Almost four years they came, the kids from the art-class. Every Saturday morning, often already around 7 a.m., they stood in front of the door. “You’re very early” or “now you’ll have to wait very very long” were remarks that didn’t register. Hanging around on the farm for a few hours, they didn’t think it was a problem – on the contrary.
Playing with the dog, running over the fields and when they were lucky already a glass of lemonade; they were quite okay with it. And when in started around 10, with an average of about 25 children, they behaved (usually) extremely well. “We’re going to school on Saturday” is what they said, “a very nice school”.
It was never about art really, we just didn’t get to that. Of course, we worked with clay, made drawings, painted, worked with glass even, but that’s not what it was all about. Often I wondered how it was possible that every Saturday so many kids left home early, and would come home only after one o’clock, without any of the parents bothering to come and see where they were going. I have no answer but it made it very clear that the real purpose of the classes – a hand on a shoulder, a pat on the bag – was not superfluous.
It took them some time to get used to that white guy but we became friends after a while. It made me happy when, on my way to the village, ten times or more I’d heard children shout at me, saw them wave… “Hi mister Frank! Hi!”
Hardly ever did I see so much happiness and joy. On every face a beautiful smile.Teddy and Tshepo would, sometimes, hop in during weekdays as well. I could think that Dopie was my dog, they knew better.
Celebrating Christmas together, with presents. Happy with small thing of a few bucks. And also the barbeques, the braais, were a real success. Good food with a glass of coke or a fanta. When the time arrived to say goodbye we went to Wimpy’s, all of us. 35 children ate their hamburger with knife and fork, timidly radiating a joy that’s almost not of this world. After luch they just sat for a long time, enjoying their Icecream. Happy and impressed by the “real” restaurant.
The story about WWvK – our sponsor – they never quite understood and Apostolic Society was something beyond their comprehension. But together they made that banner, so that I will remember. I’m proud with it but there was no need really. They live in my heart and I won’t forget.
Now I hear that they are asking people I know in the village for the phone-number of mister Frank. “A phone-call is way to expensive” is their response and then the question comes if they can’t make a phone-call then because it can’t go on like this… It’s not clear to me who went to school every Saturday, I or the children. May we all did?