Reaching Out 2 The World

Ticket Day

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My day started pretty early with Avela showing up at my door right around 8am. He was calling my name and knocking excessively. I let him in, gave him some playdoh and went back to sleep. Not long after a few more kids arrived and before 9 there was a game of Monopoly underway. It was a bit chilly today so we weren’t sure if we were going to go to the pool as we had planned before. We were thinking that it may just be a day of movies and snacks, of course Monopoly. I popped a bunch of popcorn, and put on the movie, How to Train Your Dragon. The movie was great, the animal instincts to devour the popcorn before the person on either side of you grabbed a handful… not so great. I can’t tell you how many times I told them to slow down. It got to the point where I had to make a rule that they were only allowed one kernel at a time. This helped but it may have been too little too late. I’m still finding popcorn throughout room.

November 5th is known as Guy Fawkes Day here in South Africa. I had never heard of it before but in some ways it’s similar to Halloween. It’s based off of a guy who started a group that would run around wearing masks causing mischief. I think it was done for political reasons but has grown into something more similar to America’s Mischief Night. Kids sometimes wear masks but mostly just cause a lot of “mischief”; either with eggs or mud. My kids told me that sometimes they use petrol and sewage but that they stay clear from that.

Once the weather got a bit warmer we did decided to head to the pool. I can confirm that there were kids running around causing mischief but I didn’t see any petrol or sewage being thrown. A few of the kids that saw us walking told us that the pool was closed for the day, because it was Guy Fawkes Day. As we got within eye sight of it, it seemed as if they may have been right due of the vacancy of the place. We were still a half mile away though and thought we mine as well check it out. If it proved to be closed we still had soccer balls with us that we could use in the grassy area just outside of the pool facility. I think there were 8 of us total and each of them ran up ahead of me as we got closer. A few of them ran back to confirm that there was a couple people inside but that it was in fact closed. I figured I’d walk over to get a look for myself and maybe ask when the pool was going to be opened next. When I got to the gate and the lifeguards realized there was a white person there things started to look different for us. They remembered me from the previous times I had come swimming and they were more than willing to open the pool up to us. Apparently there was a fair going on in town at one of the Afrikaan primary schools and almost all the kids were there. So they unlocked the gate, let the kids in, and then proceeded to talk my ear off for a few minutes about all their aspirations to come to the US. I really hope some of these people get the opportunity. So before I tell you about the rest of our experience, you should remember that I’m a certified lifeguard and when I take kids/anyone to a pool I trust myself far more then I trust anyone else that may be working. Even if Michael Phelps and Chuck Norris had a love child, who was on duty… I’d trust my eyes and instincts over his. Anyway, since the pool was supposed to be closed for the day the lifeguards had no intention of lifeguarding. I can hardly blame them as I’ve been in their position before and it kinda sucks when someone actually shows up to use the pool when you thought you were going to have the day off. Luckily this didn’t weigh too much on their minds and they acted as if we weren’t even there. The kids swam and played soccer while the lifeguards sat in their cars (which they drove into the facility), blasted their music, and drank excessively. Fortunately, they weren’t too close to the pool and my kids only noticed them when they would rev their engines or spin donuts in the grass. When we finally decided to go we had to walk through their party to exit and I had to retrieve the rest of the money I was owed for using their pool. They sloppily tried to conceal their booze as I stood next to them talking but the effort was wasted on account of the fact they could hardly stand and speak at the same time. I asked one of the seemingly more sober ones if they could take a group photo of us and she immediately obliged and got out her own personal camera. When I asked if she could maybe use my camera, so I could actually have a copy, she looked at me concerned and asked which button takes the pictures. I know we’ve all seen the comedian do the sketch on people asking dumb questions. “The button that takes pictures is and has been in the same spot on all camera devices for as long as cameras have been around!” The first picture she took was of my feet. Thank you. The second one she took she told us the sun was too bright and asked us to pose 90 degrees to the left of where we stood. We moved and she took two more photos. I thanked her and we went on our way. Later that day, I looked at the pictures from the pool and realized that the only picture she had actually taken… was the one of my feet. Never again will I give someone the benefit of the doubt when I ask them to take a group photo for me.

When we got back to my place I put on a movie for the kids, and ordered a few pizzas from town. My lucky they had free delivery… but they don’t deliver to Kayamandi. I was chickened out. I ended up calling in Romeo (our late night driver when we are stuck in town post minibuses). He’s a gamer and I caught him midway through playing BioShock 2. He was still more than happy for the business though and scooped me up to fetch the pizzas in due time. When I brought the pizzas home and set up a buffet type deal, in the hall way outside my room, the kids’ reactions were really cute. They were overall very thankful but a few of them were laughing hysterically when they heard they could eat as much as they wanted. I got a lot and didn’t plan on coming up short! I also figured any extras would make for a great lunch. You should have seen it though, I’d open a bag of chips to refill a bowl and their jaws would drop.

This was the last Saturday I’d be seeing the kids for a while because of the trip I’m going on and let me tell ya… they made out well. The morning they got some gifts from my sister, the afternoon they got to go to the pool, and the pool was followed by a smorgasbord of pizza and snacks. When the kids were settling in front of the movie with their pizza and whatnots I grabbed my camera to capture the moment. The darn kids had used up my memory and my battery in only half a day!

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3 thoughts on “Ticket Day

  1. Guy Fawkes is an English guy who in the 1600s attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. He was found with barrels and barrels of gun power on the 5th November in a tunnel dug beneath Parliament, and was then tortured, charged with high treason and executed.
    So basically the tradition since was on 5th November to have a bonfire, with him burning on it, and fireworks. However it has now kind of morphed into ‘Firework Night’, so mainly fireworks and often a bonfire at big events 🙂
    Hope this clears things up :p

  2. Lifeguard snob. 🙂

    Pizza = best thing ever in ANY country

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