08.01.2011 - 13.02.2011 35 °C
Yesterday we finished work at Ikhaya le Themba – we really can’t believe how quickly 4 weeks has gone by – and early on Sunday morning we leave Cape Town on a truck, heading for Victoria Falls….the long way!
We’re a bit behind blog-wise, so thought we’d just put on a few highlights of the past week.
We went on a tour of the township. Although we’ve been walking up the main street every day, we wanted the opportunity to go behind the scenes a little. We spent a very interesting couple of hours picking our way through the alleys and passageways that link Imizamo Yethu together. We saw terrible poverty, but were also struck by the friendliness and strong sense of community.
A windy walk along Muizenburg beach watching ‘learner’ surfers. Surfing looks very cool when you watch someone who knows what their doing. We discovered that reaching that point takes quite a lot of effort. There were boards and people flying through the air in every direction! On the hill above the beach, we saw a shark watcher. They stand at a vantage point looking for sharks, and sound a siren if they see one so that everyone gets out of the water. There had been a siting two days but nothing while we were there. Claire would have to admit to being a tiny bit disappointed!
Swimming in a local pool at Ikhaya le Themba. We quickly discovered that the kids are terrible swimmers, but have absolutely no fear of the water – a scary combination when you’re 3 adults trying to keep 10 children at a time safe in the pool. The children spent most of the time underwater, and it was difficult to tell who was having a lovely time and who was drowning! They all refused to get out at the end of the allotted time, and there was something very joyful about them continuing to throw themselves into the pool even though we’d been trying to chase them out for nearly 20 minutes, and half of them were shaking with cold!
Fire training with the children and the resurrection of Umfinya who triumphantly lead the children on a practice walk to the Evacuation Point, and demonstrated the ‘Stop, Drop, Roll’ rule of what to do if your clothes are on fire!
Our last day with the children. They sang songs for us and danced, some of the children were chosen to speak on behalf of everyone, and finally they queued up to give us hugs. It was noisy and chaotic, but really lovely to have the opportunity to say goodbye to our 70 new best friends.
We've just heard that there was a fire in the township last night, and that at least two of our kids lost their homes. One of the staff members found them in the street this morning looking for their parents. As far as we know, nobody lost their life. It feels ironic that we did fire training two days ago! It's a very real risk and problem in the townships and on the mountains.
We will be leaving in the morning and don't know how much access we'll have to the internet while we're travelling through Namibia and Botswana, so forgive us if the blog slows down a bit. We will be back in touch when we can.