I’ve been telling the kids all week to swing by right after school on Friday and I would take them out for the day. Friday would be my last full day in South Africa before I left in the late afternoon on Saturday. The weather has been great everyday up until today; it was raining off and on, and a little nippy outside. That however didn’t stop us from having a pretty enjoyable day! Twelve kids came over, all of them except for Lupho and Khanyisa. Those are the only two kids I haven’t seen since Chris left last week. I was fully prepared to handle them on my own but now that everything is already said and done, I’m so glad Hanneke and Mieke came along! The older, Reaching Out 2 The World Kids came over first right after school. They are all in high school so they get dismissed earlier than the new regular batch of kids who all attend Ikaya Primary still. The older crew was adamant that we should leave to Stellenbosch now before the new crew got here. Now, now guys. Let’s be nice! I did tell the younger crew to be at my house by 1:30 because that’s when I planned on leaving. It was now 1:30 and the older kids and I walked down the street. Mieke and Hanneke stayed behind and would take a minibus to meet us because Hanneke still had a foot injury and couldn’t walk well enough. As my boys and I turned the corner, we saw the whole group of the other kids running towards us! There were now twelve of us, which was plenty! I’ve been around both groups of boys at the same time, many times before but never have I took all of them out on my own before.
My plan was to treat all of the kids to a special fun day out, starting with the cinema. The only movie suitable and available was an animated movie about a zebra with only half its stripes called “Khumba”. It didn’t start until 4:45 so we had plenty of time to do whatever else. I bought all of their tickets in advance and headed to McDonald’s soon after. Next on the agenda was to buy them all ice cream and each their own fries. Weird combination I know, but it did the trick! Ski and RiRi, however did not want ice cream. They instead wanted a chocolate muffin from the McCafe. Okay, no problem. I got everyone what they wanted as Mieke and Hanneke kept them occupied in the upstairs lobby. I ordered myself a burger and fries because I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, and ate my meal with the rest of the kids upstairs.
We still had plenty of time left and even though it was wet and rainy outside, I still wanted to seize the day and go to the park and throw some balls around. Chris left with his frisbee and I have no idea where the soccer ball went. He also had my rugby ball so I had to buy a new ball to keep us occupied. It was like a small football except it had a tail on it which let it fly in the air much farther. The kids really enjoyed it! So did I. We were having so much fun that I accidentally knocked Wande right in the forehead leaving a huge bump right on his noggin’! He was a good sport about it though. Actually I may have gotten a little too rough with these guys! At one point, I knocked Aphiwe down to get a loose ball and at another point Simphiwe’s stomach landed right into my knee when we jumped at me. My bad guys!
Later on, some of the kids tried to wrestle me and take me down!!
Then we attempted to build a human pyramid which was much harder to pull off than I imagined. Just like the impossible task of getting all the kids to synchronize their jumps for a jumping photo, I can add getting all the kids to build a proper human pyramid to that list too! For whatever reason, some of the kids were afraid to climb on each others backs. “Dan, lift me up!” “No, you have to climb up, you goofball!”
It started to rain more and thus we decided to go to the movie theater. The ticket guy let us in early and we had he whole theater to ourselves, thankfully because the kids were pretty rambunctious! It was still about 20 minutes until the movie started, so some of them decided to go on the stage floor and start wrestling. Normally I would have advised against it, especially if there were other people in the theater, but it was pretty cool how they did it. They used the steps of the theater as their grand entrance to the ring (the theater stage) with each kid making the music to their theme song. One of the kids was the Undertaker and made the “DUNNNNN” sound as he went down the steps. Another kid pretended to be John Cena and rapped the entrance to his theme. I used to be a big fan of the WWE so I was quite impressed with it. I even became the referee for a few bouts before I realized how loud we were and had to tell everyone we had to relax now. Soon, the theater lights dimmed and we sat in two rows. There were twelve kids so I told them to divvy up into groups of three and I’d buy each group a big bucket of popcorn to share. I brought it out to them and they all finished the popcorn before the previews were over! I should have known better. These kids can eat!
The movie we watched was…meh. The kids seemed to enjoy it but I wanted to fall asleep. It was about a zebra born without half of his stripes and so he became an outcast. The zebra decided to leave his group and find his stripes in a magical pond, making new friends along the way. At the end, the zebra battled against an evil leopard. Spoiler alert: The zebra won. That would never happen in real life. Evil leopards always have the advantage, everyone knows that. Anyways, the kids seemed to enjoy it and that’s all that mattered.
Once we left the theater, I had one more agenda to take care of. One of the perks for some of the contributors to Reaching Out 2 The World is a personal Thank You video. We recorded some before but we needed more footage. I originally planned to record in the park after the movie but it was pouring cats and dogs outside. As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen it rain harder in South Africa. I grabbed some of the boys and recorded them in the lobby of the mall. The kids just came out of a fun movie so they were in a great mood to record a video!
We ran through Stellenbosch to the minibus rank and I loaded everyone into a minibus and back to Kayamandi. Along the way, some of the kids would get out at certain stops to their respective homes. I told them all to make sure they stop by tomorrow morning so we could say goodbye one last time. It was stormin’ out, so I didn’t blame the boys for needing to go home immediately. They all left, except for Mawande who came the whole wet way back to Mama Zulu’s. We still had paint left over from weeks ago, so he decorated a white t-shirt we had lying around for later. I also gave Mawande the last remaining balls I had to take home with him.
It was a pretty solid day and I’m glad all of the kids had a great time. I especially want to thank Mieke and Hanneke for coming along to help me handle these boys. I don’t think I would have been able to handle all 12 of them by myself! And also, thank you Mieke for offering to be the photographer for the day! It was a nice change of pace.
Eric, Hanneke, Mieke, and myself ended the night by watching as many episodes of The Big Bang Theory as we could in my room before Eric and Hanneke decided to fall asleep on my two beds. Tomorrow would be my last few hours, before I had to say goodbye to everyone. Two more posts…