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 Post subject: Re: Would you like to assist with Kids in the Parks?
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:43 am 
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Day 2 dawns with Mariska’s cellphone alarm going off at 5.45 – noooooooooooo ............ too early ................. it’s still dark outside ........ surely it won’t take that long to make oats and scrambled eggs and butter some bread and pour 60 cups of coffee ??? Everyone is very “paraat” ( a nice old “National Service, Defence Force” word for ready or prepared - also read “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed “ ) on this first morning and keen to make a good start so we stagger out of bed and get ready for the day. Henriette had warned me that Tuesdays and Thursdays were going to be hectic – and she wasn’t kidding !

At 7.30 Henriette went down to the dorms to round up the first group of kids to see what had been caught in the traps that had been set overnight ....

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The traps were basically buckets with sand in the bottom for the goggas to hide in and inside them cosy biscuit boxes with cottonwool inside for the mice to keep warm in .... the traps were checked a couple of times a day each with a different group of kids and notes were kept of how many of what creepy crawlies were found .... mostly bugs and little spiders and the odd lizard that were all released again once they had been documented ....

We did find quite a few of these scorpions over the 2 weeks – they are the nasty ones with tiny pinchers and a beeeeg tail with a beeeeg sting .....

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And this little beauty ..... a “klaasneus” ..... a WHAT I hear you say .... ? You heard me ....... a klaasneus .... otherwise known to us Rooinekke as a shrew ... it is adorable, no ? I have to say I learnt so many new fascinating Afrikaans names for things I never knew .... who lumped the poor ground squirrels with a name like a "waaierstertgrondeekhoring "???

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Kids trying not to fall in the buckets :tongue:

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Jannie being very vigilant – he did say he would not like to have to tell Henriette’s husband if anything should happen to her on his watch ...... and those of you who know Henriette's husband will know exactly what he meant :twisted:

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: Would you like to assist with Kids in the Parks?
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:55 pm 
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:thumbs_up: Thanks WKK ! I'm glad you found it and are enjoying it - I hoped you might :D Maybe you could translate the grace in the next episode for me - yo u seem to have the lingo off pat :lol:

Once the goggas had been documented and released we all headed back to the hall for breakfast where the rest of the kids were waiting (patiently ha ha ) .... the oats were ready ( two x 1kgs boxes of oats at a time!) and Mariska and I started on the scrambled eggs .... unfortunately we did such a good job of not burning them ( cough cough ..... wonder what happened in the previous years ???) that it became one of our jobs for the 2 weeks .....

Mariska stirring a pan with about 40 odd eggs in ( and she doesn’t even eat scrambled eggs)

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And the other finished product ...

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One of the (many) things I will never forget about this whole experience is the kids saying grace before each meal ... Each school seemed to have it’s own particular grace that was said and this first group – Philandersbron Grade 5’s ( with a few Grade 4’s sprinkled in to make up the numbers) was by far my favourite .... ( I have to admit that it took a few times of hearing it for me to figure it, out as it was chanted in a rather flat monotone with the delightful accent of Afrikaans children speaking English as only the Northern Cape can, and they made it sound like one looooong sentence without taking a breath but I got it eventually :tongue: )

“Some people have food but no appetite,
Some people have appetite but no food,
Thank you God for me,
I have both
Amen”

OR
"somepeeplehafffoodbutnooappatiesomepeeplehaffappetitebutnofoooodthenkyouGodformeeehaffbothamen"

Another thing that almost made me cry was the first evening when one little boy asked Henriette " if I shower tonight am I also allowed to shower tomorrow " Gee, that one nearly killed me .... what we take so for granted was a thrill for this little guy :?

Breakfast over and all the washing up done to Jannie Bok’s satisfaction and the fun began in earnest – the kids were allowed to divide themselves up into 4 groups and they had to choose themselves a name. There was the usual bickering about who was going to be the LIONS :wall: and then we got started with the fun...

One group went to Henriette and learnt about “sand, sand, grains of sand”, and one group played an amazing Monopoly-style game that Henriette had invented about the different parks in the SANParks family with questions to be answered and some heavy fines dealt out if one landed on an ! .... who knew that the fine for getting drunk in the campsite and seriously annoying your neighbours with your excessive partying and loud noise could result in you having to go back 3 squares or that bringing your parrot into the park with you ( !?) was a more minor infringement and only resulted in you having to go back one square.... the kids absolutely loved it and learnt a lot about the different SANParks in the different Regions – well done Henriette !!

