After spending five days twining with nature it was time for our Globetrotters to meet the people of South Africa. Our first day started by going to a special care school in Masoyi. When we arrived the kids were scattered around the floor have heartedly working on simple puzzles, it was an emotional scene as our kids cranked up the music and smiles cranked up. Within minutes the room was full of kids dancing and laughing. The children who couldn’t walk were swept up in people’s arms and soon everyone was dancing. It was obvious our first stop was a big hit and our Globetrotters were going to love the people of South Africa even more then the animals they had become familiar with.
It is amazing how quickly these kids bonded with the children, as we drove away there were sad eyes on both sides. We headed to local township, Kanawane, Nito our guide educated the kids on life in a township then we stopped for some local fare, chicken dust and pap.
We headed for the sangoma, a healer/witch doctor. Many in Africa, although they hold Christian beliefs and believe in western medicine, still put a lot of stock in what the sangoma has to say. As we walked up to the sangoma training center woman in full tribal dress were dancing to the beat of African drums to bring the spirits in. The head sangoma welcomed us to his home and invited us in to throw our bones. We only had time to do four readings and I was selected first. The bones were shaken and thrown on a mat, a mixture of shells, bones and dice. The chanting began in earnest and the three women sangomas slammed their sticks on the ground stopping to call out their visions before chanting again. At the end out guide disclosed our future, I would be healthy and wealthy, my grandparents looked over me and wanted me to come and visit their graves. My daughter would have a healthy son. I wanted to make sure that the kids did not put too much stock in what a witch doctor had to say about their future so I asked what my son’s future looked like. My son would be healthy and grow up to be a good business man. Oh well, so much for predicting the future since we lost Dustin 11 years ago. It was a great cultural experience and the kids really enjoyed the show.
Next stop we had a demonstration of traditional African dance followed by a quick dance lesson. Students and adults stepped on stage to strut their stuff to the beat of African drums.
The next morning we headed towards a primary school, our mission, to clean up the game room, and teach the teen interact group how to play American games. They had collected a menagerie of games but had no idea how to play them. The Globetrotters embraced the task as they wrote down instructions for a bunch of games they could play with the younger kids including some of the all-time favorites, Duck, Duck, Goose, Musical Chairs, Kick Ball, Scrabble, Uno. It was a great bonding exercise for the kids. Before we left the high school our kids had totally organized the game room, made a book of kids games, bonded with the high school kids and wowed the primary kids with their dancing.
The cultural training continued that night with a drumming session. We had a master drummer come in with bongo drums for everyone and all the kids had an African drumming session. Before the end of the night the beat echoed across the valley.