Reaching Out 2 The World


8 Comments

The Grass Is Just As Green On The Other Side

Hello, I’m Dan.

I thought I would share my perspective on the experience Chris had.
First, let me share a little back-story.

I planned on going to South Africa for a while, but only for the month of June. I booked Tanzania for July, and I kept August open for a different country in Africa, however I was still undecided as to which country (it was probably going to be Egypt). I figured I could finally decide once I get to Africa.

One day, as I was doing research on South Africa, I randomly came across this masterpiece, O’Sullivan’s Travels. I forget how I came to find this, but I’m sure glad I did. It started off with something similar to what I was doing: a guy my age from the U.S was traveling to South Africa for the first time to volunteer and teach for a few months. The main difference is that Chris was near Stellenbosch with SASTS and I was going to stay inMuizenberg with IVHQ. Over the course of a few days, I read well near his whole blog. His sense of adventure, doing anything and everything, is on par with mine! (He may be a tad crazier though haha!) Everything he did–I wanted to do, minus the whole Kayamandi part, because I already had my place in Muizenberg. But the fact that he got to spend a considerable amount of time with those kids he taught was something I thought was pretty damn special. I had a mindset that I would be able to do the same thing in Muizenberg, but it didn’t work out that way. (I’ll explain why in just a second.)

I messaged Chris one day and asked him a few questions about South Africa…okay maybe several hundreds of questions! And like the trooper he is, he answered every single one of them promptly and with detail. Initially, before I even left I was way more excited about Tanzania than I was about South Africa, but after reading about his experiences, my excitement flip-flopped between the two countries. For answering all of my questions, I told Chris if there was something he wanted me to do for him while in South Africa, just let me know. He actually had something in mind. He asked if I had the chance, to stop by his old school, Ikaya Primary, and if there was anyway to show the kids there his videos he made, he would be grateful. After reading so much about his kids and the school, I was happy to take on that task. So I uploaded his videos and a few of his pics with the kids onto my iPad. Next thing you know, I was off to South Africa!

My volunteer house in Muizenberg was pretty cool. My school, the Christian Primary, was cool too. However, the idea of hanging out with the kids after school and was pretty much impossible. One, the kids live nowhere nearMuizenberg. Two, even if the kids did live nearby, they wouldn’t be allowed inside our house. IVHQ had a strict policy, no one other than volunteers and staff members are allowed in the house whatsoever. Bummer. Also, the kids were so young here, that it was more like running a daycare than actually teaching. That’s when I made my final decision, that after Tanzania, I would comeback to South Africa but switch over to Kayamandi and get a different experience with the kids in another school.

462933_4148595639363_1754576383_o

Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVED my time inMuizenberg. I met some of the most amazing people in the world and did a lot of fun stuff. But the fact that I knew there was a school and place nearby where you could actually teach and hangout with the kids was constantly in the back of my mind. So during my stay in Muizenberg, I applied to volunteer at Ikaya through SASTS, the same organization Chris went through. But that wouldn’t be until August. I still had Tanzania!

Fast-forward through a mind-blowing month in Tanzania and I finally arrived back in South Africa. I initially requested to be placed at Ikaya Primary, however a welcome surprise was that they also had me placed in ahomestay with Mama Zulu, the same Mama Chris stayed with. I let Chris know and he was pretty pumped that he could find out how everyone he left was doing.

This is where things get sweet for me. My time inKayamandi couldn’t have gone any smoother. The footprints Chris O’Sullivan left behind almost a year ago were mighty big ones and everyone in town knew who this guy was. I mentioned to pretty much everyone I met that I was a friend of his, and they would burst into smiles and became suddenly warmer in gratitude. They would all tell me the same things: “Chris loved those kids”; “Chris was crazy!” (In a good way), and “Chris was so nice”. Even at the school, everyone remembered who he was. He was almost like a legend in this town, even more so when I finally found his core group of kids he hung out with.

I recognized some of them from his blog, but I could never put the names with faces. I rounded them all up one day and they came over to Mama Zulu’s where I showed them Chris’ videos and pictures. I never seen kids more excited…ever. They watched the videos several times and reflected on the pictures. That same day, those same kids started to take a liking to me, as I was to them. They would come over everyday and I would take them out, play soccer, or just hangout and chill back at my place. Not a day went by where they didn’t mention Chris, who they referred to for some reason as the “strongest man alive” haha! Also, I have to ask him, what in the world does “Sheep go to heaven, Goats go to hell” mean? They would say it all the time; I thought it was some South African chant at first. Who knows??

