Sunshine, Sand, Surf!

School’s out for the season. The kids are on their holiday. And with more free time to surf, that is exactly what the boys have chosen to do.

After two short stops on the train ride from their home in Steenberg, the boys arrive in the morning to MBC, suit up, and spend their days and hours out at the beach. At times the boys will remember they haven’t yet had their lunch, but just as easily they’ll forget their stomach’s grumbling as the ocean calls them back into the surf.

Catching waves with the boys has been a blast! Here I am the volunteer and it’s them who have been so helpful with teaching me. They genuinely wanted to see me learn during my month here. Many times Frankie and Abel would stay nearby in the ocean and call out for me which waves I should catch. They’d yell out, “Turn your board around now! Paddle! Start paddling! Keep paddling!” Before I knew it, I was picking out my own waves and standing up more times than I could count. It’s so great to see their love for surfing and their willingness to share it with others, just as it’s been imparted to them.

Last week, taking full advantage of Muizenberg’s beautiful beaches, we organized games and fun competition for the boys, both on the sand and in the water. Frankie won both the foot race and soccer agility match. Temba came in a near second. And when it came to the surfing, everyone knew Asi would take the win. Abel, deserving a notable mention, still surfed with an injured foot. Tough boy! I had to tell him to sit it out until he knew exactly what was wrong and he finally conceded. It’s so obvious for many of these boys that being in the ocean is irresistible. Even with swollen foot, Abel admitted, “Surfing’s a part of my life. I want to be out there!”

Now as we head into the holidays, I’m bummed to say that only a few days remain before I head back home and my time at MBC comes to a close. I am so looking forward to spending this Christmas with the kids before I leave, meeting their families, and trying some local homemade South African dishes. I cannot believe how quickly this month flew by. Spending time with the boys has certainly been an honor and privilege. Each day getting to know these boys has been such a treasure, and they truly have become like my little brothers! I cannot say it enough, “Go MBC!”

beach games


Breaking Bad Habits

“Good habits formed at youth make all the difference” Aristotle

Although I have been in South Aftica since May and surfing for nearly two months, today I had a beginners lesson and went back to basics. MBC is linked to local surf school, Learn2Surf, and with two solid hours of instructing it was exhilerating to break the bad habits.  The beauty of it was, I had no clue that I locked my legs or looked at my feet instead of to shore – and now I feel like I’ve had a surfing break through.

I, myself, believe that I have broken many of my own bad habits since coming to SA – and not just surfing ones. I no longer shuffle along, looking at the floor when I walk on my own, oblivious to my surroundings. There is something about traveling that makes you more confident and self-assured. Perhaps it is because you begin to learn more about yourself.

In my time here, I have also been taught many skills by others – I can observe better, surf better, eat like an American and even clean a wetsuit properly.

I hope I set a good example to MBC Members, maybe they will follow my lead in learning, growing and breaking bad habits. After all, the good habits formed at youth make all the difference.




A Relief For the Steenberg Community

Wayden_Godfrey“It is so great to see kids out playing like this on the beach, I’m glad it is a common activity for them” Muizenberg Police Officer, Friday 14th June

In a recent report* from Kevin Southgate, Chairperson of Steenburg Community Police (April 2013) it is believed that gang violence is escalating within the Steenberg area. The local police enforcements have tried to combat the problem by increasing police patrols however it still leaves the community worried about their security.

The main concern for most residents is the safety of the children as ‘incidents of gang violence seem to erupt during the school holidays’. MBC provides positive activities for its members in a safe environment, giving them the opportunity to leave the area and have new experiences.

Whilst playing soccer with the kids on Muizenberg Beach a few weeks ago, a police officer (who had been riding up and down the beach) stopped by our soccer pitch and commented on the nature of the children. Programs such as MBC are as much a relief to the community as they keep children away from the gangs and teach each child skills that can help them gain more from their lives.