This month has been an exciting one at Nceduluntu Educare Centre, as the healthcare program has been working with the carers and children on a fire evacuation plan. It’s been a fun learning experience for both the volunteers and the children at the nursery. Fire is a common occurrence here in the Nomzamo township, as electrical fires in nearby homes can often spread to your own by strong winds. By teaching the children about fire safety, it becomes obvious which children have experienced a fire in their own home. At such a young age, children communicate their understanding by making motions of a fire hose to put out the fire, and saying “don’t touch”. Volunteers learn to speak the local language, Xhosa, and use phrases such as “uMlilo” for fire, “suka”, meaning “don’t touch”, and “amanzi” for “water” to communicate fire safety and recognition.
The carers at Nceduluntu are also a large part of the program, as we work with them to create an evacuation plan. It is a challenge to get so many children to evacuate the nursery “one by one”, but all those involved are up for the task! And by the end of the week, after all the lessons, the stop, drop, and rock, and the partnership with the carers, we managed to evacuate all the kids from the nursery. “Fire! Fire! Fire! uMlilo! uMlilo! uMlilo! One by one, hey! One by one, hey!” the children chant as they leave the nursery and head for the assembly point. The program has been a lot of fun, as well as rewarding to see the children’s knowledge and awareness of fire safety grow with each lesson and each week.