I kept Chris in the loop while I was there and he seemed pretty excited that in a way, he was reconnected with his kids. The kids remembered it was his birthday in August and made him a special birthday video that I sent to him later. Also, I gave them my phone to call and talk to him on two different occasions. They also drew and wrote a bunch of fun pictures and letters for him that I would send once I got back to the United States. I noticed some of them had postcards Chris must have stamped and addressed to himself that they never sent. There was stuff written on them, just never mailed. I’m not sure if they knew how?

Overtime, I did a lot of hanging out with his kids. I got to know each one of them a lot better and they got to know me as well. I taught them a few Spanish phrases. They also called me the “Worlds smartest man alive”, even though I don’t think my name means that! Also, over my course in Africa I also wrote a blog in which everyone at home and around the world was able to follow me through. Just like I read his before, Chris was able to read mine and see what was going on in his old digs at Kayamandi. I was also able to use his blog as sort of a “manual” on how to handle these kids haha! I think he may have picked the most eclectic group of learner’s to befriend in that entire school.

Before I left, Chris came up with an idea to start some sort of fund to make sure these kids and probably Ikaya as a whole get the proper educational support and school supplies they need. It’s a lot to plan, but to start I opened up a PayPal and accepted donations to buy them school supplies. Thanks to Chris’ and others donations, I was able to get them a truckload of stuff that should last them for eternity! It’s a work-in-progress but it’s a step in the right direction.

Right before I left I told the kids, who were sad to see me go, that I would comeback one day and that Chris will come at the same time. Can you say double the amount of spoiled? 🙂


I can’t thank Chris enough. My whole month of August created an ever-lasting impact on me and it’s all thanks to him. If I never came across his blog, I would probably have been in Egypt instead doing who knows what? Not only that, but he gave me the contact of his friend Isaac he met here who is one of the nicest people in the world. He was able to take me around and show me what South Africa is all about.

Kudos to you O’Sullivan.

Advertisements


4 Comments

Long Live the Adventure!

Hey everyone,

Something really cool is happening right now and I thought I should at share.
I created this blog to open up a window into another world. Specifically speaking, the Township of Kayamandi in South Africa. For anyone that read even a single post or saw just one picture, you know how much the trip meant to me.
Well it’s been just about 1 year since I boarded the plane to start the adventure and although I can’t be doing the same now, the adventure continues!
A friend of mine (Dan Sellers) is actually over in South Africa right now. In fact!!! He is staying in Kayamandi, living with the same host family I was once with! The link below this post will connect you do his blog if any of you are interested in seeing what he’s been up to! Dan and I have been talking and want to set up an education fund. A way we can continue to make sure the students over there are getting adequate supplies even when we are no longer with them. We haven’t figure out the details yet how we are going to do this but I wanted to reach out and try and gather more support! http://sellersabroad.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/we-run-this-town/
As of now Dan has a PayPal set up that he is directly using to buy supplies for the school. If you are interested you can send something his way via PayPal using his email, DANIELSLLRS@att.net. I know I already have!
In the meantime, please feel free to contact me and let me know if you have any questions, or ideas that may help this work even better! If you have a minute you should really consider checking out his blog or sending a little something his way. Anything and Everything helps! And trust me, those kids over there could really use it! Thanks everyone! And sorry for the long winded message 🙂


Leave a comment

To Be Continued…

So it’s been just over a month since I’ve returned from my stay in South Africa. In that time I’ve been able to share my journey, first hand, with many friends and family. Most of these friends had a pretty vivid idea of my trip based off my blogs and pictures, but they still expressed interest to hear and see more. I can’t thank them enough for this.

Every time I’ve been able to share my media with people it’s like I’m getting the chance to relive it all again. As I’m sure many of my friends can attest to, I was watching some of the videos for the first time as well! Due to the fact my little African friends were so keen to use my electronics I’m continuing to find little surprises every time I look through my files.

This past Saturday I was visiting Nick and had brought my old cellphone with me for him to use. It wasn’t until he put his Simcard in that I found several pictures the kids must have took without me even knowing. The pictures weren’t anything different from the hundreds of pictures I already have of each of them, but the unexpected find still made my day.

