March 14, 2016 Contributor

The First Hike

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This Saturday was a really exciting one for 21 grade 7’s at Sakumandela Primary School (Khayelitsha). This year they have been chosen to be part of Earthchildproject’s hiking club. At Sakumandela, the hiking club is a tradition lower grades look forward to throughout the years, and only a few children get selected. Most children here have never hiked or been in the forest before, and only experienced township life so far. This was going to be an unique experience.

The enthusiasm was huge when the busses arrived that took the group from Khayelitsha to Cecilia forest. Once we were there, everyone seemed a bit quiet, so before we could start the hike, we had to learn each other’s names. Everyone found himself a partner, and figured out his name, favourite colour, and something they enjoyed in nature. The majority of the children enjoyed the animals, such as the lion and elephant a lot, but also subjects like the grass, the smell of nature, the connection with it, the trees, and the water came up.

Now everyone was a bit more confident, we could start hiking. The first part was not that hard, but when we arrived at the river and started climbing parallel, the adventure started.

On the way, we climbed onto a pile of rocks for a short meditation. All the children have done that numerous times during the living classroom classes, so they immediately sat down and closed their eyes. This time, we used our senses to hear the birds, the wind, and far beneath us the waterfall. We imagined the colours surrounding us, and breathed in the fresh air. During a silent walk after, we tried to keep this peaceful feeling, and really experience our surroundings.

Because this was the first hike, and it would not be fair to exhaust the children to much, we ended in Kirstenbosch gardens, where we had a great picnic with sandwiches and fruit. The children used this time to try out some new yoga poses, such as the craw, bridge and ended up rolling down the hills; the indication for a change in atmosphere. This first hike was definitely a success, next week it is Harmony Primary’s turn.

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