Monday, December 04, 2006

Friday: Massive party in Masi

On Friday, I began the day at the homeless shelter/office in Muizenberg. Since I got there too late for me to lead a devotional for the handful of homeless folks gathered there, I agreed to lead it on Monday.

Took part of the morning just to get in touch with my surroundings on my own. I walked up the street, bought a snack at the grocery store (called Checkers), and generally took in the sights of Main Street, just off the beach.

After lunch Susie drove me to meet up with the Extreme Response team in the township of Masiphumelele. They had things rolling by the time I got there (seeing a pattern here?). The leader, Tom, had given us the schedule the night before, but I guess it didn’t register in my tired mind that it was different from the itinerary I had been looking at. Anyway, this was a children’s carnival, and it took place in the fenced-in elementary schoolyard. Approximately 700 kids were enjoying the activities, which included a huge inflatable slide, an inflatable jumping castle (the kids did the jumping, not the castle), facepainting, a puppet show (translated by their Children’s Club teacher Natalie via a bullhorn—magic!), and an opportunity to get a Polaroid picture made. Polaroids were the most economical way to allow them to take a picture with them. Apparently they took the song “Hey Ya” literally, because they were shaking their Polaroids (sounds like a euphemism) and sometimes ruining them. But overall they seemed ecstatic. The team and local volunteers were doing well to maintain order and keep a fun and loving atmosphere, if not a clean and tidy one. It was definitely trial by fire for much of the team, many of whom never having even been to S. Africa before.

I saw several familiar faces from the Masi Children’s Clubs from the past 2 years. My buddy Darren came by and showed me the guitar he acquired in Sept. Darren was such a big help in the clubs, and is a spiritual big brother to the kids around him. He is in need of lessons, so I’m praying God will provide someone for that, as well as to give him the mentoring that will help him continue on the path toward being a true spiritual leader in his community.

As we wrapped up, the inevitable wait for the actual departure allowed me a few minutes to sit down and play a few songs for a handful of kids just outside the gate. Carnegie Hall, Schermerhorn…you can have ‘em.

I will admit that in various degrees I was fretting (no pun intended) all this time about my lack of a phone (lesson: rent a phone at the airport on arrival), my own car, and especially the foreboding feeling of unpreparedness regarding my part of the songwriting seminar coming up the next day...the fact that all of these were based on my own decisions and/or lack of effort did not help. So I was looking forward with as much dread as anticipation, but at the same time I knew it would be better than I expected, and different. I was right on both counts.

1 comment:

Sylvia Evans said...

It is good to read that being in South Africa hasn't changed you. You are still running late.

I laughed when you mentioned you were late and things had already started without you. Thanks for the Monday morning chuckle.
Take care. I've been praying for you.
(sorry for any mispellings) :-)