This year we have been really lucky on the bicycle front as we have been donated not one, but two new bicycles for the children. The first bike is a monster, it has enlarged frame and tyres and looks the business and we have called it 'The Monster'; we weren’t actually expecting it to be quite so big as it did look a little smaller in the photos.
When the bike arrived, we came to know how big it was… It’s huge! - But that hasn’t stopped the younger children lining up to ride it. Today one of the older boys has taken it for a school cycling trip, he mentioned it would be around 30kms so hopefully it goes well. The bike was kindly donated by Mieke who responded when she heard that our previous bike was stolen. As well as the monster bike.
A few weeks later we were also given a bright green BMX for the kids to share. This is a little more convenient as it doesn’t take up so much room. The kids take it in turns to ride it in front of the house and if they can show that they can look after the bikes they get to take them for a week to take home and ride at their leisure, on returning to the centre another child gets an opportunity.
Thank you to Penny for the BMX and for supporting us from the beginning.
Debra Ann got in touch with Robert recently and wanted to know if she could sponsor a bus to take the children to the beach. Debra Ann knew Robert from volunteering for him while he was at Children Walking Tall (The Mango House). She had come with a couple of friends and fondly remembered the beach trips we took the children on.
Just after lunch the bus arrived and we set off to the beach. As we reached the sea the bus was converted into a changing room for the girls and after 10 minutes they were finally ready to walk down to the beach. It was great to be back at the beach after so long, the children stored their shoes and bags on the rocks and ran straight into the water where they stayed for the majority of the time.
Ashwem beach is safe although the tide does continuse to push you south down the beach so Robert had to keep reminding the children to look where they were and to try and stay near the life guard stand. The smaller children played in the shallows and the older ones headed out where the water reached waist and shoulder level.
The few children who stayed on the beach made friends with some Japanese tourists and copied their yoga poses. It was lovely to see the kids interacting with them and the yoga changed to just posing and we managed to get some great photos.
Half way through the afternoon the children stopped for a small break and a bite to eat (chicken patties and coconut and sultana balls for desert (they were really very nice!).
The rest of the day was spent having races, playing football and swimming. Thank you to Debra Ann and family for sponsoring the bus and for joining us on the day, also thank you to Vipul, Yallama and Genevieve for making sure the children were safe and not washed out to sea.
We were delighted to get a call from Jo who wanted to buy Flip Flops for all the children. We arranged a list of all the sizes which had been used for their school shoes and supplied that to the shop. A few weeks later the flip flops arrived and we arranged a date for the children to come to the house.
As we were getting all the children to come, we thought it would be a good time to give out caps that had been donated earlier. Before Christmas we had a supporter who brought a full suitcase full of baseball caps all the way from school children in Canada, there was a great selection and they would go well with the flip flops. Jo had arranged to visit to help give out the flip flops, and as usual, several of the children arrived early so we made a start and when Jo arrived we were in full swing.
It was a little more difficult than we hoped as the flip flops seemed smaller than expected so we had to get a little creative on giving them out, many of them needed a size or two bigger. Thankfully on the day most of them went home with a new cap and pair of flip flops, but a few children had to wait for their flip flops until two weeks later once we had the replacements.
Thank you so much to Jo for her help on the day and for organising all the flip flops and to the Canadian school students for donating the baseball caps.