surf lesson

Words of wisdom: Paddle DEEP!

It’s been a great first week with the MBC boys! After the first couple days of my asking them multiple times, I’ve got each of their names and faces down.
We had three newcomers yesterday: Sumpiwe, Kanya, and Mpo. The clubs’ more experienced members, Asi and Siya, took on the role of showing them the ropes, and they did so well. I’d stayed back on the beach and it was sweet just chatting with the boys as they took their breaks at random points in the day.
You really get to see the different interactions and personalities. There’s Frankie and Siya who are close buds, yesterday joking and having fun in the sand as we talked about how Frankie would celebrate his 16th birthday. Then there’s Asi–you couldn’t get him out of the water as he kept up with the big boys in the back. Abel is wise beyond his years and so patient. At one point I found myself sitting in the middle of a friendly sandfight when Abel took a hit and all I saw was his huge smile as he laughed it off. ​
My first surf lessons this week came from Phila, previously an MBC member (soon to be college student!!). He’s an excellent instructor and within an hour of the first day I was standing up riding some waves. When sensing my nervousness heading into the rows of white water, he gets a good laugh and reassures that we’ll get past them. So, I press on. Paddling forward through wave after wave, sometimes I won’t see Phila, but from somewhere I’ll hear his voice calling out words of encouragement to keep me going. It works!
Today after what seemed like an impossible feat, before I knew it, I was in the backline! Finally there on the flat waters, Phila and I sat on our boards for a bit, gave our arms a rest after all the paddling, enjoyed the calm new environment and absence of white water, and then after some practice learning to sit on the board, he said, “Ready to ride a wave? Let’s do it!”
Phila picked out a wave, gave me quick last second reminders of everything to keep in mind, and then I was off on the nicest ride back to shore. I felt at that moment I could say I came, I conquered, and accomplished what I wanted coming to South Africa. There is something that makes you feel alive when you’re able to overcome even a piece of that powerful ocean. But in truth, there is so much more than catching a wave that I came here to South Africa for. I came for these amazing kids. . . in the water or not. (But yes, more in the water!)

First impressions of Muizenberg

At my first week in Muizenberg I already experienced a lot! I arrived here on Monday and started with the project on Tuesday. My new roomies showed me the area and the Muizenberg “hotspots”. After my first surf lesson and an introduction to the project I finally met the kids and could watch them surf with Luca. It was really nice, seeing them having fun while surfing.

IMG_5211                               Luca surfing with the kids

IMG_5219                              Siminkewe and Themba

IMG_5220                              Kiyaam catching a wave

On Thursday we played soccer and it was Phila’s 18th birthday. Freddie and Saskia brought a chocolate cake which the kids ate in a blink. There were many stars for the MBC reward chart given to the winning team that actually won twice: Kiyaam, Mike, Godfrey, Siminkiwe, Asi and Themba.

IMG_5238                              Birthday boy Phila with Saskia and Freddie

IMG_5233                              Winning team

Friday was a national holiday, so there was no hiking on that day. Therefore Saskia, Freddie, Sara and me went to the We Are One Colour Festival in Cape Town. All of us got 5 powder bags in different colours – yellow, orange, pink, green and blue. Every hour there was a countdown from 10 to 0 and then everyone threw up the coloured powder in the air. It was amazing, seeing the colours spread out in the air, while seeing the view of Table Mountain in the background.

969303_10203483336510956_192804115_n                              Throwing up coloured pouder

1926869_10203483335790938_315240777_n                              Colour Festival in Cape Town

10215_10203483488914766_1755827541_n                              Me, Freddie, Sarah and Saskia at We are One Festival

By (Anna) Schmitt, MBC volunteer from Germany