The boys asked the day before what time they could come over on Saturday. I told them maybe between 9-10 but quickly thought mentioned that closer to 10 would be better. I got a knock at my door at 8:58. Half asleep I thought that if I just ignored it they would come back an hour later. That’s when my phone started to ring. I got and headed to my door and could see that there was a shadow over the normally see through key hole (later in the day I too looked through the key hole and was amazed at how much you could see in side. There is another door before getting into my room but you could completely see the entire entrance way.). Outside were Ski, Mawande, and Chester. I ushered them inside, told them I could use another 30 minutes of sleep, and set them up quietly with my ipad. They actually did a decent job keeping quiet but not to the point that I was able to fall back asleep.
Shortly after being let in Eric came over to see what all the noise was about. I think he was also a bit shocked to see them all over so early. The plan was to head into Stellenbosch to play some Frisbee in the park. I was going to tell the boys that they could pick an ultimate jersey out of the bag but when I came back from brushing my teeth they were already geared up. Nice to see them making themselves at home haha.
It was probably 10am when we started our walk down to the mini buses. When we got there Eric realized he had forgotten his cell phone and wanted to go back and get it. He said he would just meet us at the park, and Chester decided he would go with Eric. I had no problems with this because it meant I had one less kid to pay for! Rather than a mini bus, today we piled into a jeep. 12 people in total piled into to the front seat, back seat, and trunk of this jeep. I think there were 5 people in the trunk alone!
The weather was just perfect for playing the park and we threw the Frisbee around for hours. We came up with a game similar to one we’ve all played before. One person throws the Frisbee the others try and catch and the person who comes down with it gets the points. I also added bonus points to anyone that could throw the Frisbee back to me. The boys are all getting pretty good at throwing and catching a Frisbee. I taught them how to read a disc today. To a bystander it might have looked like I was playing fetch but I promise it was all in good nature. Everyone loves the feeling of successfully running down a flying object no matter the sport you’re playing.
After playing in the park for a few hours Eric and I decided we would by some lunch for the boys and made our way to the McDonalds. I know it’s not healthy but we were just aiming for something to hold them over.
After some lunch we took the mini bus back to Kayamandi and were greeted by two new volunteers. Mieke and Hanneke are two very nice girls from the Netherlands. They had actually arrived late the night before but we had already been fast asleep. We introduced ourselves and they got to meet Ski, Mawande, and Chester. While we were letting them get settled the rest of us went back to my flat where we worked on some bracelets and made some music on the ipad. The girls came over to join us and I told them a bit about the township. I feel like a pretty well groomed guide at this point. Since they had just arrived they weren’t sure yet how to head into Stellenbosch and they had a few things they needed to pick up. Even though we had just gotten back from town I thought it’d be nice if we took them back in to teach them how it’s done. I’m really quite fond of sharing what I know about Kayamandi because I love the township so much!
I told the guys (Ski informed me that they are no longer kids) that we’d be back later but for now I was going to take the girls into town. I love being there to witness everyone’s first time riding a mini bus, or being there when a child runs up to them for the first time and lays a big hug on them. It’s so welcoming to receive so many hugs, from the kids of the township, just on the way to the bus station. Of course our walk to the buses is also filled with such beautiful views that it’s hard to say which is more welcoming. Our bus wasn’t packed on our way into town like I told them it’d be, but I think that was because it was midafternoon. I really truly do my best to show and tell the other volunteers as much as I can because when I leave I’m going to want to know they are still taking care of my students, and I’ll want lots of updates! I made sure to tell them all about which restaurants the kids can eat free, and which book stores to shop at, and which fields to play soccer at. I want to know that when I leave I’ll still be there for these kids… sorry, young adults.
After running a few errands, picking up some food, and buying the necessary adapters we took a mini bus back to the township. This ride held 21 passengers with me in the back with 4 others, and the 2 girls sandwiched up front with the driver. I love these rides! I was a little concerned that the girls may not know when to get off but they informed me afterwards that they kept an eye on me for each stop. I considered getting off early so we could walk a bit through the township but we had food with us and I figured it was more important for them to know the proper place to get off. Once at our stop I had to teach them how to say the name of our street, Cedile street. Both Mieke and Hanneke speak perfect English as well as their home language of Dutch. I’m glad that I can at least help them with Xhosa. All day every day I meet people that are bilingual, some people here can speak many more that two languages but I feel pathetic only able to speak English, EVERYONE seems to be able to speak English. Often the players on the Frisbee team just go back and forth between Afrikaans and English without even skipping a beat. Because Dutch and Afrikaans are closely related the girls from the Netherlands can also understand when the locals speak Afrikaans. Even Eric, from Germany, is able to pick some of it up. Afrikaans is derived from Dutch and German after all. I need to get my act together!
It was just about time for dinner by the time we got home and the 4 of us all sat down to yet another delicious meal prepared by Lelethu and Mama Zulu. I asked them afterwards if it’s easier to cook for a lot of people or just a few. They told me the stove does the cooking and they just have to stand there. They are very humble and modest though because their food is great, and I know it can’t be easy to cook for a group of strangers.
At dinner I asked the girls if they had played the game of Catan. They had, and Mieke told me she plays it almost weekly! This was awesome news and without a doubt we had a plan for the evening.
Eric needed to make a phone call so in the meantime I taught the girls the basics of bracelet making. They got it relatively quickly, but not without a few major knots along the way. I also had time to show the girls were they would be doing their volunteer work. The clouds looks really beautiful against the mountains.
Catan is a German board game, yet Eric was the only one of us who hadn’t played it before. I taught him the rules and we let the games begin. We played two games with Mieke winning the first and myself winning the second. Both were great games, and just the first of many. During our match I got to try some snacks from the Netherlands and from Germany. Eric had his delicious chocolate and gummy bears, and the girls brought this waffle like cookie that was soft and tasted like it was filled with syrup. It was pretty incredible.
I convinced them all to join me on Sunday for an Ultimate Frisbee practice followed by a cookout but we’d be getting picked up at 9:30 in the morning. After our second game we all went our separate ways and headed off to bed. It’s always fun to meet new people, especially when they know how to play Catan!!