I won’t jump around it, today was a brilliant day. My final day in Kayamandi went almost perfectly. Here lies the play by play.
When I woke up Thursday I still had a bit of anxiety that my last day wouldn’t be all that I wanted it to be. I was worried I wouldn’t get to see people off, my book wouldn’t be available, and that my ride back to Cape Town wouldn’t work out.
Not long after I woke up Luvo and his brother showed up. I don’t know them as well but they’re cool kids. I let them play with my camera while I continued to get ready. This went on for a while until about half past 10 when Mawande showed up at my door. I was relieved when I saw him because he was one of the guys I was afraid I wouldn’t get to say goodbye to. I told him that I had to go in to town eventually so I could go pick up my book from the book store but that we couldn’t go until I got confirmation from Julia that my book had arrived. So we had some time to kill.
It was such a nice day I decided I wanted to walk around Kayamandi one last time before heading into town. We first walked to Mawande’s home where we dropped off a few things I wasn’t planning on bringing with me; the beach towels I bought for the pool and some other items. I also grabbed a bag full of erasers, silly bands, and candies that I had left to give out. As we walked to his house I felt like I was trick-or-treating in reverse. Instead of getting things as I walked around the community I was giving all my stuff away!
After stopping at Mawande’s home we continued around the neighborhood and we met up with Khanyisa. I got to see where he lives and meet his family. At this point Mawande ran off and when he came back he told me that Rethabile was still around that we should go to his home. So I followed them through the houses until we arrived at RiRi’s place. When we got there the first thing I noticed was the monopoly game laid out on the floor looking to be about midway through the game… the part of the game where most normal people give up and quit haha. While at RiRi’s house I met with his father and the some of his extended family. Apparently RiRi was in the process of washing up his younger brother when we arrived because as I met with his family his younger brother was running around naked. His family was really nice though and they were all in the process of getting ready to head east to Port Elizabeth for the Holidays. While we were talking Simankele showed up with some of his family members which meant I got to see or talk to almost all the families of my students. I was also glad to get the chance to say goodbye to Ski and RiRi again because the day before wasn’t exactly how I wanted it to go.
We all walked a bit more around Kayamandi and then headed back to my place. Along the way I got a call from Julia that my book had arrived and I could come anytime to pick it up. The plan now was to say goodbye to RiRi and Ski for real and then take Mawande, Khanyisa, and Onge (Mawande’s younger brother) into town so we could pick up my book and let them check out some books too.
At my house, I had come across a few more things I had planned on leaving so I distributed the rest of it. I said the goodbye I wanted to, felt a lot better, took some videos because my camera still wasn’t cutting it for me, and then headed into town with the three boys.
None of us had eaten yet so once we got into Stellenbosch our first stop was a KFC! We ate, got our toys, and then moved on to the bookstore. The boys were very well behaved at the store and picked out some wonderful books and I was so stoked that I finally had my book, and it’s GIANT! I can’t wait to have it for my 25 hour trip back to the states haha!! Before leaving the bookstore I took some more video to compensate for lack of camera and then we parted for the mini buses.
On the way to the buses I picked up some flowers to give to Mama Zulu as a thank you for everything she’s done for me. Not long after this Khanyisa got my attention to alert me that there was a lady bug on his shirt. To anyone that doesn’t understand the significance of that, basically lady bugs are and have been a very meaningful symbol to my family. They tend to show up at all the right times and have the ability make any day a bit brighter. I placed her on the flowers and we all went back to Kayamandi.
This is the part of the day where things didn’t go perfect. Mama Zulu had left me the keys to the main house because she was going to be gone in the afternoon. When I went into town I left them in the flowerpot she had told me about. This was in case she got home before I did and needed to get back inside. When I got back to the house with the boys Mama Zulu still wasn’t home but the keys were no longer there! The door to her house was still locked so I thought maybe one of her sons had come by and took the keys and just never put them back. I took the kids back to my place where they played and read their new books. Maybe 30 minutes later Mama Zulu came to my door asking if I still had the keys. I was confused at first and then realized she didn’t know where they were either. Panic came over me as we both headed back to the flowerpot to double check if they were there. When they weren’t we both started to worry and I was afraid I had lost Mama Zulu’s keys to her house on my last day in Kayamandi! She didn’t have her phone on her and my phone had no airtime left so neither of us could call anyone to get inside. Her kids were at work and Lelethu had already left on Holiday so it was looking like we were going to have wait outside. So wait we did. I kept an eye on the kids as they played soccer and luckily Papa Zulu showed up after a little. When he opened the door to the house the keys we had been looking for had been slid under. None of us knew how they had gotten there but we were glad we had them. I guess they won’t be leaving the keys in the flowerpot anymore.
At this point I was just waiting for my ride to come which was supposed to be there by 4. Of course my ride didn’t up coming till 7.. but that’s Africa Time for you. My last few hours in Kayamandi were spend relaxing, waiting, and reading some of my book. I said my goodbyes to the kids around 5 and was able to say bye to Mama Zulu’s sons too. Staying longer wasn’t so bad and when Isaac finally came the family helped me pack everything into the van. Actually Papa Zulu even climbed into the van because he’d never been in such a nice one before haha. As one last goodbye to Kayamandi I had Isaac drive around the township before we moved on to Cape Town. We also made a stop at Gino’s for some of their awesome pizza.
I got back into Cape Town pretty late and was really happy with how the day played out. Kayamandi will be missed and I’m really hoping I can come back in the future. Later that night I got a call from RiRi and Ski who were checking to see if I was on the plane yet haha. I told them I’d call them on Sunday before the flight!
Farewell Kayamandi… I’ll be back