My name is Jah Jah Mbondo and I live in our Rastafari community called Judah Square which is known for its great cultural background, good food and even better hospitality.
On Sunday, 1st of December, i dragged myself out of bed, both tired and excited. The holidays had begun but I had planned nothing so far. The only reason why I got out of bed early was because “Wicked Mike”, a community friend, was taking us on a trip to Jubilee Creek. He loves bringing smiles to people’s faces, especially children.
It was 8am, our time for departure. Nearly 30 children, including me, were lining up with anticipation when a row of cars drove up and parked a few metres away from the “mob” of children. It hadn’t been a few seconds when kids ran to greet the volunteers from Love Knysna Projects. We then took off for Jubilee Creek in Rheenendal (which is the countryside area of Knysna).
We finally stopped at a small picnic area, beside a narrow river. Immediately, I was trying to get the kids to change before they got in the water. I thought that it would be tough to keep these kids calm but they were on their best behaviour. We all wet our feet and examined the beautiful scenery around us before getting ready to eat.
The meal was delicious, from fruits to sandwiches! Everyone’s eyes widened when Mike and another lady brought out 2 large, chocolate cakes, covered in icing, made by a lady called Nicky. On the one, I could read the words, “CHILD OF THE YEAR.” That one was put in front of a young girl called Naddeen. I could see her smile stretch:) Nadeen has a condition where both her legs curve outwards, making it difficult for her to walk. She is going for her last operation soon. Nadeen is very tough, like her mother and her grandmother who never give up. Nadeen has gone on many trips before, thinking that her condition would hold her back but, instead, she endured whatever pain she felt with no complaint (and with friends beside her to help).
After eating we went on a hike up the river. It felt like eternity so I wondered how Nadeen would make it. On certain parts, Nadeen’s grandmother, surprisingly, carried her on her back. At the midway point of our journey was a magnificent waterfall. I couldn’t stop myself from getting in – the water was cold and refreshing. It took at least an hour for all the kids to get out of the pool at the foot of the waterfall.
It was time to go back but no one wanted to. This time, Nadeen didn’t want help. We made it back to the picnic area fairly quickly. There, the gifts the volunteers had given us were surprisingly intact, a great feat for the children from Judah Square. We got into the cars which took us home safely.
I thanks all the helpers from Love Knysna Projects and SANParks, on behalf of our community. I was happy that my Sunday was well spent!