Today we were scheduled to start later than in the past week. However we are now acclimatized to our early schedule. Rather than sleeping in until seven most tents were up at around six thirty. After some early morning showers we had breakfast and then left for the worksite. Today was a big day, instead of working we had a ceremony to hand the project over from the Castlegar, Bedfordview and Louis Trichardt Rotary Clubs to the Tonda Lushaka Community. Arriving at the worksite at 9 am, we helped set-up a tent as well as putting the portable toilets on the brick pedestal we laid. While doing this, buses of students from different community schools started arriving. Completely unplanned, the “Waka Waka” by Shakira started vibrating through the ‘Party Bus’. All the Interactors and some of the teachers & students started to dance and sing. Not long after, the women from the center called the female Interactors to one of the new containers so we could put on beautiful and colourful traditional Venda costumes. A few of the Interactors and Denise participated in a procession dance to start the Ceremony.
The Ceremony started and there must have been more than 350 people. Nearly all of the 183 children supported by Tonda Lushaka were pulled out of school to attend. We listened to 10-15 politicians, Community leaders, Rotarians, Interactors (Heather and Blake) and students give speeches about the project and its impact on the community. The ceremony also included beautiful singing and tribal chanting. Once the Ceremony had finished the Interactors and the Rotarians went their separate ways, the Interactors heading to town to go shopping, and the Rotarians went to a Rotary Meeting and a luncheon hosted by the local Rotary club. On the way to get dropped off to start our mini shopping day “Lovely”, one of our taxi drivers, got pulled over for taking on his cell phone. After some cash traded hands with the police we were again on our way. When we arrived at the beginning of the main shopping street we split in three different groups. We shopped for about an hour and a half then met up with Geoff, Denise, Mikey and Alex who had returned from the Rotary meeting.
It is only a short drive back to the Cloud’s End Inn on the outskirts of Louis Trichardt. Because of the last two nights of rain our tents are a mess and clothes all damp and muddy. Therefore we did laundry and cleaned up the tents.
Tomorrow we have our last day of work before Kruger Park. It’s going to be sad saying goodbye to all the kids at the center (as well as everyone else that we have met here), but the gratitude and friendship that we feel from them softens the blow a bit. Hope everyone in Castlegar is enjoying the last days of summer and everyone’s getting excited for school.
Ps. sending lots of love to our families!
Pps. We hope Travis, Sophie, Breanna and Cole are getting excited for their first year of HIGHSCHOOL!!