This last weekend I went camping with 70 kids ranging from the ages of 5 to 18. Crazy right? When I went into the weekend I had no idea what to expect because Brigid, Annie (the other Ubuntu intern), and I thought that we were just going camping with the kids from Ubuntu for the weekend. So of course we were shocked when we showed up to the backpackers an hour outside of Cape Town and were greeted by 70 children running around! It turns out that this camp was run by an organization called Reach for a Dream, the South African version of Make a Wish Foundation, and they run this camp for disadvantaged children from all over Cape Town. There were orphans, cancer survivors, disabled children, and HIV positive kids at the camp; so needless to say, it was an extremely fun and thought provoking weekend.
The camp was run really well with lots of activities planned for the kids, tons of prizes that they gave away, and great meals provided for all. Brigid, Annie, and I spent most of our time watching all of the kids when the other counselors would peace out, and so by the end of the weekend we were quite exhausted. But really, it was such a fulfilling weekend because not only did we get to connect a lot more with our kids from Ubuntu, but also we really connected with a lot of kids from the camp and spent most of the weekend with a small child holding our hand or sitting in our lap.
What really astounded me about the weekend was how positive all of these children are all of the time. The first morning we were woken up at 6 am and I unknowingly rolled over and complained about the early wake up. I came to find out later that this is when the children take their ARV’s (anti-retroviral), and I heard no ounce of complaint about this inconvenience. They have all gone through so much in their lives and probably understand more about suffering than I do as someone twice their age. But still, they constantly have a smile on their face and are laughing about something like any “normal” kid. It really made me appreciate the lessons that they are teaching me and I am so grateful to be learning so much from such youngsters. I also became significantly more attached to the kids at Ubuntu. I know that after this weekend it is going to be so much harder to say goodbye, but I also know that I have made a connection with the kids that I could never replace.
And now onto another fun filled week… Sam’s mom is coming into town on Wednesday and my dad and Peggy are coming on Sunday! More updates to come soon! Love you all!