Today would be my last day in Kayamandi before leaving with Dan for a few weeks to travel about Dubai and Morocco. We didn’t plan anything for today because we still needed to get everything ready for our trip and say our goodbyes.
Much earlier than either of us had anticipated we heard a knock at our door. I got up to see who it was and saw Avela standing at our door. I knew he’d be heading back to the Eastern Cape today and that this was him coming by to say farewell.
Avela is one of the nicest guys in Kayamandi, and is constantly doing things for others. Initially I didn’t think I’d even be able to see him again due to the fact that he has since moved out of Kayamandi. It was such an awesome surprise to find out that he’d be able to come along on our trip and join the rest of his best friends while we explored their beautiful country. Since this would be the last time I’d be seeing Avela, for probably a very long time, we decided to present him with a few parting gifts. We gave Avela 3 things before saying goodbye.The first thing was his professional picture of him holding a snake at the Wildlife Ranch. The second was the name card drawling I made for him, and the third was a photo album consisting of 35 photos from out trip featuring him. As he paged through the album I noticed tears streaming down his face. I was truly touched that he loved the album so much. It’s moments like these that will stick with me forever and drive me to make a return trip in the future. I never thought I’d care so much for a group of kids, now young adults, so dearly. We’ve become a family in the time we’ve spent together and nobody likes having to say goodbye to the ones they love. After a few hugs, and many thanks, Dan and I walked Avela to our front gate and said our final goodbye. One day, Avela, we’ll meet again.
The next significant event for Sunday was a farewell lunch with Hanneke, Mieke, Theresa, and Dan. We all had a few minor things to take care of in Stellenbosch and afterwards strolled over to a restaurant by the name of Simply Asia. I chose this place because of how great I remember it being on my last visit. The girls and I split a sushi platter to start our meal and it was absolutely delicious! Following our appetizer Hanneke and I split a chicken and steak noodle dish. She ordered the dish with chicken, I ordered the same meal with steak, and we split the whole thing 50/50. This worked out so nicely because I was having an internal debate as to which I should order. Our meal was really phenomenal and it was the perfect way to spend our last lunch before departing. We were also celebrating having known each other for 1 month!!
Back in Kayamandi a few of the kids had come over and helped me put the finishing touches on the last of our postcards. At this point I think everyone’s postcard has been mailed out. In the next few weeks be sure to keep an eye out for them, and if you receive yours please upload a picture and hashtag it, ReachingOut2TheWorld.
Around midday Riri, Mawande, and Aphiwe came by to work on a few special letters we’ll be giving to our top contributors!! I couldn’t be more impressed with how well these three set to work on these letters. I know you guys will absolutely love them!!
During this same time our room quickly filled up with about 12 other people. We played a big card with everyone which eventually turned into a challenge to see if Hanneke and I could stack an entire deck of cards on a bottle of Axe spray. One by one we placed a card on top with the only rule being that two corners had to be hanging off at all times. As we got closer and closer to finishing up the deck of cards we began gaining everyone’s attention. Soon enough we were adding additional items onto our stack until we thought we would push our limit. From there we included the rest of the group in a makeshift game of jenga that had us each taking turns pulling the cards off until one of us collapsed the whole structure.
After dinner some of the guys were still back in the room playing a 4 person game on Dan’s ipad. Sometimes they are good at sharing but if you don’t keep an eye on them the older guys in the group sometimes hog the device. While I was working with Riri on his letter I heard a very loud slapping noise and looked up to see a fight breaking out in the room. I don’t know exactly what happened but I do know that Wande slapped Luthando across the face harder than I’ve ever seen anyone get slapped. Immediately I told Wande to leave the room and the other guys made sure Luthando was alright. I’m pretty sure this was all because of whose turn it was in the game. It’s pretty common to see such aggression with kids around here but that doesn’t mean it’s alright in my room! I later went out to talk to Wande to let him know that it’s never okay to hit someone in the face like that.
Just after 8 the group dispersed and headed home. The plan was to hang out with the rest of the volunteers for our last night but I wanted to first grab a shower. While I was in the bathroom just about to step into the shower I heard someone crying outside the door. I stopped what I was doing so I could hear better what was being said. It sounded like Lupho and he was really upset about something. I figured my shower could wait a minute and I went out to see what the problem was. Back in my room Lupho was sitting on my bed with Mieke by his side. Apparently after we said our farewell a couple of the older kids beat him up just down the road. Besides being noticeably upset, he looked alright, and I think he was mostly just shook up. Dan had gone outside to see if any of the kids were still around but I don’t think any of them stayed back. I’m not sure there was an actual reason as to why he was beat up, but the easy explanation is that boys around here are just a bit more aggressive. I don’t think violent is the right term because they don’t ever seem to really want to hurt each other… they just like to hit each other. At home, children are disciplined by being hit. Often, when there is a problem, hitting each other is just their first response. When I saw Dan and Mieke had things under control and Lupho was being spoiled with gummy worms I figured I could get back to my shower. The sad truth was that Dan and I would be leaving early Monday morning and wouldn’t be able to talk to any of the kids that beat up Lupho till the end of October. By the time we get back I don’t think they’d even know what we’re talking about.
Post shower we all met up in the house shared with the girls from Holland and Germany. There were 7 of us in total and we played a game called Things. To play this game someone must first read a statement like, “Name something you’d find in the trash.” All participants then write down a suitable answer and fold it up before giving it back to the reader. The reader then reads aloud all the responses and gets one guess as to who wrote what. If they are right they get another guess, if they are wrong the person to the left of them gets a guess. This continues until everyone’s response has been guessed. This is a fun game with a large group and is much harder than it may sound. Dan beat everyone fairly easy but he later told me that he was able to tell who wrote what based off of their reactions when the responses were first being read. Twas very clever Mr. Sellers.
Even though the games were fun the real highlight of the night was the chocolate mousse cake which we all split. I thought the cake was delicious and the perfect way to cap off our farewell night.
After a close game of hearts, which Hanneke beat me by 2 points, it was time to head back to our room and begin backing for our trip through Dubai and Morocco. The next few posts may be spread out a bit because I can’t say for sure how well I’ll have internet connection along the way. This trip may also leave little time for updating but I’ll see what I can do 🙂 Hope you Enjoy!!