The weather report predicted a 60% chance of rain. A spectacular sunrise was therefore not expected but the mist we encountered driving to Hartebeespoortdam made me extremely nervous.
Luckily Nicolene was driving and it only took two calls to find Rob’s place. (That was now besides the 10 calls I made to him the previous day) Thanks to Rob it was a breeze finding Abraham Kriel home in Johannesburg. There was exactly 2 seconds of silence after stopping the bus in front of Huis Piek and Huis De Beer before we were surrounded by loads of kids and a smiling Tilly informing us that we’ve won the jackpot! Instead of taking 7 kids we are now taking 19!
My reaction? I immediately needed some water and by the time I got back all the kids were already inside the bus chatting. Rob started the bus, Nicolene handed out bird books and I organised extra sweets for the additional 8 kids. Driving to Windy Brow the kids were kept occupied by Tilly’s son Ricky and his cousin Donnovan.
In front Nicolene and I were discussing possible improvements. Over catering was the first on our list. After filling the water bottles we started our hike. We saw some giraffes, zebras and warthogs. Some of the kids needed to be carried part of the way and some of them just wanted a free ride on our backs but Nicolene put a stop to that immediately. Once at the watering hole they were all fascinated by the tadpoles and apparently some of the tadpoles decided to emigrate to Huis Piek.
After the morning hike some of the kids played volleyball, some of them did the braai thingy while the others braved the cold swimming pool water. A lot of attention was also given to trying to get hold of one of the binoculars available – and to hold onto it for more than two minutes. Unfortunately there were only 2 binoculars that had to be shared between 24 people so except for the lesser spotter yellow weaver, no other bird was identified. Once the tummies were filled with boerewors rolls, the group split into three groups:
Some: Drove to the day camp with all the future bus drivers Hiked to the day camp for a rest Decided they just have to go for a longer hike before getting the rest of the group at the day camp
Once back from the hike it took a while to get everyone in the bus but pretty soon we were on our way to Johannesburg. This time the only people responsible for noise pollution were me, Rob and Nicolene - planning our next outing. The rest of the group were fast asleep in the back.
The Sunrise on Africa “Team” We dropped the kids off at 6 o’clock and after loads of hugs and a promise to take them to the mountains soon, we returned home. Dead tired but satisfied. Although there was no sunrise on an African peak this time, a Magaliesberg sunrise is being organised for the kids.
And a special thanks to the following people:
Jacana and Windy Brow for your generosity. You have opened a new world to the kids.
Rob: You were sent straight from heaven. Thanks for your bus, your great sense of humour and your patients. You have made it all possible.
Andre: Thanks for setting your plans aside to come and help at a moment’s notice. You were great with the kids.
Nicolene: You have a special way with the kids.
Ricky and Donnovan: You are doing a fantastic job with the kids
Ingrid: For the cute sweet packets you made for the kids. They loved it.
Dave: Once again for the camera.