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(Text by Mark Wijsman and photos by Olga Kousi)
If morning already blesses you with a comfortable 24 degrees, and there are no white condensed sheep to be found in the sky but merely a blue blanket of summer happiness, you know that one way or another your day has to be spent outside. If you are a new employee of Projects Abroad, it is the ideal opportunity to experience the surfing project from a volunteer’s perspective. Getting there requires a vast amount of initiative and also a pair of sweet puppy eyes, bringing out that affirmative nod and bright smile from your boss saying: “Go for it!”
Friday was one of those days.
Olga and I were the fortunate two to go to Muizenberg and experience the surfing project first hand. For our extra visitor, we brought along Chink, the attention drawing sausage dog from Elaine Isaacs, a great host mom in Fairways. We reckoned our short-legged friend deserved to share in on our outside work day, and Chink rewarded us with Duracell-filled enthusiasm and inexhaustible curiosity.
In the early afternoon many kids were running around the volunteers at the Muizenberg promenade. With the shark alarm still on, the kids had to be entertained landside. Some of the guys played soccer with the kids, while others prepared themselves in their wetsuits. When our Great White sea hunters finally decided to look for seal look-a-likes (not the artist) elsewhere, the kids were prepared for their surfing lesson. I was very impressed by the volunteer’s enthusiasm and motivating abilities during the warm-up session. Every kid had to participate and come up with their own warm-up move, followed by a good run to the lighthouse and back. The kids were also challenged in a competition to build the highest sand-castle in teams. This was then used as a balance exercise for the surfboards.
After that, the volunteers took the kids out in the sea with either boogeyboards or surfboards. Because there is a good amount of volunteers, the kids are treated to plenty of personal attention and safety in the water. Some of the children have amazing surfing skills already, while I was gasping for air being thrown off my board several times.
I was really impressed by the surfing project, the volunteers and the children. It’s great to see that such a leisure activity can be used to not only help the children of Cape Town, but also allows us to learn something about ourselves.
Chink's first experience with sand, overlooked by Projects Abroad volunteers.
Olga, official dogsitter and photographer of the day
Mark and Joran going over some surfing basics.
The volunteers getting ready to brave the cold waters of Muizenberg.