On Sunday we left Johannesburg and headed south to our home for the next 4 weeks - Pietermaritzburg. Short bus ride from the hotel took us to the metro station and a train to whiz us to the airport.
All checked in we made our way through security and had time to browse some shops and grab a coffee before boarding our South Africa Airlink plane for the 45 min flight to Pietermaritzburg which looks great from the air with houses spread up the many valleys and hills that surround the town.
Short journey from the airport to our hotel - the StayEasy Pietermaritzburg and a somewhat chaotic checkin with 11 of us arriving at the same time pushing the limits of the process. Got our room key card and then the task of unpacking a month's worth of stuff and figuring out homes for everything.
Quick walk over to the Midland Mall which lies a short distance away from the hotel to buy some bits and pieces and then a return there in the evening en mass for dinner together with the whole team.
Monday was an important day for all the teams as that is when we would all meet the people we'd be working with for the next few weeks and start to learn more about our projects.
Suitably smartly dressed for the occasion we all headed to the Premier's office building in centre of town. In the meeting we heard from each of the project sponsors about what they wanted us to look at.
I am going to be working on the team assigned to the Department Of Education. There is a website TeachersTryScience.org which has a range of freely available materials designed to help support teachers of STEM subjects ( Science Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Put simply our project revolves around the question of how this available resource could be applied to improve science education in schools here in KwaZulu Natal province.
Much work to be done to refine the scope of our project including identifying what schools such an approach might work best in - urban or rural, junior or senior etc
Following the general meeting we headed off with our local sponsors to start the work of refining the scope of the project. For us this included starting to get to grips with how the education system is structured and organised in South Africa and identifying some of the people that we need to talk to.
I don't have too many pictures from these couple of days but can I commend the blog of my fellow CSC team member Andrew to you which is infused with photos..... you might even spot me in some of them...