightning over the smeared horizon.
This one time we were hiking in the dark because we got lost after sunset and Wouter told us about degrees of darkness. It has to do with your position on the earth and its relation to the sun.
Sometimes we can go days without seeing a clear sky. These are the same days that the internet fails us. Completely. It’s called Prehistory.
Tonight, I don’t know where home is.

for two years I’ve strung people from places together

and called myself nomad.
Tomorrow we will go to places where the degrees of darkness separate us

We will be far

and I will be homesick.
– Batya Globerman (WK 2015 – 2015, Costa Rica)

Kwakha Indvodza’s Work Experience Program

Over sixty young men and boys in Swaziland have taken part in a work experience program that provided valuable learning and networking opportunities. Several of these young men have gotten callbacks and job opportunities after the program; others have returned to school, in order to further prepare for future work.

Here are some photos from the programme:

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For more information on the project, go to this article, or to Kwakha Indvodza’s home page.

 

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An Exciting end to an Eventful Term

Once again, it’s time to say goodbye to Waterford and Swaziland for a while, and head north. I am glad to take a break; however, I will still pay attention to especially one happening in this Kingdom, over the holidays. Kwakha Indvodza, the first project sponsored by BOOST.

Kwakha Indvodza aims to provide personal and professional mentoring to young Swazi boys and men who have grown up in the absence of positive male role models. The organization is the first of its kind in a country that struggles with the highest prevalence of HIV and Tuberculosis in the world as well as a high rate of child-headed households.

With an ever growing presence of 50+ boys and 20+ mentors in the program, Kwakha Indvodza needs more support to grow its program and continue providing impactful mentoring to young Swazis.

We’re thrilled and proud to say that our tuck-shop in hostel has been fruitful enough that we can now make a substantial contribution to this organization. Over the holiday, Kwakha Indvodza is aiming to take over fifty teenagers and young men through internship programs in businesses in Swaziland, empowering them to enter the job market.

I will make sure to update you on the results of this program, as soon as we receive reports from the organization. To make a donation to Kwakha Indvodza, or to read more about what they do, click here.

Now it’s time for some rest, after which academic assessments and an extended essay outline await (…).

Africa Week at Waterford KaMhlaba

From Wednesday till Sunday last week, Waterford was filled with panel debates, concerts, sports and more in relation to the school’s Africa Week. With visitors from near and far, including executives from UWC, the UN, the African Union, Standard Bank Swaziland and more, this week was truly a success.

The week’s aim was to put African culture in the spotlight, as well as focusing on the debated topic “Africa Rising”. It is important to get different perspectives when is comes to topics like these, and we surely did, during Africa Week. Whilst economic growth has been good (4.4 % annual average growth rate in Sub-Saharan Africa over the past two decades- World Bank) the continent is still struggling, to degrees depending on the area, with HIV and Aids, low levels of education (however rising), socioeconomic inequality and political instability. Another debated topic was, and will continue to be, the existence and influence of neocolonialism in post colonial African countries. From this we can derive the question of whether or not the multiplier effect of the inflow of private capital from overseas is actually doing local economies a favour, or if this simply secures the interests of foreign investors and their portfolio diversifications.

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Close attention was payed, as Birhanu presented on his home country, Ethiopia, at an In-Focus session

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Teammates enjoying the football tournament, kicking off Africa Week Wednesday morning!

IMG_2247IMG_2301The school, and especially Mr. Wekesa, did an amazing job organising this week. Thank you for this wonderful experience!

I believe more photos will be uploaded to www.waterford.sz soon 🙂

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A Culture for Initiative

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It’s been a couple of months since I launched, together with Sameen and Ryan, my first community service initiative and business at Waterford; BOOST.

We’re essentially operating a tuck shop from an empty room in Emhlabeni. People can buy all sorts of snacks and drinks, ranging from chewing gum to noodles and flavored water. So far, the response has been great, and it seems like people are appreciating the business. We’ll probably look for some healthier alternatives to sell, as well, and see how that goes. We’re in the process of moving to Elangeni, and hopefully also to other hostels in the school. 100% of our proceeds go to specific community service initiatives  in Swaziland.

Oil, Forex and Norwegian UWC Scholarships

Recently, and with no prior notice, all Norwegian UWC students and parents received a letter from our national committee. We were informed of the committee’s decision to raise our fees by almost 100%. This is alarming, as it will almost certainly prevent a group of talented young people from attending a UWC in the future. Poor families may still get an extra grant, while middle income families will strive to afford the increased fee. Furthermore, there is no return for a family currently supporting their son or daughter attending a UWC, facing an enormous increase in fees which might well push their household economically out of balance.

My hypothesis? Partly due to the recent plummet in the price of oil, the general fall in international interest rates, and to spark the overall investment in domestic produce, the Central Bank of Norway has lowered interest rates to historically low levels. However, the low interest rates are likely to have scared off a lot of foreign investors from putting their money in Norwegian banks, funds and assets. This has lead to a weakening of the Norwegian krone.

As the prices of the overseas colleges have not been lowered, and the financial support that UWC Norway receives from the government has not been raised (at least not adequately), more of the payment will now rely on the students and their families. This is probably not the full explanation of the dramatic increase in school fees, but might be a partial cause.

UWC should be a place for talented, active and committed young people, regardless of their parents’ bank wallets. To ensure an organization in which students from all over the world can thrive, without regard to their background, it’s vital that personal financial constraints do not prevent students from applying.

It is important that the Norwegian government and private sponsors understand and appreciate the benefit of investing in UWC scholarships. UWC allows young Norwegians to and experience and better understand the world. They later come back with extensive international networks, which will form part of the cornerstone of a liberal, inclusive and progressive society. There is no doubt that Norway will gain from this, both socially and financially.

As far as I know, Norwegian UWC students have always been very privileged when it comes to financial support, and to some extent I believe we still are. For this I will be forever grateful. Let’s continue to support an organization that increases our understanding, our open-mindedness and our ability to act responsibly in the world.