In preparations for finals coming up, this weekend involved quite a bit of work as I had a few papers and projects to finish up. Luckily however, I did get in a bit of fun and adventure so it wasn’t entirely work!
On Friday night, my entire program went to a soccer game in which the Cape Town Ajax took on the Jomo Cosmos of Johannesburg. The more exciting part is that the soccer game was played at the stadium in Cape Town that was specifically built for the 2010 World Cup. It is kind of entertaining how much this city falls back on the fact that they hosted the 2010 World Cup as the amount of souvenirs and signs would suggest it’d be in a week… alright, it’s not that bad but it is still very evident here. Anyways, the stadium was incredible! The architecture itself makes the stadium very unique and the inside was stunning. A park surrounds the entire area, a necessary addition to accommodate for all of the people that were here for the World Cup. I can only imagine how crazy yet awesome the city would have been last year… what fun! The stadium is huge as it seats more than 64,000 people and is now home to a few sports teams… it is also the prime concert spot. In fact, Cold Play was here just about a week ago! The soccer, or football as they refer to it here in South Africa, was a lot of fun despite the rain! We had front-row tickets but the game was nowhere near full as the team isn’t extremely popular and doesn’t have a huge fan basis but we definitely got a taste of local fans and the sports vibe here in South Africa. The vuvuzela, which became popular during the world cup, were in attendance as well. The plastic horns were resonating sound throughout the stadium the entire game. The game ended in a 1-1 tie but overall it was a ton of fun!
On Saturday, the six of us in my IES class headed back to Egoli to help out for the day. Basically it was a fun day for the kids… and they loved it! We came equipped with toys, toys, and more toys. We spent quite a few hours playing with bubbles, putting together puzzles, singing and dancing as we brought speakers to liven the place up. We also colored, played cards, played soccer, and introduced them to jump ropes and hula hoops. I grabbed a few oranges and juggled for some of the kids, dusting off my baton-twirling skills that haven’t been put to use in a few years. But, it seemed to do the trick as the kids stood in amazement before we proceeded to have a juggling lesson together… which basically turned into trying to throw the orange up into the air and catch it… a good first step right! It was certainly a fun-filled day for the children which was the ultimate goal and thus a success. Most of the children don’t really have access to any fun games or toys and it doesn’t seem as if the parents spend a lot of time actually playing with them. They were ecstatic to have so many choices when it came to what they wanted to do for the afternoon. It is saddening to see how excited one can get over a few crayons or puzzles–and to think about how much we taken for granted these simple things in life like a jump rope or bubbles. Hair became the ultimate source of entertainment as I spent about two hours in the “beauty parlor” as they loved the soft feel of my hair. I sported a high side pony tail, pigtails, and even a few cornrows for a bit before they fell out. We even hung up photos of our time in Egoli which included interacting with the residents, playing with the children, and fixing up the community center. Some of the kids were so excited to see a picture of themselves on the wall and were quite proud as well! I was touched by how much the kids seemed to really enjoy having us there. I received lots of notes and letters expressing this… one of which included, “Susyn: I love you from the top of my hart” … well Susyn is pretty close, we’ll give them that and hart is actually Afrikaans for heart… so overall, not too bad… and extremely adorable!
We are giving simple things to the kids, some small toys and our time. But, what we are getting back from them I personally believe is a lot more. You learn to appreciate what you have home as you see children lining up for food being given out by local volunteer organizations and their appreciation for some time being spent with them. The children are wonderful and it makes me question why I was born into the life I was and why I wasn’t born in Egoli.
Well, this is our last week of class before finals start next week—crazy how fast the time has gone but I continue to love every second of it! Wishing you all the best.