It’s been a crazy few days. Running around a zoo with little kids was the one of the most enjoyable parts of the weekend that passed. Its amazing how they make you want to see life in a different way. The kids that I was running after was 7 out of the big batch that arrived from the day care and aftercare centre south of Johannesburg. Osizweni – a Zulu term for ‘place of help’ – looks after orphans or children coming from broken homes. It is an Islamic Relief project and I firmly believe that it is doing an incredible job.
Most of the kids [or rather all of them] had never visited a zoo before and the most they know about the animals are those they hear in stories. “Roar like a lion”… “meow”… “no a cat meows”… “ok”
A small conversation passed between myself and some of the little ones and volunteers.
“Whats big and grey and uses its nose to eat with?”
“My favourite animal is a baboon. Can we see that?”
We didn’t end up seeing the baboon though but a rather big gorilla which put on a splendid show for the kids by obliging and coming out of his little house in the enclosure and posing on the rocks before heading onto the ‘jungle gym’. Getting to leave that place may have taken a good half and hour of our time. Also it was about then that we started realising we had one little terror who wished to join the animals at every opportunity he got.
Little Eden kept us running on our toes but I thoroughly had a ball of a time with him. Unlike the rest who were quiet he and Yolanda – a pretty little thing with her corn rows and sunglasses – made my day. They were noisy, naughty and fun as little kids should be.
“So can you roar like a lion?”
The day moved steadily on. With loads of animals and really not much time to see them all, we minimised the animals we saw to keep it to the big ones and the ones they knew and recognised. Stamping towards the animals we came to the playful seals and Eden thought he could catch a swim with them. Nothing fazed him at all and this helped to get the others more and more involved.
Question – why does the lion enclosure and all the good animals have to be so so far away?
“I’m tired now. Its so hot. SIGH.”
“Let’s stop for a water break guys. Right everyone have some water.”
Lions, and tigers and bears and elephants and snakes and gorillas – lets not forget the snakes – thrilled them to bits. But where were the tigers hiding. “We can’t see them”.
Not knowing where they could be we walked towards a building that formed part of the enclosure. Strict instructions at the door. “Do not go pass the yellow line. You little ones hold on to an adults hands,” said the lady at the door. Fortunately she managed to catch us before Eden or Yolanda went through without us. “Where are they?” “There they are.” Seeing them Yolanda and Thembisile clutched tightly onto my hands. While thankfully John – an older child – had Eden by the hand while ‘Aunty Taahira’ and Aunty Dinah held the rest.
The day was broken with lunch and a rest and a birthday for one of the dear care givers at the centre.
I would write more about the events that occurred after including my run with the 3 older ones in our group from the main entrance to the croc area on the other side of the world but the story would just be a ramble.
Also check out the pic here.
**The care centre is an Islamic Relief project but huge thanks goes to Zeenat Ghoor for organising the countless volunteers and making sure we all had lovely groups of kids and to Aunty Lucy who did as much planning as anyone can to make sure the day was a success.**
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