Yesterday, prompted by another out-of-season, sunny day, some mates and i impulsively decided to have a picnic/braai on the grounds of the Swartvlei Caravan Park in Sedgefield, Knysna. Even more last moment was deciding that we would take some kids from Judah Square with us.
Thanks to Sista Kerri, who tracked down parental permission an hour before we got there, we gathered 4 lucky kids: Jehoven, Benjy, Empress and Mannie. That became 5 when Blake, a 2yr old, joined us with his parents, Keith and Monica. With us too were adults Nixs, Leone and Wikus.
This wasn’t an official Love Knysna Projects trip. Firstly, there was practically zero organisation on my part (in a rush, owing to a last moment opportunity to get information on a story i was investigating, i had forgotten firelighters, grill and tongs).
Secondly, i hadn’t related the rules of Judah Square to the new helpers with us so when one lit a cigarette, an elder came to (kindly) admonish us and quote from Rastafarianism.
Thirdly (again, as time was pressing), i’d unfairly chosen kids’ names without consulting Judah Square. Consequently, there was a rush of excited kids who hadn’t expected us… and some very unhappy faces (including tears) when we wouldn’t pack the 2 cars to the ceiling. Gosh, we felt bad but, thankfully, the day only got better.
Fourthly, i drank beer at the braai (yay for being a passenger), something i’ve never done on a kids’ trip and, particularly, with Rastafari kids (it’s against their religion). It felt more like being at a family do when i was younger.
At Swartvlei Caravan Park, which lies between the shallow, broad river and the beach, we were surprised to find only 3 other cars there (and 2 belonged to one couple). Such a stunning day yet we practically had the place to ourselves. BUT thank goodness for that lovely couple, who had romantically camped overnight, because they provided us with a much-needed grill. And a knife became our tongs. Those neighbours even loaned a kayak to the kids who bravely (i believe it was their first time) launched themselves into the water.
The kids loved the swings, lunch, naughty monkeys and kite flying, almost as much as that orange kayak but what seemed to be their #1 joy were the hot showers (they must have been in there, laughing, for at least 20 minutes). Let the lesson be learned by all of us – never take luxuries such as that for granted!
I’m normally paranoid on LKP trips, always expecting a kid to get hurt. It hasn’t happened so far but not being a parent makes it stressful for me. This time, however, i was relaxed. We could see the kids far over the flat park and the river was only knee high for approximately 100m outwards.
If you haven’t been before, i highly recommend that you take your family. And, having learned from a previous visit, the fish will jump out of the water if you stand still long enough.
We ended the day with 10 minutes on the beach where the kids giggled at cold water between their toes as they gesticulated wildly (see the photos) as if to say thanks to god.