Today is Mandela Day. To celebrate Nelson Mandela’s birthday, July 18th is recognized as an annual international day. Many events take place in honor of Madiba, including several initiatives to give back to the community.
As a fun and educational activity for the kids in Gugulethu, a township 15km from Cape Town, Project Playground and ACTIVATE! organized an entire day of vegetable gardening. To support our friends who were involved, we spent the day helping out as volunteers.
This was such a great initiative to get kids involved, learning, and thinking about where their food comes from and how to nurture a plant in order for it to grow. To prepare for their arrival, we decorated recycled tires and planter bags with spray paint while other volunteers were in the kitchen preparing a meal for everyone to enjoy afterwards. Each volunteer was paired up with a couple of kids and together we were taught how to plant spinach, lettuce, broccoli, spring onion, and cauliflower. I was paired up with three young boys who really showed enthusiasm for this activity, as did the rest of them! It was fun to get our hands dirty, plotting the soil in the tires and planting our vegetables. All the kids were so excited to water their plants afterwards, you could tell they really felt accomplished with their work. It was such an empowering and humbling experience being around such positive energy! They were pretty well behaved and worked so well together, teaming up to help each carry bags of soil and watering each others plants. No one fought over tools, tires, and watering cans, they just helped each other out. It was so great to see, especially compared to the individualistic mentality that you see in many parts of the world. There was such a sense of teamwork and community involvement, it’s something we should all work towards, regardless of age, gender, race, and religion. The spirit of ubuntu is something that has always fascinated me as I truly believe that is the only way we will survive. Selfless giving and a sense of community is exactly what the world needs!
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” -Nelson Mandela