Map of South AfricaAdam and Lora Willard were US Peace Corps Volunteers in South Africa from July 2008 until November 2010.  While in South Africa they lived in a rural village known as Dumphries B, located in the northeastern Mpumalanga province and just a few kilometers from the fence of Kruger National Park.  Almost everyone in Dumphries B are members of the Shangaan tribe and spoke the xiTsonga/Shangaan language, which we also learned to communicate competently.  Many residents of Dumphries B were also refugees from political turmoil in Mozambique.

With Peace Corps South Africa, Lora and Adam were part of the School and Community Resources Project and worked for two primary schools in the area.  In Dumphries B was Mahlahluvana Primary School, and just 4-5 kilometers away in Dumphries A was Welani Primary School.  Our job was to assess the needs and resources of the schools and community and participate in developing them and strengthening the teachers and school staff in any way possible.

To that end, Lora engaged primarily in literacy projects.  She organized and created a library at both primary schools, trainedLora with the Book Club at Mahlahluvana children and teachers to run and manage the libraries, and created a curriculum for the library to be used school-wide on a weekly basis for every class.  She also started an after-school reading club at Mahlahluvana and developed a curriculum for teaching literacy to Grades 2 and 3 and trained those teachers in how to use it to improve the literacy rates of the learners (which were dismally low).

One major area of involvement for Adam was Information Technology.  He created a curriculum and did one-on-one training with all the teachers and staff at each school, teaching basic computer skills to most and advanced skills including maintenance and repair to a few.  He also did computer repair work (for free, as Peace Corps is an entirely non-profit job) for everyone who asked for it in about a 20-mile radius.  Near the end of his service, he set up a computer lab (with the help of Ulusaba and Emmaus Road Church) for teaching computer skills to the learners, at each primary school and the replacement Peace Corps Volunteer took up this work.

Adam also began an after-school Art Club at Mahlahluvana Primary School that he co-taught with another teacher.  With the Art Club, the kids did contests, painted murals at the school (including a giant world map and South African map), and eventually took a field trip to the capital city to visit art museums and professional sculptors.

World Cup Mural painting by Mahlahluvana Art ClubFinally, Adam was also heavily involved in helping the schools develop their local resources.  This particularly included helping solidify a partnership between the schools and a local private game lodge, Ulusaba.  Through this partnership, Ulusaba and their guests funded many projects for the schools including both libraries and computer labs, the Art Club murals and field trip, a playground and sports field for Mahlahluvana, and the publishing of a cultural yearbook created by the Grade 7 class with Adam.

We both immensely enjoyed our time in South Africa and even extended our time by 2 months more than our contracted date in order to properly finish up some of our projects.  The opportunity to live among and live as the rural South Africans and build deep and meaningful relationships with them and our co-workers was more rewarding than can ever be explained.  On top of that, we brought a wonderful souvenir back with us from South Africa, our son, Matimu!  His name actually means "History" in the Shangaan language.

All of the posts on this page are e-mail newsletters we sent out during our time in South Africa.  If you're just visiting this page but you'd like to receive similar and regular updates throughout our years in Madagascar, just send us a message with your e-mail address and we'll add you to the list.

If you'd like to see the photo-filled book we created with the 7th graders from Mahlahluvana, please click the cover here to download the .pdf.

It's really a fantastic piece of cross-cultural communication, as the 7th graders did their best to share their lives in the English language.  All of their writing has been preserved just as they wrote it, with pictures drawn by the kids and with photos of the authors in the middle of their daily activities.

Modern Shangaan Life: From a 7th Grade Perspective

Click here for the Modern Shangaan Life: From a 7th Grade Perspective, book in .pdf format

 

And if you'd like to read all of our articles / stories from South Africa in one printable .pdf document, then please click here and enjoy!

Thoughts from South Africa by Adam & Lora Willard

 

 Click here for an album of our best pictures from South Africa:

Click here for an album of our best South Africa photos

Click here for an album of our best South Africa photos!

 

 

Merry Christmas!

Each and every one of us were foreigners to God’s Kingdom, to his lands, and with no hope of acceptance. So then God came to us, to our land. As one of us, he tore down the fences and the dividing walls that were built by our sin; and the effort killed him. But death couldn’t keep him and…

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David Immanuel Willard is Here!

David Immanuel Willard has made his grand entrance! Born on Dec 6th at 3:17 am in Pretoria, South Africa (7:17 pm Dec 5th, CST), weighing 7.6 lbs. and 21 in. long, he’s a sight to behold!

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South Africa & Tanzania 2013 Photos

We visited South Africa and Tanzania between April and June 2013, visiting the village where we used to be PCVs, some training in Tanzania, a safari in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, and visiting a missionary team in an Alagwa village in Tanzania. 124 photos

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Back and Forth

We stepped off the taxi, three of us this time, back in our village in South Africa.  We began...

