Recently my village received 100 teddy bears from the Mother Bear Project, an organization in the U.S. If you are interested in learning more about this wonderful organization here is the link http://www.motherbearproject.org/. I heard about this organization from another PCV who received bears for her village, and I simply contacted the Mother Bear Project and asked for teddy bears for Werda. The challenging part of planning this event was not getting the bears, but it was making sure the social work office, schools, and those "higher-ups" in my village knew about the event and mobilizing my community to be involved. Just making sure these children could come to the kgotla to receive their bears took two months of planning. I worked closely with the guidance teachers at two different primary schools to come up with a list of the most vulnerable children in my village. I also worked closely with a couple of Junior school teachers to get the scout troupe at the JSS involved in playing their instruments and marching with the younger children on Teddy Bear Day.
Teddy Bear Day itself began with my two PCV friends and one of their friends from home and I bringing all of the popcorn and juice that we had made for the children to the kgotla ( village meeting place) in the morning. A PC staff also attended the event and helped us transport some of these things as well as picked up the JSS scout troupe and transported them to the kgotla. At the kgotla the kgosi ( village cheif) gave welcoming remarks and an older woman in my village who works cleaning the social work office said a prayer. Then each child was given a teddy bear and had his or her picture taken. We then had a mini parade, led by the scout troupe, from the kgotla to my social work office. My PCV friends and I taught the children a couple of games like "I pick the ball" and "The hokey poky", which both involve some dancing and shaking. We then served them their snack of popcorn and juice.
I experienced a lot of frustration while planning this event, ( like a lack of support and assistance from some of the adults who were supposed to be involved in planning it). However, it was definitely worth it in the end. On our walk back to my house my PCV friends and I saw two little girls walking down the street with their teddy bears and dancing and singing to "I pick the ball", the game that we taught them. It is the little moments that make it all worth it.