In all honesty the day actually got off to a pretty crap start for me. Firstly I woke up with a bit of gut pain, which for me is never a good sign. Then, since I was paying for the day, my translator and I had to get to a bank. Simple enough? Yes, but it turns out that none of the machines accepted my “all-around-the-world” Commonwealth bank travel money card. Guess what Commonwealth Bank? It doesn’t freakin’ work in
We ended up driving around
So I spent the first twenty minutes of the day subdued and pissed off about the money thing. The majority of the kids and siblings were under 12, so they headed straight for the pool and had a blast. I joined them, but originally wasn’t going in. What could I do in a pool where the water was only thigh-high? Besides, I didn’t bring a towel. Turned out that both those excuses were lame, as I witnessed the pure, unrestrained joy of these kids laughing, splashing and just being kids. I don’t think I can underestimate the importance of that in this day. Even though I visited some of their houses, I definitely didn’t get a full picture of the difficulties they face in their lives.
I ended up “getting over myself” and getting in with them, forgetting about the “adult concerns" of not being able to get the money out, and being late. I played ball, I went around the pool on my hands and knees carrying 5 or 6 kids on my back, we played thumb-wars, paper-scissors-rock, sang silly songs and just had fun. I needn’t have worried about a towel – I was dry after 10 minutes in that sun!
Finally she returned and I went with some of the kids to look at the animals. There were various species of snakes, owls, other birds and monkeys. Peacocks and iguanas roamed around. The kids had a horse ride, where they were led around by a Park worker. Some of the boys (and Alynne) came and had a kick of the footy with me.
I was happy with my ability to get around to everyone on the day. I made a special effort to have a couple of extended conversations with poor Monalisa, who was stuck in a wheelchair because of her broken leg. She generally stayed under the covered area where we had lunch. It was pleasing to see Jessica and Cristina open up to me more today, since at the Project on Thursday they had been shy and reserved the whole day. I still didn’t get to talk to Cristina like I wanted to, but Victor assured me that after my visit she was talking about me and asking questions. I think some of them found it too difficult trying to communicate using a translator.
BR-329 gave me a CD with all the photos from my visit on Saturday, as well as a drink bottle and t-shirt with a picture of me with Monalisa, Larissa and Alynne. BR-110 gave me a wooden “
We prayed, then I jumped on the drums to play a couple of songs with my favourite crew. I told them that what I was most impressed about was that between songs half the group switched instruments and it still sounded just as good. They were very versatile. I also had some spare clip-on koalas, and it was my joy to be able to give one to each of the band members.
Then it was time for cake and winding down. We had some group photos. I got photos of the kids from each Project, then with their siblings, then with siblings, parents and Project workers. Finally one with all ten kids, and then the whole crew! There would have been about 30 family members altogether, because many of the parents had to work. All ten kids had at least one family member with them.