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Week 7 : Hamba Bamba Funda's Early Childhood Development Pilot Project

Right at the beginning of our journey we stopped at a set of robots to collect the dolls that were being made for HBF by Michele, they are going to be used by the mothers later.

We were back to two groups this week and the theme was love yourself and your baby.

Monja announced to each session “I have been watching a series of talks on trauma and I would like to play you a song by Raffi called Song For Healing”

“this is why we do this work, to recognise and honour the children” she concludes.

After both groups had listen to the track there was silence coupled with a lot of positive emotion in the room, some mothers in tears.

“it is good to show emotion, we lock it inside to often” points out Monja, “how did listening to that make you feel” she asks

no much how you are hurt, we love our children and feel the love from them”

“give your child love despite what you have and don’t have”

“we need to love ourselves”

“we love our children but there is pain if we don’t feel loved then we transfer it to our children”

were responses from both groups

“as some of the children in this group are getting old enough I am going to demonstrate some transformations to sitting positions” Monja explains to the 1st group.

To instigate this a session on of tapping and squeezing started with some of the babies already used to this they were saying “bamba, yeka” and “shaya, shaya, shaya” themselves!!!....some of the babies are rolling from side to side of their own accord...with one baby rolling to sit on their own!!!

To demonstrate this the mothers sat with straight legs in a V shape and Monja put a toy in front of them beyond their feet “now reach for the toy” she instructs, “difficult isn’t it” she points out as none of them could reach. One of the mothers then bent a leg and pulling it upwards she was able to grab the toy, “that was a side sit position” exclaimed Monja “which is what you need to teach your children, although it is taking them off balance” she explains.

Taking one of the babies and placing it face forward in her own V shaped legs Monja starts to bend the leg backwards at the knee into the side sit position “now she has the option to turn” shows Monja as she brings the other leg underneath the bent one and onto her knees, this then moves the child’s torso over her knee “and by moving her backwards she will sit on her heels” demonstrates Monja.

Monja now individually demonstrates this on the mothers with them sitting with straight legs, Monja sitting behind.

As the 2nd group do not have much of a chance to practice tapping and squeezing because their children are older and have progressed beyond that stage, Monja brought the dolls so they could. It is important that they practice as much as possible to catch up with the project. As they were practicing she asked the mothers to look at their children to see how they are transitioning already. As the babies wanted to join in they did try and practice on them but as they are older it proved to be difficult.

“let’s see how the children interact with the dolls” asks Monja. As they were very inquisitive the children started to point to the dolls face saying the body parts.

After a while the babies became restless so a singing game was played. With all the mothers sitting in a circle they connected each hand with the person next to them. Singing a Zulu song they in turn tapped the next persons hand until a specific word was said. To stay in the game you had to move your hand away as that word was announced or you were out and the circle became one person smaller. The children were very excited and wanted to join in.

Monja asked both groups what they could take away from this weeks session

“share our problems”

“the group brings us a positive energy”

“communicate with our babies”

“love our children”

“always give your baby eye contact”

was their response

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