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As part of Hamba Bamba Funda’s philosophy of uplifting the Kliptown community it has been long time aim to help create an income for some of its residents.

Monja had been receiving various donations of clothes from a Director of HBF and clients from her private practise and wanted to pass these item on to benefit as many people as possible...from there the idea was realised to open a retail shop to sell them.

HBF enquired with other charity organisations whether they could buy “bulk” surplice stock from them to increase the range and offering for the shop. One in particular were very accommodating and adopted this project, offering the stock free of charge on a regular basis, which was gratefully accepted.

We meticulously unpacked the bags separating them into women’s, men’s, girls & boys clothes along with shoes and accessories.

A “bar code” system was formulated for each category and stickers were bought to display this, along with the price.

I spoke at length with “Anna” as to what kind of price range should be adopted, based on the expected income of customers. It was decided that rather price the stock so it was affordable to all residents and sell quickly.

With the obligatory coffee in hand we set off to Kliptown. As this was to be the last session of the Introduction there was a sense of relief, accomplishment yet sadness in the air. Would the mothers want to continue?

All arrived for the last session which was held in the baby room of the Kliptown Community Pre School. Both groups laid their children out on the blanket and started tapping and squeezing from top to bottom, paying special attention to the of the babies even started tapping herself on her own!!! Monja then pointed out “if your baby is making a fist then gently squeeze it which will then release the clenching, something they hold inside” she demonstrated again how to transition from back to side mentioning not to move the head when doing so “this may take some time but is part of the development”. Both groups then played with homemade toys that the mothers had made.

The theme for this session was “how do babies learn...through their senses”. Monja explained to all that we all learn from “play, listening and looking therefore communicating” using the 5 senses

· see

· smell

· taste

· listen

· feel

To demonstrate this both groups sat in a circle and closed their eyes. A hot cross bun, wrapped marshmallow Eater egg and an unwrapped marshmallow Easter egg was passed from mother too mother. They were encouraged to smell, feel and taste each object. “what were your senses telling you” enquires Monja

“I could smell the cinnamon”

“the eggs were soft”

“I could smell the chocolate”

“I could taste the marshmallow”

were typical responses.

All guessed correctly but Monja points out “it is important to stimulate the senses of your baby, this is how they will learn”.

The mothers then took toys and shook and banged on the floor in front of the children “this stimulates them...find out if they like a soft or louder noise” mentions Monja, one baby even went to reach for the rattle “allow them to explore” she concludes.

Both groups of mothers were then asked to lay on their backs, allowing their babies to be next to them or on top of them. Monja asked them to close their eyes and then imagine tracing themselves in their minds and from the sensations they receiving from the floor from head to toe, comparing both sides, noticing the contact with the floor. Next they were asked to concentrate on their breathing “how is your chest and belly moving along with the quality of your breath”. The purpose of this is to simulate grounding.

After moving to a sitting position Monja asked “thefeedback from the floor, what is it telling you”

“telling me to rest”

“not relaxed as my baby was on top of me”

“relaxed, wanted to sleep”

were typical responses

“the babies take up too much of your time” points out Monja “you need to look after yourselves more and rest when you can” remarks Monja “you need to be more in touch with your mind, body and soul”, “but how can we with the children” was a reply “try and plan some time, go for a walk or read a book, sit under a tree...whatever makes you relax” she concludes.

After lying on her back “Anna” did reply by saying “it was nice, I lay there thinking about myself and now I feel calmer”. Her nephew that she brings to the classes is always hyperactive and as time when on after this part of the session he became less active “babies are influenced by their surroundings, if as mothers you are calm this will have an impact on your children” Monja noted “if you find quite time in the day for yourselves then so will the child”. The 1st group also noticed as time went on, that they were not having to breastfeed to keep the children happy.

“It was a great discovery for mother Rebecca to see how her baby did not cry once in the session and how she was not asking for her mother’s breast!”

As a conclusion for both groups Monja asked who would be interested in participating in the Pilot Project, all were keen.

