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…

Read More

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!

Read More

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

Read More

Back and Forth

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

Read More

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

Read More

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.

Read More

Ku Tsundzuka

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

Read More
Loading

Donate to the Mission

If you would like to be a part of the work the Willards are doing in Madagascar, you can give a tax-deductible gift today.

Video Introduction

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

Latest News

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Video image

I finally arrived in Madagascar! It was a very long and tiring trip, but overall smooth and now I'm here. (Plus I saw Mt Kilimanjaro above the clouds as we left from Kenya to Madagascar, so that was really awesome!) If you've ever wondered what the landscape around the capital city (Tana) looks like, here's a cool short video I took as our plane was landing. I enjoy this scenery the most out of pretty much any major airport I've ever used in the world... probably because it just seems more unique. Though there's obviously a lot of houses in the whole area around Tana and thus quite a lot of population density, it still seems somehow rural - with all the houses clustered on hills and the valleys full of fields. Anyway, if you're interested, enjoy watching this short video!

By the way, I went over my visa papers with the other guy we're working with and we have most things together already! Tomorrow we'll go around getting a bunch of stamps and any extra copies we'll need, and then Monday go to the government office. Please pray we get favor, as we may be able to get as long as a 5-year visa, though it seems like even 3 years is practically guaranteed at this point! (Either way, that would be super rare for anyone and definitely a first for us.)

youtu.be/5jlvydFKJUY
... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

2 days ago

Willards in Madagascar - www.madmissions.com
Im halfway through a 9-hour layover in the airport in Doha, Qatar.  If Im going to be stuck sitting around an airport, at least its a really nice one!  When I first came into the transfer area they had a big sign up saying theyd recently been rated 4th best airport in the world.  Theyve got a really nice indoor tram that runs upstairs along the main concourse.  And theyve got tons of huge statues that double as playgrounds for kids.  Theyve even got nice cushioned seat areas with tvs, desks set up with computers for people to use the internet, and tons more.  Like I said, if I have to be stuck at any airport in the middle of the night, at least its this one!  My next flight leaves at 2am (local time), 6 hours to Kenya.  Then just a few hours layover there before a few hours more flight to Madagascar.Image attachment

I'm halfway through a 9-hour layover in the airport in Doha, Qatar. If I'm going to be stuck sitting around an airport, at least it's a really nice one! When I first came into the transfer area they had a big sign up saying they'd recently been rated 4th best airport in the world. They've got a really nice indoor tram that runs upstairs along the main concourse. And they've got tons of huge statues that double as playgrounds for kids. They've even got nice cushioned seat areas with tvs, desks set up with computers for people to use the internet, and tons more. Like I said, if I have to be stuck at any airport in the middle of the night, at least it's this one! My next flight leaves at 2am (local time), 6 hours to Kenya. Then just a few hours layover there before a few hours' more flight to Madagascar. ... See MoreSee Less

3 days ago

Willards in Madagascar - www.madmissions.com
Getting ready to leave on the first leg of my flight (to Doha, Qatar) on my way to Madagascar!  Happy I got a window seat!

Getting ready to leave on the first leg of my flight (to Doha, Qatar) on my way to Madagascar! Happy I got a window seat! ... See MoreSee Less

A quick update: I found out a few days ago that I need to make a sudden trip to Madagascar to arrange some of our visa paperwork. So, I'll be heading there (just me, Adam) next Tues, Aug 20. The great thing is that there's a good chance we'll get approved for visas much longer than we've had in the past. That will be a huge help for us going forward! I'll only be in Madagascar for about 10 days, so please be praying that my travels will be safe and smooth, that we will have all of our paperwork in order, that all of the government officials will be present and will give us favor, and that Lora and our boys will do well while I'm gone.

We've been in a bit of limbo regarding our visa renewals for some time now, so this opportunity (though sudden) is really a clear answer to our prayers! If all goes well, our whole family should be able to return to Madagascar for continuing ministry in October. Please be praying!
... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

Praying for all of you!

Praying for you all!!

📖🙏🏾📖🙏🏾

Load more

Recent Posts

Madagascar News