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: Would you like to assist with Kids in the Parks?
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:09 pm 
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Still following your report, thanks again :gflower: Preparing 3 meals a day for 60 people is quite daunting, I can totally relate...Myself and the SO literally passed out every night!

When we finally figured out what the kids were saying with grace, we totally cracked up too! Glad to hear that it wasn't only us having trouble understanding their special brand of English.. :tongue:

At the end of our 2 weeks, I was a complete nutcase, I would burst into tears at the drop of a hat, it took me all the way from Gemsbokplein to Nossob to compose myself! And I need to warn you, it stays with you long after that. I still get a huge lump in my throat when I think about those kids and how much we have to be thankful for.

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Kgalagadi-Kids in Parks - 15-26 October 2012


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 Post subject: Re: Would you like to assist with Kids in the Parks?
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:26 pm 
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thanks bosticbudgie :D yip, can't ever remember being as shattered as I was after 2 weeks of KiP - the last night my head was literally spinning whenever I closed my eyes - and we all slept like the dead every night too :lol:

This really was a humbling experience - those kids have a special place in my heart and always will !!

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We can do no great things, only small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: Would you like to assist with Kids in the Parks?
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:17 pm 
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Rookie :thumbs_up: - thank you and glad you are enjoying the exploits of a memorable 2 weeks ! And yes, Henriette will have to ration us to one week only :D

My job was to try and interest the kids in the camelthorn tree – and very interesting it was too actually – I learnt SO much in those 4 hours .... and I hope the kids learnt a tiny bit too ! We did 2 sessions with 2 groups then had a break for juice and an energy bar ( seriously?? thanks for that :lol: :lol: ) and then we did another 2 groups before lunch ...

I’m ashamed to say that by lunch on the first Tuesday I could hardly croak ... my voice was all but gone ! As some of you know, I am a lady of leisure – swanning around at home with nothing to do all day except sit on the couch and paint my toenails and such-like exhausting tasks :twisted: ( well, thats what our SO's seem to think) .... anyway, my actual point being that I do not talk much during my days – I do chat to the dogs and the cats and my horse and the peacock and the geese ( normally to tell them to shut up) and my folks and one of my kids if they happen to be around and to myself on rare occasions, and my SO when he eventaully staggers home from work after an exhausting day at the office – but I do NOT talk for 4 hours non-stop – least of all in Afrikaans !! I’m sure Henriette wondered what she had gotten herself in to with me, but I promise I did get better and more fluent as the days went on – I even found myself talking to Jannie and Vanessa in Afrikaans on the Fridays when I got back to TR :slap:

I learnt that camelthorns can grow to 17 m in height but that their roots can get to 40m long in search of underground water, and that the social weavers nest can have up to 300 occupants and that cobra's favourite snack in the Kalahari are poor puffies and that porcupines like to ringbark camelthorns and make them die and that you can make coffee out of the roasted seeds of the camelthorn pods and that the pods contain over 30% protein making them an important food source in the winter when food is scarce ... blah blah blah ... I won’t bore you with my whole hour-long lecture but you get the point – I learnt a LOT :thumbs_up:

Here is one of our boys showing off a new use for camelthorn seed-pods ( instead of making coffee out of them of course) ... they make gorgeous ear-ornaments ...

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In the last few days before I left all the camelthorn trees around TR started to blossom ....

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We can do no great things, only small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: Would you like to assist with Kids in the Parks?
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:47 am 
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The last of the 4 groups of kids went on a Nature Detectives walk with our intrepid rangers ( either Jannie Bok or Niekus from Mata Mata who was there for my second week – also an amazingly nice guy). The kids got issued with their Kids in Parks caps at the start of their walk and got given a big koki pen and watched while they wrote their names inside them – smart move ! They were armed with some magnifying glasses for checking out the smaller things ...