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Transition to Madagascar Photos

Pictures from our move to Madagascar. They’re mostly from South Africa, in Pretoria, Dumphries, and Kruger, where we stopped for a few weeks along the way to visit friends and “family”. But the last 10-15 are from our arrival in Madagascar. 139 photos

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South Africa – Best Of Photos

These are a collection of our best photos from our time in Peace Corps South Africa, living in Dumphries in Mpumalanga province (near the border of Kruger), and working in the School and Community Resources Project. It was a great time, from July 2008 to November 2010. 513 photos.

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Ku Tsundzuka

Our time is up.  We extended a couple of months, but those are finished now too.  After nearly two...

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Video Introduction

Watch this video for an introduction to the Antakarana people and our work among them

Latest News

We made it back home to Ambilobe from Tana! Rather than taking the current average of 24 hours though, this return trip took 31 hours! We left Tana (the capital) at around 7pm Friday evening, and arrived here in Ambilobe just past 1am Sunday morning. There weren't any particular problems or anything, just a couple of drivers who definitely were *not* in a hurry to get where they were going. We spent quite a few stops (both during the day and in the middle of the night) just waiting around for nothing, for more than an hour or so at a time. I've never seen taxi brousse drivers before that weren't in any sort of a hurry at all... but now I guess we've seen everything! Just happy we made it back safely to Ambilobe!

(Though the icon shows an airplane, we *did not* take an airplane, as there is no airport for Ambilobe. We took a taxi-brousse - basically just a big crowded van - the whole way.)
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4 days ago

Doing paperwork in Madagascar: first, a 25 hour crowded bus ride to the capital city. Next, waking up at 5 am each day to struggle with other people to get on the local bus and spend several hours in traffic getting to the government offices. Then, after getting your turn with the government official and going over the paperwork for an hour or so, finding out you still have another dozen or so papers that need to be retrieved from various places, printed, photocopied, or certified... and one of them likely impossible to get, because they need a paper from the US with an actual rubber stamp even though that institution in the US (like most others) doesnt *actually* use rubber stamps anymore. Then, repeat the bus process for a few hours, and start again early the next day. And every day, the whole family has to participate!

I think there *might really be* a limit to how much frustration we can handle! If so, were pretty close, haha! Seriously though, please pray for us to figure out what to do about this particular paperwork situation and to have wisdom and discernment. Maybe our first (or second) plan wont work out and we should do something different? We have a decision to make soon!

The picture shows our boys exhausted after a long day of paperwork today... but at least they were able to get a nice nap on the long bus ride back in the afternoon!

Doing paperwork in Madagascar: first, a 25 hour crowded bus ride to the capital city. Next, waking up at 5 am each day to struggle with other people to get on the local bus and spend several hours in traffic getting to the government offices. Then, after getting your turn with the government official and going over the paperwork for an hour or so, finding out you still have another dozen or so papers that need to be retrieved from various places, printed, photocopied, or certified... and one of them likely impossible to get, because they need a paper from the US with an actual rubber stamp even though that institution in the US (like most others) doesn't *actually* use rubber stamps anymore. Then, repeat the bus process for a few hours, and start again early the next day. And every day, the whole family has to participate!

I think there *might really be* a limit to how much frustration we can handle! If so, we're pretty close, haha! Seriously though, please pray for us to figure out what to do about this particular paperwork situation and to have wisdom and discernment. Maybe our first (or second) plan won't work out and we should do something different? We have a decision to make soon!

The picture shows our boys exhausted after a long day of paperwork today... but at least they were able to get a nice nap on the long bus ride back in the afternoon!
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1 week ago

 

Comment on Facebook

GOD IS WITH YOU. Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are troubled and weighted down with care, and I will give you rest.

Sorry to hear that. We'll be praying for you. Are they just expecting a bribe?

Will be praying for you guys, in this regard.

I never truly understood the frustration with traveling in Tana that my daughter Cory experienced until I was there myself. Now I understand a little bit more. Thank you for all you are doing for the people in Madagascar. Praying for wisdom in figuring all of this out. Blessings in the new year.

Oh I’m sooo sorry to hear this... paperwork and red tape are so, so frustrating. Praying!!!

I'LL PRAY FOR YOU

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Happy New Year 2019 to everyone! We're hoping and praying for fresh new starts in this new year! ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago

Merry Christmas from the Willards in Madagascar!Image attachmentImage attachment

Merry Christmas from the Willards in Madagascar! ... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago

 

Comment on Facebook

Thanks! The same to you!

Merry Christmas from TN!

Thanks to the VBS at DeSoto Community Church of God for sending the great little gifts for Matimu's class at school here! The kids loved it!

youtu.be/sLfQQybB3Nk
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1 month ago

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