Thursday and Friday were both catch up days.
Back home when I need to run a few errands I just get in my car and drive to the store. I can usually take care of everything I need pretty quickly. I hardly ever need to worry about what times stores are closing, and I don’t have to worry about being home before it gets dark. Over here in South Africa you have to constantly be mindful of those things. I don’t mind walking places and taking the mini buses but a simple trip into town to mail a few postcards could take over an hour. With this in mind we typically try to accomplish as much as we can each time we have to make the trip and that’s basically what Thursday and Friday were all about.
After utilizing the Wi-Fi at the trust center within the township we made our way the primary school. We wanted to catch up with a couple teachers and see a few students. We didn’t stick around too long because Dan and I both had other things we had to take care of. Pam is doing well and is looking for any ideas for helping fund raise money to buy furniture for her church.
Our next stop was the BMX track, run by Songo Fipaza. If you can remember, Songo is the guy who started the organization in Kayamandi called Epic. His program takes children off the streets, gives them a safe place to study, learn, and hang out, all while keeping them active with BMX riding. He’s created a custom BMX track, right next to his office, which is next door to the primary school and he trains kids on how to ride and race. Our plan was to meet up with him and discuss a bit more about his organization but we arrived just after he had left. While there I was able to borrow one of the kid’s bikes and take it around the course. It was a lot of fun but I took it pretty slow. I was worried I’d crash and ruin the poor guy’s bike. The very last bit of track had a low spot where there was mud. I wasn’t able to avoid it which made for two very muddy tires. At least I didn’t break his bike…
From there I split up with Dan and went into town. I got really lucky and caught a ride in with Papa Zulu, while making the walk. In town I visited the bank, a couple ATMs (because the max you can withdraw is just not enough sometimes), and the post office to mail out another 7 post cards! I actually made good time on everything and was home in just over an hour.
My afternoon was spent updating blogs, finalizing the pictures for the photo books, and many more post cards. It’s certainly helping to have the kids participate in writing the post cards, and they seem to still enjoy writing to you all! Please don’t be too critical with their writing, I think it’s a lot harder for them to write in English than to speak it.
In the evening all the volunteers got together for another game of true colors. We’ve now played that game all the way through so if we are interested in playing again we’ll need to first come up with some new questions. After our game the group divided and went off to bed but Hanneke, Mieke, and Gesa all stayed up to learn one of my favorite 4 person games. Spades is an excellent strategy card game played with partners but you need just 4 people to play. Our first game was mostly based around teaching the other three how to play but I’m sure we’ll play again in the future!
Friday wasn’t too different from Thursday with Dan and I having to take care of a few more errands.
When we visited Songo today, he was there and we were able to sit down with him and talk all about his program and our thoughts on working with him. Like Dave’s Surf Program, we were both very impressed with the work Songo’s been doing and felt confident that our contributions would be received in the highest regard. Both Dave and Songo have both successfully started programs that take less privileged children off the streets and provide them with a safe environment to learn and grow. Both programs also aim to keep the participants busy and healthy by teaching them how to balance work and play. While Dave trains his guys how to surf, Songo trains his group to ride BMX. As an added bonus, both of these awesome gentlemen work directly with the schools Dan and I volunteered at. This means we’ll be able to keep tabs on how things are going and what our students have been up to. Once Dan and I return from our trip to Dubai and Morocco, we’ve set up a date where we can get all the kids together for an afternoon filled with sports (November 1st). I’m already pumped for this and will be contacting the Stellebosch Frisbee gang to see if they’d be interested in joining us. If you’re interested in visiting Songo’s website it’s www.songo.info.
After our visit with Songo we went into town so we could deliver the 350 photos that we’d need printed so we could begin putting them into the photo albums. We grabbed lunch at Asta La Pasta in the meantime and ate a delicious chicken and pasta dish. When we finished eating we still had enough time to send out a few more postcards, visit an ATM, and stop by the Western Union where I’d be able to pick up a very generous donation from my friend Eartha. Thanks again Eartha! Our timing worked out pretty great because the photos had finished printing just before we walked back into the shop. Before heading back home we picked up Dan’s laundry, and ate an ice cream cone from Steers. We’ve gotten pretty good at coordinating our visits into town so that we could accomplish everything we need to in the most efficient time possible. And yes, we always make time for ice cream.
Back at home we met up with the rest of the students that will be joining us on our beach trip tomorrow and wrote out another dozen post cards. We’re trying our best to get these cards done before we leave on our trip. We still have a handful more to go but I think we can do it!
I’m really looking forward to taking everyone to Muizenburg for our surf outing. I’m not exactly sure what to expect because a few of the kids struggle to swim, but I’m sure Dave has something up his sleeve. speaking of sleeves, I’m curious if all our crew will be geared up in wet suits tomorrow?! Time will tell!