Saturday, 18 August 2018
Our MC for the day, Dirk, got the proceedings underway and welcomed everyone. The Moruti was welcomed and he prayed. Thereafter, the coordinator, Dan Serumola said a few words and was followed by Chief Kgosi Thari. An ERP video was shown and several other dignitaries expressed their vote of thanks.
A highlight of the proceedings for me was the group of learners that performed a beautiful song. During the song, two girls delivered powerful messages which left the audience with goose bumps and tears in their eyes.
The team enjoyed interacting with the learners. At first they were a bit shy of the bearded man and his friends, but pretty soon they relaxed and enjoyed the attention.
Several officers from the local Traffic Department were also in attendance. One of the officers presented some road safety tips to the learners. Naturally, it is very important that these learners understand the risks associated with cycling and that they should be responsible when using the road. Earlier, Gert emphasized the phrase: “No helmet. No ride.” The learners were encouraged to always wear a helmet when cycling.
Finally, Nicolai had the opportunity to address the audience and to tell them more about the #BIKES4ERP story.
He also asked only two things from the learners...
Take your bicycle and go to school.
Take care of your bicycle.
To conclude the proceedings, Mr. Mambo (Gert) and his assistant, Frikkie (Jean) entertained the crowd with their magic. I am serious when I say magic. I cannot believe some of the things they did. It started with a newspaper being torn countless times, but ended up being in one piece; chickens (learners) that lay eggs, an umbrella which transformed in front of our eyes, and lastly a bicycle with two learners on it that floated above the ground. It was very entertaining!
Then came the big moment. The handover of the bicycles. Team #BIKES4ERP lined up and as the learners’ names were read, we presented each learner with the goodie bag and bicycle.
What ensued after that was heart-warming. Whether the learner was able to ride a bicycle, or just learning to ride a bicycle, they were all on the field trying out their new wheels
I was concerned that some of them couldn’t ride. Gert said, “You will see them in a week’s time and then they will ride like professionals.” A teacher divided the learners into two groups; those who can ride comfortably and those who cannot. The comfortable riders were joined by some members of Team #BIKES4ERP and alongside each other they followed the bakkie for a ride around town.
I joined several members on the back of the bakkie and couldn’t contain my joy as these learners smiled from ear to ear as the wind blew through their hair. They could now go to school in a fraction of the time they used to.
We were then treated to a delicious feast by the locals and some more opportunities to learn about the people involved with this wonderful project. Werner and I spoke to a lady who went to that school as a child and who now works in Centurion for a well-known company. She gladly shared tales of when she attended school and what it felt like growing up in this town.
Once again, I was reminded that you should take a little bit of time to listen to someone’s story to understand them. In each of us there lies a story and we should not be too quick to judge.
At about 15h00, Team #BIKES4ERP’s convoy slowly exited the school’s gate as a group of the learners chanted, “ERP. ERP. ERP.” It was evidence of the appreciation they felt for their bicycles. The convoy made its way back to Sebele House. The plan was to go to a viewpoint to appreciate the sunset after a special day. However, as the team members gathered one by one on the verandah, it was apparent that enjoying the sunset and each other’s company at Sebele House would be the perfect way to end the day.
Evan built and lit the bushveld television. The camping chairs formed a circle and pretty soon the laughter echoed through the bushveld. Gert and Nicolai shared some of their travel stories which led to some other interesting stories to be shared by the team members. The chefs were at it again and outdid themselves. Not long after the delicious meal, some members retired to bed.
It was a very fulfilling day, and you can be part of a similar experience on our Bushveld 2020 tour.
Our next delivery of bikes will be part of our #Bushveld2020 tour, and you can play a key part by donating towards a bicycle. Our goal is to empower 40 students with a new bicycle each, and need all the support we can get. If you would like contribute towards this great cause, please visit our fundraising campaign page.
Look out for my next blog post where will be sharing more about how we are making a difference in the lives of these communities, and the children. You can also follow us on Facebook to stay up to date.