Robin Al-haddad

Volunteer: Robin Al-haddad

Bio:

My husband and I are Peace Corps volunteers currently serving in the Republic of South Africa in the Schools and Communities Resource Program.  We teach in two Primary schools and one High School. 

2010 - 2012


Contributions from Robin Al-haddad

  1. South Africa The Pied Pipers

      Soon after Woody and I first arrived to our permanent site, one day after school we had a gaggle of children follow us home like the Pied Piper of Hamelin.  Each one carrying a brick in their hands. When we stopped and asked why they were carrying bricks, they answered in unison “I don't know.”  Well, it turned out that our principal arranged to have a shower drain and “septic” tank (really a French drain) installed at our house and he asked literally every child from the school to bring...

  2. South Africa Today's Reader is Tomorrow's Leader

    At one of our primary schools, the library has been up and running for a while thanks to the previous PCV. Therefore, I thought that it would be a good idea to start a Reading Rewards program there in order to rejuvenate the kids' interest in reading. At our schools at least, the kids all seem to love competitions. So, this new Reading Rewards program seems to be just the thing to get them excited about reading. I called the competition the “Big Five Readers” and made a chart for each grad...

  3. South Africa Communication is Dead

        "The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place." ~George Bernard Shaw   A few weeks ago, Woody went to into our host mom's house to “top up” electricity on our meter box. The conversation that proceeded went a bit like the old vaudeville joke by Abbott and Costello “Who's on First?” Here is the conversation that occurred between Woody and our host mom:   Host mom: Do you have film? “Ni vone kamareni” I saw it in the bedroom. Woody: “U lav...

  4. South Africa How I Met My Host-Mother. . .

    After having been at our site for nearly 6 months, our host-mother shows up one day completely unannounced out of the blue.  After initially arriving at our permanent site, we were told by one of our Principals who arranged the housing for us, that our host-mother is not living on the property. She is a single woman who owns the property but she had recently moved to a bigger city and found a boyfriend.  So instead, her nephew has been living in the main house in order to take care of the p...

  1. South Africa Peanuts, Sugar Beans, and Fried Mopane Worms for Sale

      Peanuts, sugar beans, and fried Mopane (Mopani) worms for sale at the monthly market in the village.  Mopane worms are not actually worms at all, they're caterpillars.  Mopane worms are a local delicacy and are sometimes fried and other times boiled. People eat them here like potato chips or popcorn.  

  2. South Africa A Bear of a Laundry Day

    Our 6 year-old host brother's attempt at hanging out the laundry to dry...

  3. South Africa Blue-headed Tree Agama

    A Blue-headed Tree Agama hanging out on a tree in the courtyard of our primary school.  Because they bob their head up and down, there is a myth among the villagers that they call down the lightning from the sky. 

  4. South Africa Bug on Our Windowsill

    This strange bug landed on the latch of our window at home. 

  5. South Africa Falling Bridges...

    Dumptruck full of sand fell through the bridge that divides the two sides of our village.  Until the bridge could be repaired it made it quite difficult for Woody and I to get to two of our three schools.

  6. South Africa Millipede...

    Millipede I found on our walk in the village.

  7. South Africa Spider Walking on Water

    A small spider swimming around in our cats' water bowl.

  8. South Africa Sunset over the Sand River

    Sunset falls over the Sand river - the river that runs through our village.  People use the river for washing clothes, bathing, swimming, fishing, drinking, and collecting water for house-hold use. 

  9. South Africa Sunset on the Railroad Tracks

    Sunset falls upon us as we walk home along the railroad tracks in the village.

  10. South Africa The Long Road...

    Woody walking on the road to our school.

  11. South Africa Dry Season in the Village

    Dry season in the village - a view from a top a nearby mountain.  From this distance, we could still hear the cowbells ringing below.  Ding, ding, ding...

  12. South Africa Broken Down Orange Truck

    Once a month, our village holds a Pensioners' market.  Here is a broken down orange truck at the market.  Everything from house-hold goods, fruits and vegetables, live chickens, clothes, and plastic buckets are sold at the market.

  13. South Africa Pots and Buckets for Sale at the Market

    Once a month, our village holds a Pensioners' market.  Here is a picture of cooking pots and plastic bathing buckets for sale at the market.  Everything from house-hold goods, fruits and vegetables, live chickens, and clothes are sold at the market.