“How do you feel about us” remarked one of the mothers “I didn’t expect you all to turn up for all the sessions” Monja replied honestly “but you all seemed to understand what was being taught and was very proud of you when the TV cameras were here, the way you spoke to the camera about what you have learnt over the 4 workshops”

We have decided that we will start the Pilot project in Kliptown on May 1st.

Whilst at motherland buying our coffee and chocolate cookies for the road Monja received some “cosmic” news...the SABC news channel are to send a reporter this morning to record part of the third session of the Early Childhood Development Introductory Workshops. The air was thick with excitement and the journey was spent forewarning everyone involved that the cameras were coming. In both groups Monja started the session by laying the babies on a blanket and the mothers stimulated them by tapping & squeezing the bottom of the foot and moving up the leg saying what it was, they then moved to the arms. Monja reiterated that this was “so the child starts to map out their body parts to their brain” To the 1st group, as they are younger she then demonstrated gently bending the ankles forward and back towards the stomach the babies start to rock up & down “as you can see this stimulating the pelvis, which is very important for the child’s development” points out Monja. Taking this process further Monja should how to simulate rolling onto the stomach. By bending and tapping one leg and moving over towards the opposite hip, the child then starts to move onto its side now, the tapping can be applied to the back. “your children can see what is around them on each side, not just the ceiling which stimulates them” Monja mentions...the babies then all started to babble feeling content, a theme that was to recur during the day. Once this had been repeated from side to side Monja transitioned the child onto its stomach, something they were a little surprised with at first but then the babbling continued. She then started pushing up the backs of the thighs which was then moving the pelvis, which in turn was travelling through the spine and raising the head. Monja then held the feet down on the floor until the baby started to push away and then she stomped the feet “this then gives them a sense of the ground and useful when they start to stand and walk” It was noted that some of the mothers were positioning their children into a sitting position “children normally does not sit before 6 months” Monja remarked “then you must allow them then to stand on their own otherwise the body becomes stiff” Monja noticed with both groups this week when the babies start to get restless, tired or not having their own way the mothers tend to just breast feed them. “only feed when they are hungry otherwise they become wise, you need to create boundaries and a routine” she goes on to say “don’t just respond to crying, let them have their tantrum, don’t be scared if they cry” She demonstrated by cradling and holding under the legs with the baby facing away and stomping the feet whilst singing “the vibration of the stomping travels through the mother’s body to the baby, this has a calming effect and helps to stop them crying especially if you start to sing”...soon they all started babbling again. The theme for this week’s classes was “being present and paying attention”. To demonstrate this Monja paired the mothers up in both groups and they had to put on then remove a jacket from each other, at first whilst not paying attention to what was happening, then whilst concentrating on the removal. “how did it feel to have the jacket put on you” enquires Monja “jerky” “could feel it” “uncomfortable” were typical replies “so how about when it was being removed” she asks “did not notice it” “gentle” “easier” were typical replies “when dressing your babies do it with care and pay attention and give them your time, this will make this a pleasurable experience for all” Monja explained. With the older second group Monja had brought some books with her for them to play with, which were mainly the touch and feel type. The children were on the blanket and started to join in by rubbing their hands over the pages. Monja pointed to various body parts that they were feeling and the babies then started to mimic what she was doing “they love to touch and learn from mimicking you as a mother” she points out. The babbling then started. Crates and boxes were then used as a make shift jungle gym for the rest of the session. The babies were encouraged to roll, crawl or walk over, under, through or around the obstacles...the babbling got louder and louder. “giving space for self-exploration is essential for the development of the child” concludes Monja.

At which point the SABC reporter and cameraman arrived, coinciding with the return of all from the 1st group. The two groups joined forces and went through a recap of some of the stimulation exercises they have learnt over the 3 weeks...the babbling got louder!!! The cameraman recorded this and the reporter then asked questions, interviewing the mothers. Monja was then interviewed at length and she explained how, why and the expectations of the project. The interview was shown on SABC news channel 404 that evening “seeing how the mothers spoke to SABC brought tears to my eyes. I was touched by their confidence and how they spoke about what they have learnt over the past 3 weeks” remarked Monja after the reporter had left. Today’s exchange words were “hambe kahle”...go well To conclude the Lord’s Prayer was said by both groups .