“Children are our Greatest Treasure”

“Children are our greatest treasure, they are our future.” -Nelson Mandela

Hello all – it’s Alaina, Alyssa, and Marlon!

We started the day waking up bright and early. We left the hotel at 8:15AM to head to Kuyasa for a service day. Our program facilitator – Thulani works with the African Impact organization which aims to help children in difficult living situations. We made a quick pit stop on the side of the road to participate in the South African tradition of eating smiley, which is fire roasted goat’s head. (Almost all of our travelers partook in the tradition – vegetarians not included) After being briefed by Thulani on what was to come,  we arrived to Kuyasa, our first service location, it was an early childhood development school. Our team was divided into two groups – one worked hands on with toddlers teaching them colors, numbers, and building legos while the other half of the group worked with young children on other skills like puzzles, mathematics, and spelling. While everyone had a very impactful experience working with the children, Marlon expressed this part of the day best.

“There was this little girl who was 9 months old. Everyone was trying to console her and stop her from crying but no one could get her to stop. Bryn was rocking her and she asked me to come around and hold her. I gladly accepted the invitation. I came and held her. Professor Griffith started staring at me because this child was crying her eyes out not too long before I picked her up. She felt comfortable in my arms and likewise I felt comfortable holding her. The worst part was having to leave. the second I put her down she went back to crying and we had to go.”

After a delicious lunch at Khayelitsha Look Out Hill, we got back in the van and headed off to our second destination for the day – Grandmother’s Against Poverty and Aids or GAPA. The organization was formed by a group of grandmothers who, after losing their children to HIV/AIDS wanted to create a support system for themselves and their grandchildren as well as other youth who had been impacted by AIDS. While it started as a small organization it has grown into a strong and vibrant after school program for youth in the community of Kuyasa. The grandmothers make and sell crafts to help support the program so don’t be surprised if you receive a special handmade gift from one of us upon returning home, our shopping spree was for a good cause!

IMG_7449We played many games throughout the afternoon with the students at GAPA, including net ball with kids and other volunteers from the Netherlands. We also helped build block structures with them and had time for arts and crafts. We were very grateful that the sun started shinning bright in the afternoon as it allowed us to play outside with the students at GAPA. Here is a bit on Alyssa’s experience –

“So today I got a FULL workout in! Jason, Nathan, Marlon, Ty and I played competitive games of sharks and minnows and netball with the children. Let me tell you, we did not go lightly. Ty crashed into the garbage cans and ran into bushes in order to get the win. Aside from all the laughs and games it was a huge learning experience. Being able to connect and come together with children simply by playing games is truly eye-opening. When we played all those games, we forgot the language barrier and our different circumstances. Sports can be a really powerful way of bringing people together.”

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After our day of service we came back and discussed our day. Then headed down to the waterfront for dinner and some shopping. Jontai finally got to buy his South African sneakers and a everyone had a wonderful meal at Quay Four. We sang along to the local band that was playing 80’s hits all night long!

After a long day we were all very grateful to be back in bed to get a good night’s sleep before tomorrows adventures! Stay tuned!

 

Thanks for following!

Side note to Alaina’s mum… its a few days late but everyone here down in South Africa wishes you a wonderful Birthday! I wish I could have celebrated it with you but I’ll be home soon enough. I’m still on the hunt for some good buttons to bring home! Love and miss you!

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