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And usually with Oom Bassier wielding the first aid kit in case of emergencies and a teacher or 2 tagging along in their wake – the schools sent 2 teachers with each group – it was meant to be a male and a female teacher but we also had 2 women and a female teacher and a mom ! I must say it helped a bit with the discipline when there was a male teacher around ..... or maybe those kids were really sweet anyway ..... and just naturally well behaved .. :whistle:

The kids used to get their waterbottles to take on the walk as well until they figured out it was so much more fun emptying them over their friends heads and squirting everything that moved with them and coming back absolutely drenched than actually drinking from them – so now they are given in their “goodie bags” :evil:

There were many envious glances shot at the lucky group who went to walk and I quickly learnt to let that group disappear out of the gate and up the dune before I started on my talk otherwise all eyes were on the fortunate few who were proceeding in a ragged crocodile with huge smirks on their faces and brandishing those magnifying glasses ..... I didn’t manage to get to walk with Jannie Bok which I was really sad about but I did go on my last Thursday with Niekus which was great too and a fascinating experience ......

Learning about the different types of grasses found in the Kalahari and which are good for the animals to eat and which they don’t touch with a barge-pole.....

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Discovering why this is called a “besembossie” – literally a “broom bush”

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“Now kids, gather round, this one is called a “witgat” tree – a shepherds tree , and this poop near it is gemsbok and this very beeeeeg poop is eland “ ......

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We walked up one dune and down the other side, then up the next one and back down again ... It reminded me of “ The Grand old Duke of York, he had ten thousand men, he marched them up to the top of the hill and he marched them down again ... ‘ etc ..... my legs certainly got a good workout that morning ...

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Learning more about the camelthorn tree up close and personal – thank goodness the kids actually knew something about it when Niekus asked them :dance: Maybe they were listening after all and not just falling asleep in the warm spring sunshine as I blabbed on .....

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Eventually after an hour of traipsing up and down the dunes and learning an incredible amount about the plants and animals of the Kalahari, we crested the final dune and hurtled our way back down the dune to camp ....... and lunch !!!

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We can do no great things, only small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: Would you like to assist with Kids in the Parks?
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:32 pm 
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Oh Scouter, thank you so much for sharing everything, it brings tears to my eyes remembering everything. One thing about the preparation of the food was the 180 slices of bread we had to prepare the evening before ... That was usually at about 21h30 at night after the concert, and we tried to do it as quick as possible as we were soooo tired by that time :D Scipio also got the 5 doz eggs to boil to perfection at one go :twisted: Luckily he did the scrambling eggs part as well, as I couldnt even lift the pan (just too heavy for me :wink: )


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 Post subject: Re: Would you like to assist with Kids in the Parks?
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:30 pm 
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Petra :D glad you are enjoying re-living it too ... yes, that food prep was something else wasn't it ... especially those breads :slap: and I have photos of all those eggs boiling :) they are coming up soon ... Did you try and lift the pot with the eggs in ? I did, to pour the water off and decided never again - one of the men did it for me .... :big_eyes: I don't think I've ever seen such big pots outside of the army :lol:

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We can do no great things, only small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: Would you like to assist with Kids in the Parks?
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:15 pm 
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Thanks so much Dotty, Crested Val and mostly picnic for turning the page for me :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

After lunch ( sarmies and an apple and pink Nesquick milk) - the kids went back to their dorms to practice for their concert.....

Jannie Bok marching them back in 2 straight stripes ...

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And with strict instructions to the teachers to not let them sleep – under ANY circumstances :rtm: we could have some R and R – ha ha - not really ..... The first Tuesday we spent cleaning the hall after the carnage of lunch – we only did this with the first group, after that we got wise and handed out the brooms and the kids swept the floor while others cleaned off the tables – sarmies eaten in the heat make a LOT of crumbs :wall:

We then packed the goodie bags while the kids were out of sight – it was fun and I never got tired of doing it ....Pick n Pay is amazing and everything is sponsored by them – they got a T-shirt, a cap, shopping bag ( purple or green or navy this year) with the Kids in Parks logo on the side – ( when I got home I opened my cupboard to get my old shopping bags for a quick trip down the road and one of them I took out had the KiP logo on the side – I was amazed as I’d never noticed it before !! ) with a cute waterbottle,

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An orange, a packet of chips and an energy bar – the fruit juices were packed into the freezer so they were nice and cold for the kids on the bus ride home ... Mariska and Henriette packing the goodie bags ..