  14. South Africa If you are what you eat, does that make me an arthropod?

      I ate fried Mopane (Mopani) worms for the first time... Well, they are not actually worms, they're caterpillars.  So, I guess you can say that I'm officially an insectivore now.  They tasted smoky and were very crunchy. Mopani worms are a local delicacy especially for the Shangaan people. Sometimes they are fried and other times they are boiled. People eat them here like potato chips or popcorn. Eventually, if these creatures are allowed to grow, they will become a beautiful Emperor mo...

  15. South Africa Chicken Truck

    Chicken truck on market day... Once a month our village has a pensioners' market.  Everything from house-hold goods, fruits and vegetables, live chickens, clothes, and plastic buckets are sold at the market.

  16. South Africa Village Traditions

      Traditional Shangaan Muchongolo dancing in the village. There is a local dance troupe who performs the Muchongolo dances each Sunday in a different village in our area. Woody and I were lucky enough to catch one of these performances. The Shangaan people originate from Mozambique and are known more for being agriculturalists than pastoralists and cattle herders. The Muchongolo dances traditionally celebrate the role of women in society, war victories, as well as ritual ceremonies.

  17. South Africa Schools in Kruger National Park

    A local game lodge that is part of the &Beyond Foundation and focuses on “ecotourism” invited representatives from all three of our schools to attend a conservation lesson and game drive. Several teachers, principals, and students attended the event. Even our local village Indhuna (Chief's Headman) got to come along. The purpose of this event was to teach kids about the environment and the animals in the park in order to inform them about the importance of wildlife conservation. 

  18. South Africa Kids in Kruger

    A local game lodge that is part of the &Beyond Foundation and focuses on “ecotourism” invited representatives from all three of our schools to attend a conservation lesson and game drive. Several teachers, principals, and students attended the event. Even our local village Indhuna (Chief's Headman) got to come along. The purpose of this event was to teach kids about the environment and the animals in the park in order to inform them about the importance of wildlife conservation. 

  19. South Africa Kids in Kruger

      A local game lodge that is part of the &Beyond Foundation and focuses on “ecotourism” invited representatives from all three of our schools to attend a conservation lesson and game drive. Several teachers, principals, and students attended the event. Even our local village Indhuna (Chief's Headman) got to come along. The purpose of this event was to teach kids about the environment and the animals in the park in order to inform them about the importance of wildlife conservation. This...

  20. South Africa First Time With Computers

      We received 29 computers from a donor in Australia for the computer lab at one of our primary schools. Woody got a few of them set up in time to have an “impromptu” opening of the new computer lab after school just to allow the kids to check out the computers. Unfortunately due to a wiring mismatch with the electrical sockets, we only had enough working outlets to be able to get two computers running. But, after letting a few kids into the lab to try out the computers, we soon realized t...

  21. South Africa Too Many Marula, Not Enough Pineapples

      It's marula fruit season in the village. These marula fruit are everywhere! Dropping off trees left and right. Villagers are collecting the local marula fruit from trees to be sold at market. We saw people lined up along the main road to sell their fruit to a commercial purchaser. In addition to marula, there are several other fruits that are in season at this time of the year including mangoes and guava. As a result, we've noticed an usually high number of kids in trees these days try...

  22. South Africa Broken Bridges

      Recent flooding from heavy rain washed away the bridge that connects the two sides of our village. Making it difficult for Woody and I to get to 2 of our 3 schools. We have to cross the river in order to get to two of our schools on the B-side of our village and our Principal says that there are crocs in the river.

  23. Botswana Camping Along the Okavango Delta

    Woody rides in a traditional Botswanan mokoro canoe filled with our camping gear. 

  24. South Africa The Computer Lesson

    Kids watch intensely as Woody demonstrates the typing program during the opening of the new computer lab at one of our primary schools.

  25. South Africa The Girls

    Robin hanging out with the girls in the village

  26. South Africa Practicing Reading

    Kids in the library for the first time.

  27. South Africa Learning to Cook Pap

    Cooking pap with my host mom.

  28. South Africa Geography Lesson in Progress

    Geography lesson using the world map project.

  29. South Africa Waka Waka South Africa

    Dancing in the village

  30. South Africa Reading Rewards Program

    One of the "Top Five Readers" in the Reading Rewards program receiving her certificate.

  31. South Africa Literacy classes in the new library.

    Robin gives a lesson on the library rules in the new library.

  32. South Africa The math lesson

    Taking a break from sorting library books, Woody stops to give a math lesson.    “A quality education has the power to transform societies in a single generation, provide children with the protection they need from the hazards of poverty, labor exploitation and disease, and given them the knowledge, skills, and confidence to reach their full potential.”            ~Audrey Hepburn

  33. South Africa First time on the computer

    Impromptu opening of the new computer lab at one of our primary schools.

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.