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The race of all races - orienteering

By Elsje Eloff

On Sunday, 8 July, a group of 20 kids from Abraham Kriel Children’s Home, along with SOAPkidz volunteers, challenged themselves and each other in a 5km orienteering race. The race was organized by the Rand Orienteering Club, at Stirrup Glen, South of Johannesburg, and attended by members of the club as well as the SOAPkidz team and children.

The children were divided into teams of 3 to 4 per volunteer. After a brief crash course in orienteering, teams were sent on their way to find various marker positions in the veldt, using only a map, a compass, and good old common sense as guidance. Their mission was to complete the race in as fast as possible time, while finding all of the markers in the correct order and collecting as much litter as they can find along the way. As most of the volunteers, have never done orienteering before; it was truly a challenge to be enjoyed by all.

While some teams concentrated so much on the litter and got sidetracked a few times, others took time to sit and have a bite along the way, while enjoying the scenery. Some teams tried to throw the other teams off course, but then got lost them selves. One team got to the finish line early, only to discover that they have missed quite a few markers. The kids learned to work together, help and listen to each other, read maps and use a compass, while enjoying the fresh air away from the city.

After the prize giving, we had lunch and decided that we still have some energy left, and started a hike over the “koppie” back to the cars. The children also picked up 10 bags of litter in the conserved area, as part of the mission of SOAPkidz to clean up the environment.

The day ended as we exchanged hugs and waved goodbye, tired but rejuvenated for the weeks ahead.