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We can do no great things, only small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: Would you like to assist with Kids in the Parks?
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:53 pm 
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Hey Scouter
Would appear we former Girl Guides have a lot in common :)
Loved the bit about "grace" - please keep it coming... Am loving the whole story. Just wish I could have been there with you lot.....
Found a book with some interesting snippets on indigenous trees on its way to the kids - maybe I should put you in touch with some publishers and you could have a chapter on the Camel Thorn?.. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Would you like to assist with Kids in the Parks?
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:21 pm 
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One of the other afternoons I managed to go on a very short drive for an hour or so while the others had a bit of a rest after packing the bags, but the second group of kids we had REALLY wanted to go for an afternoon drive to look for lions , so Jannie Bok and Oom Bassier loaded them into the bus with Mariska and myself and we went for a drive just up the road towards Kamqua ...

Angelic looking , aren't they :twisted:

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So how do I describe the journey to you all so you get an idea of what it was like ? Will it suffice to say that I staggered off the bus saying “NEVER AGAIN” or would you like the gory details ... ? Let’s see if you can picture it ....

50 kids in the bus – all of them over-excited about the possibility of seeing lions and everyone bouncing from one seat to the other ...... a boiling hot afternoon – mid 30’s , lots and lots of dust ......lots and lots of f#rting and interesting smells wafting around the bus constantly ( the darned bus is airconditioned so all my frantic plea’s to open a window to get some fresh air fell on deaf ears :big_eyes: ) ....... and some interesting flatulence noises too ....... and the whole bus literally erupting every time we saw something ....

I do ask that you please excuse the spelling and try and read it phonetically – it’s so hard to capture their accents but I do want you to get the full experience – please let me add there’s absolutley NO disrespect intended in any way to these awesome, awesome kids but it’s hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it yourself and I would like you to get a taste of it .....

“ KYYYYYYK DAAAAARR - dis n SPRINGBOK!!!!! Every kid in the bus leaps up and rushes over to the RHS leaving the bus driver wrestling with the wheel and the bus in imminent danger of toppling over ( not really, I jest :tongue: ) ..... Dis n BUFFEL !!!!!!!! isssi n BUFFEL ( isssi = is nie = is not ) ( wildebeest = buffalo to them, the same as leopard = tiger hmmmmmm, maybe thats where the tiger on the bus comes from ?? :doh: ) ..... issss.... KYK KYK KYK DAAAAAAAR - dis n EEEEEERDMAAAAAN!!!!!!!!!!! ( erdman – which is what they call meerkats – literally an earth-man cause they live underground and stand up straight like a human ), naaaaaay, dissi n erdman nie, dissa muishond, nay MAN !!!!! ITIS n erdman , ISSSSIIIIII , ISSSSSSSSS !!!!!!! (apparently if you shout louder and longer than your friend you can convince them that YOU are right and not them – who knew ?????) ........... kyk, dis nogga SPRINGBOK neeeeeee, dis tweeeeeeee, dis n mannetjie en n wyfie , issssssi, dis tweeeee mannetjies ....... issssssssssssssssssssssss .... kykie GROOT HOOOOOORINGS ........ KYK DAAR!!!!! KYK KYK KYK !!! DIS N DRAAIJAKKALS --- ISSSSSSSSIIIIII - ( a draaijakkals is either a battie or a Cape fox – depending on who you ask – very helpful I know, I’m sorry, and I’m just as confused as you are right now – I asked lots of people and got either one of the two answers every time, so ja... you choose ) - with literally 30 of the 50 kids all yelling at the same time !!!!

I soon learnt to desist from telling them if I saw anything (kinda mean I know, but I did show them the slender mongoose – it’s a swartkwasmuishond in Afrikaans ( a black brush on account of the black tip to its tail) ( if anyone is even vaguely interested ha ha ) - and we spent a good 10 min watching him which they all enjoyed – in relative silence too , thanks to Jannie Bok telling them to pipe down NOW or they would scare it away !) but I couldn’t take the bashing on the back of my head or the poking or the heavy breathing down the back of my neck or the pounding the back of my seat or the SCREECHING in my ear by all 8 boys who were squashed onto a 3 seater bench behind me ( they are kinda small) .... By the time we were on our way back to camp I was curled into a ball pressed up against the window whimpering softly to myself and Jannie Bok was wandering up and down the bus giving sharp pokes to the unfortunate few who had dared to fall asleep .... Needless to say my head was pounding and my stomach churning when we eventually got back to Gemsbokplein – but the kids loved it, even if we didn’t see any lions ..... and I would do it all again in a heartbeat ... :tongue:

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We can do no great things, only small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: Would you like to assist with Kids in the Parks?
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:40 am 
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Concert practice time over and the goodie bags packed into boxes and hidden away ready for the next day, the kids were rounded up for some team building games .... ( and to get rid of some excess energy I assume before we made them sit down and concentrate for a while )

The kids started off by dribbling a ball between some coke bottles with a nifty home-made croquet mallet .... the lucky few in the front of the queue got to do it with tennis balls but as the game progressed the poor kids at the back of the queue got table tennis balls – sneaky as they are a lot harder to control and way lighter than a tennis ball ....

