Life here is becoming a lot easier. Although just as you start to settle here something else happens that throws you back in the deep end. Whether that be a new job role, new volunteers arriving, old volunteers leaving, new children arriving, school leavers leaving the grounds to start their new lives, children coming and going for holidays or the big swap around of rooms that is coming up this month.
December was a hectic crazy month. Looking back I feel like I was working almost all the time. Other than working the usual shifts there was so much extra work to give the children an amazing holiday. First was the Christmas party. This was on the 2nd of December. It was held early as a lot of the children go home for the holidays so we had an early christmas all together. One of the child care workers dressed up as Santa and handed presents to all the children. There was over 500 presents put under the Christmas tree and there was even more dropped off throughout the month. We must have been moving boxes of presents to the hall for atleast 2 hours. We had a dinner with all 155 children and the child care workers in the hall. At times it was chaos but it was a lovely meal.
I went to 4 Christmas Concerts in total which were all brilliant. The best thing was seeing their cute faces when they spot you in the crowd. I missed out on one concert because I was too sick to go and I was so so gutted. Although the girls showed me their dances before they went and let me film them. So really I got my own private concert from them.
I spent a huge chunk of my time this month making bracelets for the children with their names on. I managed to get over 40 done before Christmas and I still have so many more to make.
One week before Christmas it was announced that the outside company organising Christmas for the children had cancelled. The volunteer department held a meeting and we came to the agreement to work on Christmas and try to give the kids the best Christmas we could. There was a lot of extra work for this. Although a lot didn’t go to plan the children still had a great day. We spent a whole day organising that each child got 2 presents each aswell as a box filled with crisps and sweets. On Christmas Eve me and a few other volunteers went to each house putting the presents out ready for the morning. On Christmas morning I went to the infants at 7 and watched them open their presents. Their little faces were filled with so much happiness.
They then went to church while we stayed behind setting up for the day. Once they were all back we played some games with them. One was very rough and you had to tackle each other to the ground. It was really so good to see all the kids of different ages all involved in a game together. I was thrown to the ground by a herd of preteen boys. But I made a lucky escape just after.
For lunch we had ham, salad, potato salad and believe it or not cow tongue. It was a very weird feeling eating it. I was sitting by 2 of the child care workers, one of whom said she loved cow tongue and was watching closely to see my reaction. On the inside I was screaming ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’s but on the outside I swallowed it and wincingly smiled and said it was strange but nice. Luckily one of the kids sneakily helped me finish. After the lunch I sat for hours painting as many faces as I could with their choice of character/animal. They all loved the temporary tattoos also. Days later some still had it on saying they’d washed around it trying to keep it as long as possible.
In the evening we had hung a curtain outside by the braii area and used the projector to create and open air cinema. We watched Happy Feet all wrapped up in blankets until it was too cold to bear any longer.
Each day has a different activity for the children as it’s the school holidays. Most days it is swimming in the pool which is always fun. Other activities are have dance/lip sync battles. Recently we went to the beach with all the children. Even the naughtiest of children were on such good behaviour as it was such a treat. Just before it was time to leave a huge wave came in to shore. We must have been 15 meters from the tide yet this wave managed to come swooping in, soaking my towel, shorts and almost swallowed up my bag. At this very moment I was facing away from the sea taking a photo. My natural instinct was to grab my bag and get up as my camera and speaker was in my bag, by doing this I dropped my phone into the puddle of sea water in my lap. Luckily everything survived.
I had a few days off inbetween Christmas and New year’s and I went to spend time with the other Project Trust volunteers who were visiting Cape Town. It felt so good to have a little break from the children’s home but I noticed I spoke about my kids so much I probably bored them all to death. I hadnt seen most since orientation back in September and the others since Training in July. It was crazy how much some had changed. A lot of baby faces had turned into fully matured ones in just the 4 months we’ve been abroad. I wonder how different I look to them and how different I’ll look to my family when I come home in August.
On one of the days we room a boat trip a long the coast starting at the V&A Waterfront.
The highlight of seeing the PT vols was going up to Table Mountain. The view was insane and we had such a laugh taking ‘candid’ shots.
I have finished work today and now ready for my scheduled leave of one week. Hopefully some great adventures will be had and if not atleast I’ll have had some much need relaxation.