Before last week came to a close, a group of us went over to the township of Khayelitcha to finish a vegetable shed we began several weeks ago. We put on the finishing touches, leveled out the shelves, added a sliding door with a lock, and shook hands upon its completion. Several kind women of the township prepared a hot lunch of beans and cabbage while we worked, which we ate on the dirt floor of the schoolhouse after we finished. Before heading back to the office, we joined in a quick soccer game with some of the kids at the school. I didn’t have much to say for myself, as every kid there was better than me, but it was good to be “less than” in this situation, so I was oddly thankful for my inability.
On Friday we came together to celebrate the holiday weekend with a classic South African Braii. A Braii is just the local code for “having a barbeque.” We all left work at noon, and caught the train to the township of Capricorn. Shuan, our Social Justice Coordinator, has called this place home for 26 years, and first gave us the grand tour. A large crowd of kids followed us everywhere we went. As we walked the streets, I didn’t have much to say. I just sort of took it all in. The majority of the kids in this particular township never spend a single day in a school classroom, and spend there days roaming and playing. Their lives are magnificently uncomplicated until they reach the age of about 10, and that’s when the time comes when many of them choose inclusion over freedom. So many of these still young children fall victim to gang activity, and usher in the end of their childhood years before they ever even hit puberty. As we walked the street, even though I know the likely bleak future for so many of them, it was beautiful to see the children run around and laugh— happily unaware of the rest of the world.
On Sunday, we took the train to the Earthwave Beach Festival in Muizenberg— one of Cape Town’s most popular surfing spots. The Earthwave gathering was put together in hopes of breaking two world records: the most people surfing the same wave at once, and the world’s largest bikini parade. Neither record ended up being broken, as Cape Town’s unpredictable weather decided to put up a fight, but either way the Earthwave Festival was still the place to be. We barbequed on the back porch of the Projects-Abroad Surf House, and eventually beat the rain. The sun finally came out, and shined a light on a great Sunday afternoon.