Later that weekend, while driving home from Harrisburg, I called my grandparents to hear from them and catch up. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t do this enough. Of course they were anxious to hear from me and hear how my holidays went, but what stood out to me the most was when my grandma told me that she had read my blog everyday. She told me that in some way she felt as if she was there, living the same experience as I was. Hearing that was enough to make more then just my day, I think it made my 2012! My experience, while there, was incredible to say the least, but to be able to have an impact on other people, from so far away, is inspiring.

I wrote this blog to share my journey, so that friends and family could look into the lives of another culture while I experienced it first hand. It wasn’t long after I got there that I realized there was a lot more to it. Being apart of something like that changes you. Everyday is a learning experience just waiting to happen. I may have not been successful on all accounts, but I certainly tried my best to make anyone and everyone that followed, feel as if they, in fact, were there. Not only did we do this together, but I most certainly couldn’t have done it without all of you. I’m not just thanking those who donated to helping me take this journey, but I’m thanking those of you that read my stories, liked my pictures, commented on my posts, sent me packages and messages, and welcomed me home with open arms, a much wanted Thanksgiving Dinner, and, most of all, the interest to hear and see more.

There’s hardly a day that’s gone by without me thinking about my trip. Of course I expected this, and even welcome it. I can truthfully say, that I don’t think I’ll ever get tired to sharing my stories, and I welcome the challenge to prove me wrong.

If you ever came across one of my posts, or pictures and felt moved by it or even curious about it, let me know about sometime. It wasn’t until I started meeting up with people that I realized the impact my stories had. And it wasn’t until then that I realized how satisfying that feeling is haha. To introduce friends and family to something new and be the connection that stands in between… The feeling is hard to explain, but it feels like I did something right.

There are still a few pictures I’m waiting on from friends I met on the trip, and I still haven’t received any post cards yet haha, but when I do I’ll be sure to share 🙂

If you or anyone you know has an interest to travel to Africa, be sure to contact me! I’m a huge ambassador of the place and traveling in general. Of course I have the Travel Bug, and I have no intentions of getting rid of it. I only ask that you consider following me where ever I go next 🙂

Sometimes the experience is better on your own, but the journey is best taken with friends.


Leave a comment

Final Post of Kayamandi

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


Leave a comment

Monday to Wednesday

The plan for Monday was that my friend Tina and her Dad would be coming to visit Kayamandi and they were looking for me to show them around a bit. For the best tours I recruited the help of whichever students came over for the day, which happened to be about 7 of them. Tina and her Father arrived around noon and we were on our way. This isn’t my first time giving a tour of this community and I must say, I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Like a great tour guide, what I don’t know I make up. Of course I gave as accurate information as I could.

We first headed to the school I worked at and took the same path that I took every day to school. I showed them in the classrooms and we met many more students along the way. From there we headed deeper into the township and proceeded to take a full loop of the place. Meanwhile our hosts of students were with us telling us which shacks represented churches and which shacks represented stores. We visited some of their homes and met some of their families and throughout much of this they had possession of my video camera and Tina’s camera and were taking lots and lots of pictures. I found out afterwards that they were playing music from a cell phone while recording the videos and it actually looks and sounds pretty good. Watching back on it, it looks as if we were followed by a camera crew who through together an edited video for us after the tour. It’s too bad I’m not staying longer because this is for sure a great way to make some money!

After our tour I had the option of going to town with Tina and her dad for lunch, but I had also promised the guys I would take them swimming. They were nice enough to walk with us all around Kayamandi and the day was real hot so I decided on taking them to the pool. It wasn’t until we got there that I remember that the pool isn’t always open on Mondays; because that’s the day they use to clean the pool. This was unfortunate too because it was easily the nicest day of the whole week. We were all disappointed and after spending some time kicking the soccer ball around we headed back to my place. We played around on Google some and searched pictures of Dragon Ball Z characters. I really think these kids would be content to playing with Google for the rest of their lives.

Rethabile, Athabile, and Simankele asked me if they could go to the cinema one of these days. I figured since only Mawande ended up going the day before it’d be fine to take these three. The decision was easy with the weather also not looking to be nice on Tuesday. The plan was to go see the 11:50am showing of Real Steel, and then grab some lunch before heading back in to Kayamandi, where if the weather was nice we were going try and go swimming.

