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Soapkidz at Eersterus Orienteering

By Ian Plessis

It was a cold Sunday morning when a group of invaders suddenly out of the blue made a stop at the Eersterus Plaza.

In a haste an ‘operations centre’ was set up in the veld, complete with flags, pointers starting point and the end mark. Churchgoers at the small congregation close by looked in awe at all the mishmash of activities which in the beginning might have seemed a bit strange, people running about, erecting flags, carrying boxes, chairs, tables, bags and other things of logistical nature, for a reason totally unknown! Two locals walked by, popping a question: “Wat is hierie? Van wa is julle se mense?”

At 9h30 the bus pulled in at the shopping mall parking lot and the SOAPkidz filed out, some with cheerful smiles, laughing and shouting and others who looked like they were still halfway caught in dreamland!

Before long voices of more “authority” sounded up and oversized t-shirts were handed to the kidz and crew alike. In a flash the kidz were paired up in small groups of two’s and three’s and more helpers than kids. The orienteer head master gave a quick briefing and maps, clip cards and compasses were handed to all groups. Already the Vikings from Norway (some Norwegian visitors attended the orienteering day) had tackled the circuit, making the six million dollar man look like a novice!

One by one the small groups departed, kidz happily running off in the distance. Even a group of stray kids and a puppydog coming to have a look at the event taking place, was immediately coaxed by head organizer Noeksie to participate and all received new yellow t-shirts, except the dog! What will they tell their parents, where did those shirts come from?

At one point one of the SOAPkidz Crew went to buy a cold drink at the SA Family Supermarket store in the Eersterus plaza—upon finding out what the event was about, they sponsored a whole crate of cans of cold drinks plus chips—THANK YOU! That tasted refreshing and put a smile back on all the kids’ faces!!

As the minutes slipped by, so the groups returned, trickling in over the finish line, times eagerly recorded and watches checked. The groups brought their black refuse bags they received back, filled with anything from a banana peel to an old shoe long forgotten by its owner. All the black bags were dumped behind the judge’s desks soon looking like a young mountain! As usual the favorite snack, namely popcorn was flaunted all around tuning down the humming of voices. Soon to follow was a box full of lollipops and there kids and adults grabbed one each chasing after the sweet glucose taste.

Little Jacques (known for his short temper) guarded his refuse bag with the fury of a Doberman, not letting one person within a five-metre radius: “Myne is die volste, ek gan wen!”

Then the headmaster called for order and prizes were given to the mighty Norwegians and achievers of the other groups. Winners received certificates under loud applause of the audience. From SOAPkidz side Team 5 received a prize for picking up the most rubbish. What a successful morning!

A BIG thank you to Noeksie and the Event Organizers - ROC, SA Family Supermarket and all who participated and contributed to a day of fun and success!

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