Isn’t This a Job for the Crocodile Hunter

1 The South African village Sahlumbe located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal is demanding that a bridge be built across Tugela River, a crocodile infested river, so the children won’t have to swim across to get to school. Some students at the youngest age 7 have been swimming across the river since the community boat was stolen. There are about 70 households in Sahlumbe and no one owns a car and there are no buses. And for students to get to school without crossing the river they would have to take a 20km or 12 mile detour. On school days 150 children swim across the river in their underwear using rubber tires and buckets to stay afloat and to keep their school uniforms and books dry.

" I worry all the time. There are dangerous animals in there, especially crocodiles," says This has been a rising concern because some of the children from Mabizela High School often arrive tired and unable to concentrate, she says. "They sit in class and shiver because of the cold and they can’t study well because they are worrying about how they are going to get home."

Thuthukani Primary School headmistress Hlengiwe Mthembu.

"It is very hard for them. After heavy rains the river gets very full. It can take up to 10 minutes to cross."

Local counselor Sibusiso Nbatha says most of the families moved to Sahlumbe three years ago after being evicted from the land they were living on.   He says some families have no choice but to let their children swim across the river because they don’t have any means of transportation.   Not all the children can swim so some ride on the tires or their parents carry them across. The river is too deep for the adults to walk across and not all of them can swim," Mr. Nbatha says.

And it is not only children who cross the Tugela River, in 2003 a pregnant woman tried to reach the only hospital in the area drowned while trying to reach the opposite bank. And in 2005 two children from the same family lost their lives to the river. Mr. Nbatha says even the stolen boat was not safe to cross the river with; it was old and full of holes and was used by the whole village. He says he has argued with department of transport for five years. "They just keep us waiting," he says.

"It’s very frustrating. You can see the school from the opposite bank but you just can’t reach it."

How would the bridge affect the village? Could it possibly diminish the crocodile population, could it even raise the number of methods for transportation? Leave me a comment telling me what you think.

Signed Yours Truly,

image borrowed from BBC news

King Kong


About Bill Ferriter

I'm a real-live, bona-fide, full-time practicing classroom teacher. #takeTHAT
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6 Responses to Isn’t This a Job for the Crocodile Hunter

  1. whatchamacallit says:

    What do you do when crocs, give you a ha-ard time?
    What do you call, Croc Busters!
    What do you do when crocs, control the river?
    What do you call, Bridge Builders!
    Da Da, Da Da, Da-Da
    Da Da, Da Da, Da-Da
    Da Da, Da Da, Da-Da Dum.
    What I think seriously is that these people are in grave danger form those crocs. What also is bad is that safety takes long, with all of that hiking. What could possibily be worse?

  2. railroad says:

    Hi! It’s railroad from Mr. Brune’s Class!! I wrote about that a week or two ago.Isn’t that so scary? I would be scared to death if I had to cross that5 river. I am so scared of crocodiles. Are you?

  3. superturtle says:

    ya i think a bridge would be nice. but king kong is right what would that do to the river. i still don’t think it would effect the crocodiles. i think a bridge would be safer for the people and not harm the crocodiles. we build bridges all the time and i have not heard of one that effected a crocadile population yet. Or you could build a giant sling shot and fly across. but i would rather swim or use a bridge. Or they could make a boat out of tires (to make it float) and stick a board on top. And row it with a paddle. what do u think?

  4. Skip Rope says:

    Waaaaaa. Martin Stel swam 1 billion miles through pirihanas, anacondas, and bull sharks in the Amazon river and was fine…
    Just kidding… Seems like an easy “good will” project for a celebrity or billionaire to hire out an engineering team to make a simple, inexpensive but safe suspension bridge to help these students.
    If the boat worked before maybe a new boat; I can see it now… A new boat covered in Nascar racecar sponsor type decals.

  5. The Warlord says:

    I think this is terrible. I agree with Skip Rope that it would be an easy celebrity project, or a group of kids could get together to do it as a high-school community project. The crocodiles don’t sound that serious, and I’m sure that if we built a suspension bridge, as long as it was only foot traffic crossing the bridge, and they didn’t start polluting, the crocodiles would be fine. It might be a little tricky building the bridge without harming the crocodiles, but like Skip Rope said, it doesn’t have to be elaborate, just safe.
    I think building a bridge would dramatically improve their standard of living, because it would be easier for them to concentrate at school.
    The Warlord

  6. King Kong says:

    Hey superturtle you said that you could make a raft out of tires. I for one see some flaws, they do not have the materials and the crocdiles are big enough to jump onto it.

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