August 27th, 2011
It’s Day 9 here in South Africa, and we had such a treat today. Our itinerary was to try and finish the major parts of our work project. Today, we had some help. Three girls from the Louis Trichardt Interact group came, giving up their Saturday to help us. The girls were Nicole, Ella May and Muno. We headed to the worksite where there were two things to do. We had to paint the containers that would be used as a library and an office, and also pour concrete. The concrete went around the 4 water taps to hold them vertical. We also laid a pad of concrete and all the Interactors and helpers put their hand prints in it. Lorraine wrote “Castlegar Interact” above it and “Castlegar Canada 2011” below it. Now it will always be there for everyone to see that we have officially left our mark to remind them of our work. Mixing the concrete wasn’t like Canada’s cement trucks, we had to mix it all with shovels- it was definitely difficult, but we had the muscles of the group working together! (Thanks Alexandra, Jack, Derek, Padn, Heather, Geoff, And the water girl Ashley!) We worked very hard to get the containers painted. We painted half with the South African flag colors and half with the Canadian flag colors.
In the morning, we were a bit upset at the thought of not being able to be with the kids from the center. But while we were working and painting, some of the local children came to the site and soon multiplied to about 30 children between the ages of 2-10 years old. They were all there the whole day while we worked. We played lots of games with them, like ‘Ring around the Rosy’, ‘Simon Says’, and the Chicken Dance. Ashley and Jack had speakers, so we had music playing and we had everyone dancing together and it was lots of fun! Most of the Interactors had a special relationship with at least one of the kids, and spent most of their day with them. Ashley’s new friend wouldn’t let her put her down, Emma’s fell asleep on her, Travis was teaching his friend to count in English, Jack was teaching a few kids the names of body parts, and Nadya’s little friend peed on her!
Other than Nadya’s incident having the kids there was a real honor and everyone had tons of fun! Everyone has been so blown away, and it has been a true eye opener being around the local kids and the kids at the centre. Even though some of the kids are shoeless, or their clothes have holes in them, or they can’t even afford running water, let alone toys to play with; they are always smiling, happy and having so much fun. Near the end of the day, we finished painting the first container, so we had all the local kids line up, and in between the two flags and above the rising sun on the one container we painted the children’s hands and all of them put a hand print on the container to finish it off. The kids were all so excited and it was a very fun experience for everyone! We got the first container done today, poured the last of the cement for the water taps and the concrete pad for the bathrooms and got half of the second container painted. It was hard to leave the local children, especially for those who were quite attached to a certain child. We had a few tears from a few girls when it was time to leave, but by the time we left all everyone was happy!
We got back to the camp ground at 2ish, which is the earliest we have gotten back the whole time, some played tennis, some explored the property and the area around the hotel, and some just stayed in the common room relaxing playing cards and listening to music.
Tomorrow we all get to sleep in until 7:15.. WOOOO!!!! J
Still everyone is missing their families, but no one’s been home sick! Right on!