Lee Dicks, manager of Tintswalo Lodge in the Manyeleti is not a man to take half measures. He was recently given the responsibility of the community development side of Tintswalo Lodge's management and definitely takes this new task very seriously.
Lee, together with Patrick Gumede, decided to involve different schools in the area to participate in a "Cleaning the Orpen Road" project.
"I was just getting sick and tired of all the littering along the Orpen road and decided to do something about it" Lee said. The plan is to take small groups from different schools every Thursday morning for a cleaningup session along the Orpen road.
Tintswalo Lodge supply black bags, surgical gloves, cold water and lunch for all the participants. Apart from being a fun outing for the students it gives them the opportunity to participate actively in an environmental project. The interaction with the children also gives Patrick the opportunity to talk to them about human rights and what it means.
"Basically we just want to impart the fact that human rights are not necessarily something that the government will bestow unto them, but that it is something that we must give to each other. This is what this project is all about - raising awareness about human rights issues and the practicality of it all in their everyday life" explained Lee.
Another advantage of this project is that Lee gets the opportunity to talk to the students about conservation and the effect that specifically litter has on the wildlife. He grabbed the opportunity of environmental education with both hands on the second cleaning session of this project on Thursday, June 5.
When the group arrived at the spot where they had stopped last time, Lee took a couple of minutes to explain how snakes die from getting stuck in empty cans and how a small piece of broken glass can start a devastating fire. He gave a short lecture on basic hygiene issues when picking up rubbish along the road and called on the participants to be aware of road safety at all times.
He urged them not to move when they encounter a snake and assured them that he is in radio contact with different parties that would give immediate support should any unforeseen incident take place. Then he put a glove on himself, grabbed a black bag and helped the students to pick up whatever should not have been there in the first place. This is a true example of active leadership - leading through example.
Lee and Patrick not only encourage the students and the rest of the community to jump in and help with this project, they participate wholeheartedly in it themselves. One gets the impression that these two men are so serious about what they do that if they do not get support they will keep the roadside clean all by themselves!
By Zanne de Bruin