Today was physically exhausting. Most of today was spent working at the Philippi children’s center working on a building a new school and playground for the children of the local township. The project was coordinated through SASDI and again led by Stuart Hendry. Our group was split into four subgroups, with each subgroup focusing on a different task for the day.
I spent several hours helping with the concrete team. Due to the poor conditions of the road, the cement truck could not make it all the way back to the site where we were filling the floors. As a result, we had to transport the concrete from the truck to the building site with wheelbarrows. Talk about hard work! In just over two hours, we transported and filled-in two full cement trucks worth of concrete. That equates to 12 metric tons of concrete!
Late in the afternoon, we cleaned up the building site then got to visit and play with the kids at the existing school site. I really enjoyed this as it added an extra significance to the work we had just completed. It allowed us to see the beneficiaries of our hard work and it was a fulfilling feeling to know that my efforts helped improved the lives of these little children. Over 200 very energetic, young students attend the Philippi center. As you can imagine, we were a very big hit! I very quickly learned a valuable lesson: if you give in and pick up one child, all of the sudden you will have a very long line of children wanting to be picked up! After half an hour of being a human jungle gym, it was time to say our goodbyes.
Our dinner was graciously hosted at the home of the chairman of SASDI, which was about half an hour from our hotel. His estate was quite nice; I wish I could have seen it during the daylight hours. We began with a brief presentation and time for any lingering questions about SASDI and its future plans. The food that followed was excellent! It was all home cooked and most of it was local cuisine. I helped myself to two heaping plates featuring everything that was offered. I certainly had worked up quite an appetite during the day
Too exhausted to go out on the town (and perhaps too tired to write a good blog as well!), most of our group began the nightly search for wifi upon returning to the hotel. Helping the children of a local township today was just as eye-opening as it was fulfilling. Today was just the next part in what has become a daily series of South Africa broadening my perspective and enhancing my worldview.