I met Jackie Gallagher last year in Namaqualand, when Mike and I went flower watching along the west coast. We were all sitting around a camp fire when she told me about her passion for the disadvantaged and that she had founded an educational trust to sponsor children with learning disabilities at Sparrows Schools in Melville and Sophiatown. She suggested that I volunteer to teach pottery. It was too good to be true. The school was only a few stone throws from where I lived, they already had a kiln, but were still waiting for their pottery teacher to arrive.
Term 1 of 2017
My class during the first term of 2017, was a group of 8 to 10 year olds. It was wonderful to contemplate life through the eyes of a child again. Never again, will I take sitting on a chair without falling off for granted or think that clumsy hands are a handicap.
They had loads of soul and as we worked they opened up and showed me their colors. We tried all sorts of things. We made little sparrow birds with our eyes closed, pinched small balls into pots, rolled clay into flat slabs, made drawings and then shaped the slabs into mugs and put handles on.
Their teacher’s heart melted, week after week, as she saw how vulnerable they were, how they soaked up all they heard and how they battled their overload.