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What Ikhayalethemba has taught me, a volunteer's thank you

By Quinell Feder 4 months ago
Categories Cape Town

I have learnt more in 1 month than i have from any professor. I have grown more in 1 month than I have in my past 18 years of life. I have laughed harder than my heartiest laugh and have slept better on a top bunk, with a foam mattress, with an exhausted smile on my face, than I have in any 5 star hotel. I thank you, Ikhayalethemba, for that.

I have learnt, not by checking boxes or filling in circles, but by observing, interacting and LAUGHING with these amazing children. It’s often we forget the simple joys of life. Let me boil it down. It’s pretending a clothes hanger is the steering wheel of a hot rod in a high-speed car chase. It’s painting a child’s face purple and watching them grin as they run around looking like the happiest blueberry you ever saw. It’s watching a child fall and potential tears transform into contagious laughter right in front of your eyes when they realise the pain isn’t anywhere near what they anticipated. It’s the muffled chant of ‘TEACHA, TEACHA, TEACHA’ that you hear from inside the bus until it nearly explodes when the door slides open to the glowing faces of those little humans with the pure, pure excitement for your presence that day waiting for you at the gate. Rain or shine, it’s forgetting the words to their favourite song during circle time and hearing them finish the song for you, reminding you that they’ve been singing them for years, with that cheeky smile on their faces. It’s watching such a small, small human, a baby so new to this world, absorb all of this with her eyes wide, pacifier in mouth, tied to the back of a child not much larger than herself with a towel they found lying around. I love watching the unconditional love these children have for eachother and the immediate acceptance they have of you, whether it be your first day or fourth year at the sanctuary. They are SO excited that you are even just at the same place as them on the planet. They have surely taught me more than I have taught them.

It’s a beautiful place, Ikhayalethemba. Until you know it, its just a place with minor flooding problems, really weird songs and a whole load of goat ca-ca. When you live it and see the purest forms of happiness within it’s gates, it is truly the definition of beauty.

Thank you, Ikhayalethemba, you are beautiful.