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Travel and weekendtrips

Give kids a fighting chance . . . .to further develop themselves. Give them knowledge, so that they can develop themselves, because every child has received the gift to enrich diversity in this world. Children are the future and we are their example.

by Wil Groot - 06 December 2019

length: 5 min. Printer Friendly Page  
The only Gay in the Village . . .


Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar
length: 5 minuten



Occasionally, I get the feeling that we are not at all functioning well as an example. Young people around the world are protesting because they have no jobs and do not think the future looks bright. When I arrive in Johannesburg and check in at the airport for the domestic flight to Mthatha, I always score the South African newspapers to see how the world is doing here. The headlines are mainly focused on corruption and how the current president is trying to do something about it. I also see Xenophobia, with a short piece of text underneath, which closes with a reference to page 6. When I read that with a good cup of coffee, I get the shivers.

This time, it is Nigerians who are under attack. Their wives and children have found shelter in the churches, the only safe place for them. "They arrive in South Africa with a small briefcase and within a few months, they drive a BMW," says the waiter, pointing to the article. The waiter and I recognise each other by now. “They use our women, are criminals and mainly trade in drugs. It is the current Mafia. Zimbabweans are also being prosecuted. They are the ones who attack and kill the farmers.” I look at him with my mouth half open and just don't know what to say. “What about corruption?” The waiter smiles. "That will take a long time, as they are all money-grabbing vultures." In the meantime, I pay for my coffee and Mr. Waiter has disappeared again. Welcome to South-Africa.

Waiting for my next flight I send my manager Nontscha a message that I am on my way and ask her to send me the name of the manager of the Spar supermarket in Mquanduli. I want to pay it a visit to see if they can make a donation in the form of food for the graduation ceremony. The good man's name is Gavin, she informs me somewhat later. In the bus to the plane, there is a Caucasian male next to me. I remember thinking he looked familiar. Someone is calling him. "Gavin speaking," I hear him say when he answers the phone. A moment later I ask him whether he is the manager of a Spar in Mquanduli. “Yes, that's me. You are the Dutchman who has a project and works with Nontscha!” We both laugh thinking the world is a small place after all.

In my rental car I drive from Mthatha airport to the project in Mawotsheni. It is about 100 kilometres on a largely asphalted road full of potholes, although I am used to these after being active in these parts for twelve years. Incidentally, those potholes also have a positive side to them, because the cattle drink rainwater from it after it has rained. As a result, you cannot usually drive faster than 60. That way I avoid fines, because police cars are often hidden in dark places. Along the way I make two stops at supermarkets to chat with the managers, to show them that I have not forgotten them. I give them a key ring with Delft blue clogs, which I managed to score in Amsterdam for the good cause. The real reason is of course the children. In other words; I immediately start asking for funds again. Luckily, the result is positive.


When I arrive at the project, I am welcomed by Kenny our garden and maintenance engineer. I hear singing and music from the village hall. A moment later, when I look around the corner, I notice a group of teenagers who are learning a dance and a large group of children watching them, singing along and occasionally dancing along. It is wonderful to see those teenagers busy. It reminds me of my early childhood years, with my childhood friends and my first puppy love. When I walk into the kitchen a little later, I see Kenny filling the kettle. Sure enough, there is water and electricity. That is the first time in 12 years! Later, Nontscha let me know that since we pay for both there are no more problems. She laughs and adds that there has never been a bill.

KennyThe next day, Kenny turns out to be on the road. The vegetable garden did not need to be watered because enough water had fallen last night. Kenny had to slaughter a goat, because a boy from the community had an accident twice, and his mother wanted to enter into conversation with guardian angels in heaven, so that they would keep a closer eye on her beloved son.

Therefore, the goat will get the brunt of it. Naturally, half the village will come out to eat and there will be Khosa beer. I was also invited, but could not make it because of other appointments.

My first goal was to visit the clinic, as my suitcase was packed with bandage material, which is very useful here. When the three nurses find a working thermometer in my suitcase, they start to scream with joy. They nearly hug me to death with gratitude. Fortunately, I manage to avoid their firm bosoms.

Apparently, they have had to manage without thermometers for months. So, it is clear that next time, I will have to bring a lot of new hospital material, especially thermometers.

Another highlight was of course the children. I witnessed three graduation ceremonies at three different schools. ‘Good Hope’ was a true party, especially when the graduates started to dance. The graduation ceremony in Mawotsheni really turned into a party despite the heavy rain that fell the night before and around noon, which turned the roads into mud.

Driving a car was no longer possible, not even with four-wheel-drive cars. The teenage dancers who performed, however, were truly great. Suddenly teenagers everywhere started jiving, with the audience, mostly women, cheering and standing back with a big smile on their faces and shouting African style. And then your whole body will swing, every stone of it. The graduated children watched with open mouths. When they were presented with their diploma an hour later, they first did a dance and then presented themselves in English. Oh well, it was muddy outside, but in the community centre it was party time.

The realisation that most of these children will never get a diploma as 70% of the children around 10 years old cannot read or write, had been lifted during that afternoon. That is why I continue to give children a chance, because they are the future.

With thanks to all the donors who have helped us in the past year and who are still helping us, in order for us to continue our work.

Greetings from Wil


  If you'd like to know more about Wil Groot and his projects, check www.willenendoen.com




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