They showed up at my house just past 10:30 and by 11 we were on our way. On Sunday when I went we actually showed up to the movie minutes after it started so in this case it was going to be nice to get there on time. Again, it was all of their first times going to the cinema and their reactions were priceless as they stepped in to see the massive screen. Between the 4 of us we also got two popcorns, two drinks, and two bags of candy. Even though we were seeing Real Steel they also all insisted on getting the masks that went along with Puss in Boots.

Between the three of them I was least concerned about Rethabile following along as his English would suit him enough for the movie. The other two I wasn’t too sure about. I knew the movie would be action packed and just hoped that would be enough because I also knew they probably wouldn’t understand all the talking parts. Seeing a bunch of previews before the movie did nothing but confuse them too. By the time our movie was ready to play they had no idea what they had been watching and what our movie was going to be about. As a perfect example of this; Shortly after our movie was underway and they first showed the young boy, who was one of the main characters in our film, Simankele turned to me and asked me in confirming sort of manner, “That’s Spider Man?” Besides saying “no” I wasn’t really sure how to even go about explaining to him how far off he was haha. I figured by letting the movie play out he’d figure it out one way or another. And luckily it wasn’t long before the first action packed scene.

The movie ended up being really cool, and we loved it! It was far better than I ever thought it was going to be and for the next few hours the boys were running around Stellenbosch reenacting the fight scenes (still wearing their Puss in Boots masks). Seeing how excited they were to see the movie and how much they loved it made it all worth it. Sometimes I wonder if I’m spending too much or if it’s on the right stuff but going to the cinema, especially one of my last days here, was picture perfect.

With high spirits and way too much energy we all headed to Steers for a quick lunch. As we ate I thought it might be worth stopping by the bookstore so I could check to see if my book had arrived. I also knew there would be a book there for me to pick up for Debbie so I had no reason not to stop by. I told the boys we’d be stopping there for just a minute while I pick some stuff up and they can look through the books while they wait.

When we got there I found out things were going to be different. Julia, the owner of the bookstore, told me that my book had not yet arrived but that Debbie’s has. She then went on to tell me that Debbie left some money available so that my students could get some books. Neither myself nor the boys saw that coming and all of a sudden they were looking for a book to take home rather than to just sit and look at.

After a great afternoon in town we headed back to Kayamandi. They wanted to go swimming but it was still cold and cloudy outside. Instead we spent the afternoon hanging out and were soon joined by Mawande and others. At one point we had an epic wrestling match, which was much harder than any previous wrestling matches I’ve ever had with kids. These kids know how to fight! They also work together really well which made my job that much harder.

Later on after they all left I was clearing space on my computer to make room for the videos they took. Most of these videos are of the ground or the inside of a pocket but I’ll go through that stuff later on. I did a search on my computer for files larger than 10,000Kb and found that I had 3 movies on my computer! I had Role Models, Slum Dog Millionaire, and Pineapple Express!!! This was awesome because my nights have been a bit boring and those are 3 really great movies. So, my Tuesday night ended with Pineapple Express 🙂

Wednesday

It rained all Wednesday morning which meant I spent the morning by myself. I took the time to do some much needed packing. Once the rain slowed down Rethabile and Simankele came over. It was again too cold and wet to go swimming at the pool so we hung back at my place and they watched some Dragon Ball Z while I continued to pack. They were both leaving the following day for the Eastern Cape so as the day drew closer to an end we said our goodbyes. As promised I gave Rethabile monopoly and I walked them out to the gate for the final time. Or at least what I thought would be the final time.

Around 4 I headed into town for one last Frisbee practice. Because the university was already closed it ended up just being myself and Hendri that showed up to practice. Neither of us were that surprised and were really just looking to throw around anyway. We ended up playing Frisbee golf all evening and I was more than happy with the way things worked out, especially because we had already had our farewell Frisbee night prior to my overland trip.

That night I had my last supper with Papa Zulu and it was great as always. After helping clean everything up I went back to my place to continue packing. I was a bit worried at this point that Thursday was going to come and go and I wouldn’t get to say goodbye to the rest of the kids that were still around.

As I was packing and getting everything ready for the following day Yandisa showed up at my door. I hadn’t seen him in a while and it nice to not have to spend my last night of packing by myself. Before he left I told him that if he saw any of the other kids that he should remind them that I’ll be leaving the following day. He confirmed he knew what I meant and he went on this way. That night I spent a few hours looking at pictures and videos from my trip thus far. I guess you could say I was reliving everything one last time before I left.


