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September 16, 2012

We have our Scout meetings every Friday, and on Tuesday after school, the staff and patrol leaders meet for planning. During these meetings we make programs for the month and prepare camps and such. At first I didn’t think we needed to meet like that every week, and I had told them so, but eventually I stopped telling them.

So for our planning meeting to make programs for September, I got to the place ten minutes early. They usually come as soon as they’re done with school, but I didn’t see them so I went to the house across the road where some kids were playing. There were a couple of circles where the kids had put some nuts, and the game was to throw an object straight up and pull the nuts out of the circle while it was still in the air, and then throw it again and push the nuts back in the circle. Some of the children had lemons that they were throwing, while others had some fruit I didn’t recognize and that was probably inedible.

As I waited for the scouts to arrive, I started messing with one of the games by putting rocks in the circle of nuts. One of the boys, seeing that I was trying to interfere with his game, scooped up the nuts and shoved them in his mouth.

“Mpho,” one of the ladies at the house said to me, “have you paid for the bread yet?” The place where we have our planning meetings, and where we held our recent camp, has a small bakery running out of it. They gave us twelve loaves of bread, but I hadn’t paid for it because I didn’t bring my wallet to the camp. The entire camp was paid for by donations from the school faculty and the community, but I was in charge of holding onto the money.

“Not yet,” I told her. “Who should I pay?”

She didn’t seem to understand the question so I went over to the place to find out myself. That’s when I heard voices from inside our meeting room. I opened the door and found the place full of scouts.

“You’re late,” one of the patrol leaders told me. “What should we do to punish you?”

“He should give us sweets,” another patrol leader offered.

“How long have you been here?” I asked them. “I was waiting for you outside.”

“We’ve been here for an hour,” the Troop Scouter told me. “School knocked off early so we came here. We’ve already made programs for September, and we’ve put time in the last two programs to start working on the next rank.”

It never ceases to amaze me how dedicated the youth in the community are. It’s almost as if they’re trying to put me out of a job. Last Friday school closed early and it was raining so I honestly didn’t expect anyone to show up, but we still had about 12 Scouts. We reviewed the South African national animals and played Mafia under the awning at the secondary school.

  1. this is quite touching. I’m proud of you and those kids.

  2. wow!!! i guess that’s the problem with our Western World–we have everything and appreciate little—so great to see you realizing and appreciating!! A friend of mine’s son is teaching in Bangladesh this year and he is having quite an experience–firstly dealing the poverty and general culture shock! What an amazing experience for you Zach! So impressed!

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