Friday morning was sort of like disaster control for Dan. We both were able to sleep in a little but once he woke up he set to work on cleaning up from party central. I cleaned up a bit around our room but it was nothing compared to the task he had at hand. After the party you could hardly see the floors because of how much debris was everywhere. From what I gathered he had to mop multiple times in order to make it back to the original flooring. I guess that’s the price you pay when you throw epic parties in a township.
My plan for the day was to host a sports afternoon with as many kids as I could gather. The only problem was that not many kids were over when I wanted them to be. I was expecting at least 10 kids to come down to the fields with us, pick up a few kids along the way, and meet maybe another 10 kids down by the park. I still had a handful of Five Ultimate jerseys to give away and I was hoping to suit everyone up. When 3:30 rolled around only about 4 kids were at our place. Maybe they all had candy hangovers from the night before? It was such a nice afternoon out that we decided to head down to the fields anyway. Even with just the 4 kids, Hanneke, Mieke, Dan, and I, I figured we could come up with something fun to do.
Along the way we passed different groups of kids but none that came along with us to the fields, and when we arrived at the fields they were basically empty. I thought Songo’s BMX riders would be available to join but they weren’t even riding today. I didn’t want to give up though so we continued down to the fields and began passing around the ball we brought.
In the distance, on another field, we saw a group of younger kids playing soccer. I asked Mawande and Apihwe to run over and ask if they’d like to join. In the mean time I asked Wande to run over to a different group of kids and see if they’d like to join us. Slowly but surely kids started showing up, and when they saw that kids were getting the chance to wear awesome 5 Ultimate jerseys they came running!
When we finally had enough people for a real game we split the teams up with Hanneke captaining one team and Mieke captaining the other. We really had no idea of knowing who had the better team because we only knew a small fraction of the players. There were well over 30 kids on the field when the games began and only about 4 of them had walked over with us.
Things got off to a quick start with Hanneke’s team taking an early lead. The score might have been 4-0 when I decided to join Mieke’s team and lend a hand… or foot. Even with my help the other team continued to score and it wasn’t until I finally offered a decent pass to Mawande that our team scored! The score was like 5-1 at this point but we had our first goal. I think in any sport the first goal is always the hardest and we used our momentum to score another couple fast points. All these kids, ages 5-14, were better than me at soccer, but I was still faster!
We continued playing for the next hour or so and the score was eventually 8-8. When we saw kids struggling to run the full length of the field and realized we ought to head back for dinner it seemed like the perfect quitting time. What began as a small group and turned it into a very large competitive soccer match. Sports day was an awesome success and the kids were all thrilled to sport their new jerseys! Thanks so much to Five Ultimate and my team mates from Shippensburg University for the donated jerseys! You pretty much are these kids’ heroes, and there is no doubt that they’ll have these jerseys for years to come! Most of these kids could use a few years before the jerseys finally fit them anyways!
One of the reasons we had to be back at a certain time for dinner was because Hanneke, Mieke, and I were going to a performance at Amazink and needed to eat beforehand. Amazink is a restaurant in Kayamandi that offers outsiders a chance to experience a cultural performance while eating a delicious dinner. The best part about this performance was that Lelethu was one of the star performers! Lelethu is my host sister who lives with us at Mama Zulus. We all know she has a stunning voice from hearing her sing throughout our mornings and afternoons but this would be the first time seeing her on stage.
Just after dinner the three of us dressed up and headed over to Amazink. The reason we ate first was because we were unsure if our tickets had food included and we didn’t want to risk not eating anything all evening. Since this was the first and probably only time I’d be getting dressed up in Kayamandi I was sure to take a few pictures with Mama Zulu, and the kids that were over. When we arrived at Amazink we were greeted by a welcoming performance just outside the doors with Lelethu leading the way. She looked so great we all had to get pictures with her before going inside.
None of us really knew what to expect upon entering the place but we were all anxious and excited to find out. We first were guided to our table that was specially reserved for us. Our seats were great! Right by one of the stages and right in the middle! After ordering a bottle of wine and playing some cards the show finally began.
To put it simply, the show was incredible. Honestly one of the greatest performances I have ever seen! For nearly 2 hours we were blown away by solos, dances, costume changes, and more! Every one of the performers had a unique style and an amazing voice. I was so proud to know Lelethu and see her lead many of the songs. From start to finish I was completely engaged in everything they were doing. We went outside for a couple songs where I found out that Lelethu could play the djembe drum, and was totally amazed to see her lead the entire group in complicated step dance. Okay, so my knowledge of dance styles isn’t the best but I know great dancing when I see it and these guys were phenomenal. Some of the performers have traveled the world with their skills but continue to find themselves back in Kayamandi.
Throughout the entire performance I kept thinking to myself how great it would be to have brought some of our kids to the show. It’s a bit expensive and I don’t have time to do it before I head back home but I was thinking it might make for an awesome Christmas present for the kids if I supply Mieke and Hanneke with a means of taking a small group to the show. I just know they’d love it as much as I did and would probably be singing and dancing along with them.
As the show went on more and more of the audience began to get involved and before things were finished we were all out of our chairs singing and dancing. Immediately after the performance we all demanded an encore and were lucky enough to be entertained for at least a few more minutes. No one wanted the show to be over, but all good things must come to an end.