Leave a comment

My Weekend With the Kids

Reading that title makes me feel like a single father who has custody of the children on the weekends. Wanna know what makes me feel even more like a single father who has custody of the children over the weekends… Just about every weekend I’ve spent with these kids haha. But to be more realistic, this expands far beyond the weekends. Of course I do so willingly and will miss it more than anything once I leave. I haven’t even left yet and I’m beginning to miss it.

These last few posts are proving harder and harder to write and I think it’s because they’re like the final chapter of your favorite book series. By finishing those last few pages you’re ending more than just a good book, your ending this ‘world’ you once lived in. Because of the fact that school has ended and many of the children are leaving the area throughout the coming days it’s made the farewell a bit easier. It’s more of a bittersweet feeling really. I’d like them all to be here for my remaining days, and for everyone to be able to see me off, but when it actually comes to that time I think it’ll be easier with less people.

Saturday was a special day because it was Mama Zulu’s birthday! I asked her if she wanted to go out for lunch but she told me she would be very busy preparing for the evenings supper. So the day consisted of swimming all morning and video chatting throughout the afternoon.

We headed to the pool much earlier than ever before. I think I was about 9am when they came to fetch me for the pool. There was maybe 10 of us in total that were heading down but the lifeguard let us all in for free. I’m not sure if it was because we were super early and it was a slightly chilly day or if he was just being nice since he’s seen me around a lot. Cold water or not, we still managed to have a great day at the pool, and a few interesting videos as a result of it.

Back at my place we were preparing for a video chat with Lindsay and Blaire. These two may be the only two people I know that are more animated than the Dragon Ball Z series itself! They kept us entertained for a good long while and got to meet many of my students. We had a brilliant time chatting away 🙂

As kids started to head out we started playing some soccer out in the small place in front of my shack. They were having competitions to see who could juggle the ball 50 the fastest. Some of them are really great at this and could get over 50 in one go! Most of them only use their dominant foot though and just hop around on their other foot while they kick it around. Still impressive though.

Before long it was time for dinner and the only remaining kids left were Mawande, his brother Onge, and his friend Khanysa. They hung back to play soccer while I went to go eat. Today’s dinner was by far the fanciest one I’ve had while here in Kayamandi. It was also the first time that the rest of the family joined us for diner rather then it just being myself and Papa Zulu. It was a big cookout and we had chicken, pork, and sausages as well as salad, rice, and potatoes. It was really nice being able to have a meal with everyone and celebrate Mama Zulu’s birthday. We sang the traditional birthday song that we all know and after dinner they brought out a big cake. At this point it was getting a bit late and I didn’t want those boys to have to wait for me for too long. I went out to say hello and let them know that I’d be back in just a bit. Since it was starting to get dark they decided they better get going but they wanted to say happy birthday to Mama Zulu first. Boy was that the right decision! Mama Zulu was so happy these three came to say happy birthday to her that she invited them in and gave them each some cake and drink. They actually ended up eating outside just because they seemed more comfortable with that but regardless they were very happy. You should have seen how fast they ate that cake, it was an unhealthy speed. After everything the boys headed home and we all went to sleep a little happier.

Sunday

On Sunday Mawande came over in the morning as I told him to because I was looking to go check out the cinema in Stellenbosch and didn’t really feel like going to the movies on my own. I told him he was allowed to bring his brother and friend if he wanted and it wasn’t until he showed up by himself that I realized it would just be us. Sundays are very dead because mostly everything is closed. Luckily the theater was one of the few things that were still open and we got in to the showing of, Puss in Boots. It was Mawande’s first time being to a cinema and he was pretty amazed by the size of the screen. Of course we had to get the full theater experience so we got popcorn, soda, and candy to go along with the film. I love the fact that here in Africa I can by two movie tickets, popcorn, soda, and candy for the same price as one ticket back home. I’m certainly going to miss prices like that. The movie also came with a small mask that looked like the cat from the movie so naturally Mawande wore that around for the rest of the day.

Back in Kayamandi Mawande headed back to his place to help his mother with some things while I went back to my place. When I got home there were a few kids waiting for me and most of the afternoon was spent playing soccer, and monitoring all my gadgets as they were in use. Good news about having a broken camera is that it’s unlikely that it will become more broken…