I have just come back from a visit to Burgersdorp (approximately 30kms from Tzaneen) where I met over 100 children from 1st, 2nd & 3rd Burgersdorp Scout Troop and Cub Packs. These kids have come from all over this village at my request so that I could introduce a prospective donor to the life skills program. The kids are always eager and keen to meet together and show off what they are doing. Their passion for this program keeps me going when the day to day struggles with beaurocracy threaten to push me under.
These kids are aged between 4 and 19yrs, are all playing happily together and working together as small teams ensuring everyone is having a good time. I found out 2 weeks ago that these kids decided they wanted to help the orphans and vulnerable children in their community (50% of the kids that attend the life skills program are orphaned and vulnerable) so they have been saving their pennies and pooled their money to buy spinach seeds.
They then went to the local primary school and asked permission to use the grounds for food gardens to plant the spinach to give to those less fortunate than themselves. They spent last Saturday, a horribly humid day, in the sun, digging a large communal garden, clearing the weeds, planting their spinach and watering their prospective crops!!! Wow!
These kids thought of this project without any in put from the adults, they just wanted to do it. They wanted to make a difference. In their village, in their community where every day there are battles to be fought and lost with crime, poverty, selfishness, greed and indifference, these kids are making a stand.
Communities in rural Limpopo are very different to what I am used to. We have parents that will not send their kids to scouts because they are under the mistaken idea that the Scout Leaders receive money for working with their kids. The leaders don't, but even if they did it would be worth it because the quality of this program makes such radical changes in the lives of these kids. Rather than find out the truth about whether people are paid or not, rather than let some one else get ahead these short sighted parents would rather not let their kids participate. This short sightedness drives me crazy at times BUT then I look again where the kids are changing and making a difference and my heart just swells with pride.