Friday, February 17, 2012

South Africa 2012 - Day Eight

Day 8 - Hope and Horses

Today was one of those different days for a typical vacation. At 8 a.m. we set off as a family (minus (Barbara and Savannah who needed extra rest - not sure why, not as though we have been active or anything) headed for the School of Hope. Several years ago the school was set up to help provide education and a nurturing environment for older kids ages 15 -21 who had been forgotten by society and were too old to be placed in a school. When we arrived we were welcomed by the cheers of about 50 kids and pretty much immediately took over the school for the morning.

The first part of the morning was a test to see whether they could first select the four sons of Pop Pop and then decide who was

the oldest (which was unanimously decided to be Mark much to his bewilderment). After this we were put into our family groups. The one exception being Matt who they decided must have been our Tour Guide.

We had planned several break out groups to either put together a play, create a mural, put together a song or two or play football (soccer for the Americans who may be reading). At the beginning and at the end we came back together as a large group and I did some of my usual stupid stuff like getting free from thumb cuffs, card tricks and fire eating. I think by the end we had realized how real, how talented, how respectful (except for the odd wolf whistle for Sam until they found out Matt was her boyfriend) and how much these kids deserve a chance at the Hope and their future.

After the morning at the School of Hope we headed back to the hotel except for Hunter, Rory and I who decided that McDonald’s was a great option for lunch. Because of the driving on the left side of the road the drive through runs the opposite direction to those in America. This was definitely freaky because when you turned the corner around the building you felt as though a car would be headed straight for you. I think this was one of the most efficient McDonalds I have ever been too. You placed your order, drove to the first window where you paid and then as soon as you had paid a hand appeared at the next window with a bag with your meal in. American McDonalds could learn a thing or two from this restaurant.

After a short rest Cleo, Savannah, Barbara and Emily headed off to Nordhoek to go horse riding down the beach. The two guides best matched the horses to the riders based on their experience. Barbara happened to get the one horse who could not be

mounted using a mounting block and so she had to mount from the ground. Somehow between the laughter I managed to get a few photos. At one point we thought she was going to fall straight off the other side, end up the wrong way around or just lie flat across the horse’s back. The last of these being the first choice but eventually Barbara did get up right. As they set off Julian, Alex, Hannah and myself who had gone to watch drove over to the beach and walked down towards where they would all come along the beach. After enjoying a nice walk over the bright white sands of the beach with o-one else around and the waves crashing in, we finally saw the group riding up the beach with the more experienced riders cantering in front. As I next looked I could see Barbara standing by her horse. I was praying she had not fallen off and when we got closer you could see the problem. Both her stirrups had broken which meant she had no control over the horse.

After a short video shoot they headed back to the stables and we headed to a beach bar called the Red Herring. I am so glad we found this small little restaurant / bar because the food was good a cheap and the views were incredible. This was definitely a place we wanted to come back to.

Tonight was Home-made dinner at the Lodge and then we all sat down to watch the videos from our sky diving. It was the first time I had seen any of these and it truly did back some great memories and also a few laughs.

For those that get out CHristmas letter will recognize this part. Every so often Barbara comes up with a new word and today was the first time in South Africa. Apparently the fact that the mountains will one day be flattened by God is “monumous” which I think is a shortened version of monumentus

Tomorrow some of us head back up north to go Sand boarding. Not sure what that all entails just yet but the youngsters are dying to go.

Jeremiah 29:11 - “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

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