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and smacking it through a blue pipe .... and round some orange cones ....

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Then they had to toss 5 camelthorn seed pods into a bucket from a distance – each one that landed in the bucket was a point for their team ... and no, you don’t stand there and hurl armfuls of seedpods with gay abandon until you get 5 into the bucket – you only get 5 to throw – period !!! That needed some serious explaining I’m afraid and some serious checking up on .....

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Then a hop through the tyres on the ground and a crawl through the oil drum...

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Once out the oil drum they picked up 5 rubber rings that they had to throw over 3 different coloured stakes that were hammered into the ground ... yellow stake was 20 points, red was 10 and the blue one was 5 points .... ( I think ...)

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There was lots of screaming and yelling encouragement and huge dramatic sighs of exasperation when it came down to the wire and the last few kids got to throw their rings – the kids were eagerly watching the scoreboard as the game progressed and were yelling the odds at their poor team members no end – no pressure there !

One last photo I have to share with you is of our first group of Philandersbron kids – the grade 4’s and 5’s – a really sweet group of kids ( they lulled us into a false sense of security I'm afraid as their slightly older counterparts who came next were a different kettle of fish entirely :slap: ) ... after the games had finished they were hanging around waiting for us to pack up so they could climb in the bus and go back to the hall.... the sun was setting and all was peaceful until one bright spark decided that he saw something on the far dune ... dis n leeeeeu !! Everyone hurtles to the fence to see this lion he is convinced is lying on the top of the dune – there’s lots of argueing and shouting and pointing ... wait ... now there’s 2 of them .... a male and female ( naturally ) .... everyone is convinced they are lions – they call Jannie Bok to come and see – no, he can’t see anything ......Henriette gets her camera and takes a photo of the lion shaped lump ( we all know those don’t we) on the top of the dune .... and we zoom in on it – no, sorry guys, it’s just a bush we tell the kids ..... YES, insists half a dozen of the boys, there ARE lions – and one screams “ hier kom hulle !!” ( here they come!) .... All hell breaks loose as 50 kids turn en masse and stampede for their dorms all screaming at the top of their voices .... no pictures of the stampede I’m afraid – I was too busy trying not to get run over – but here’s one of them all looking at the “lions “ .....

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We can do no great things, only small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: Would you like to assist with Kids in the Parks?
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:22 am 
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Sorry, WWK, I should have posted this one too ... the final result of the sunset after the lion scare ...

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We can do no great things, only small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: Would you like to assist with Kids in the Parks?
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:46 am 
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Thanks a lot Scouter! Those sunset photos just makes me think again :hmz: ... you can go to the zoo to see lions, but sunsets like that, and the ambiance that goes with it is unique to the Kgalagadi. I believe some people go there for the wrong reasons :?. We are leaving for Kgalagadi in 3 day's time (mainly Bots side). Top of my "to see and to do" list are those glorious times at dawn and dusk - to see, hear and smell nature. If a lion or 2 comes wandering by... it will be a bonus :) . I do not believe one must go "hunting" for animals the whole day - that is not what Kgalagadi is about (the lack of good roads is a testimony to that) - you need to experience it with all your senses and by staying put at one spot is almost always the best way to do that.

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 Post subject: Re: Would you like to assist with Kids in the Parks?
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:57 am 
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Heck yes, I agree with that :thumbs_up: That's what I love so much about the Kalahari - the vastness, and the dust, and the early morning stillness of just being one with nature, and the silence that is so loud it hurts your ears and the incredible sunsets and the wonderful cloud formations ..... hope you get a few thunderstorms brewing too - they are awesome !!

Ag, what can I say... I know it will be INCREDIBLE so enjoy every moment as I know you will :thumbs_up:

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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