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Archive for December, 2010

I only truly know that my year is coming to a close when I volunteer at the Izulu Orphan Projects annual Christmas party. It’s a weekend filled with over 2000 kids and caregivers who are treated to a day of celebration and gift giving; probably the only one they will experience this festive season.

Each year Kate sends out an email asking for donations and assistance from volunteers and each year we are overwhelmed by the generosity of South Africans. Donations of 3600 hot dog rolls and viennas, 1900 cool drinks and party packs, and presents for children of every age group as well as their caregivers; most of whom are elderly women who should be enjoying their twilight years.

The volunteers come from churches and companies, are families and individuals who come from Zululand, Durban, and Johannesburg and there are always the regulars who have pitched in for the past six years religiously. These experienced volunteers make the day as smooth and disaster free as possible. They put together 3600 hot dogs, sorted and handed out presents, kept the peace, picked up litter, monitored toilets, and put together party packs. Probably the biggest thank you from me goes to Joyce, Kate’s wonderful and self-less domestic worker (house executive would be more apt a label!), who looked after us all; ensure we were fed and watered and cared for.

This year we were donated R500s worth of face painting kits from Pilates House (thanks Nikki!) in Durban. What a fantastic activity to get the kids (and adults) involved in; it broke the ice and we saw beautiful interaction between volunteers and kids. Flowers, hearts, moustaches and beards, tribal war paint, Masaai inspired dots and designs; the kids looked amazing and we are definitely brining back face painting to next years party.

The caregivers gifts this year went down incredibly well – each lady received a crockery set or a glass pitcher with matching glasses set; the ululating (wish I had a sound clip for it) was phenomenal and we had smiling faces all round.

Each year I notice a trend which seems to sweep the Zululand area; last year it was intricate and bizarre hair braiding (which carried on into this year but it was the boys sporting the serious do’s). The year before it was phenomenal shoes; fake croc skin cowboy boots with silver toe caps, and nyala skin sandals. This year it was flowers in the girls hair; alice bands and clips adorned with giant flowers. For more photos – click here.

Thanks to everyone who contributed and got involved; we really appreciate it and we’ll hopefully see you all again next year!

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