I write this blog with mixed emotions. The joy of my memories made at Londolozi, especially in the Cubs Den, and the sadness of having to bid farewell to the Londolozi family. A family so beautiful, kind, caring, creative, compassionate, innovative and inspiring.
Months from now I know that I will look back at these moments with the fondest of memories. Memories that will be so vivid in my every day life because they are all etched with the valuable lessons and skills I have learnt and gained from all the children who have filled the Londolozi Cubs Den with light and laughter.
This Tree of Life, which stands proud in our new Cubs Den, signifies the growth and importance of children. Their hand prints, some small and some big, bring an array of personalities, bright colours and stories to a tree that was once bare against an empty wall. This tree will now live and continue to flourish with every visit of a child to Londolozi. I, like the tree, have grown and gained so many valuable lessons from these children.
They have taught me the importance of asking questions as well as how to open my eyes. They have shown me how things that are an every day phenomenon to some, such as seeing an impala or riding in the trackers seat, can be sheer joy to others. They have shown me what a radiant smile or a warm chocolate chip cookie can do and encouraged me to be creative with the natural resources that Mother Nature provides. I have learnt to truly live in the most wonderful playground a child could dream of. She provides river sand to build castles, fresh water to fill the moat, a wonderful array of grass species to make turrets, drift wood to add bridges and smooth colourful stones to make doors and windows with. I have spent my days learning to cast and untangle fishing lines, create the perfect plaster of paris mixture for a leopard track, make s’mores to rival the best as well as how to step back and notice the beauty around me at all times. I have also learnt the importance of listening intently to a 10 year old about his love for galaxies and his theories of space and aliens because you never really know what you may learn.
These children have shown me the beauty that every stage of life brings and holds. Although they are young, they are able to illuminate the joy of having a family, the love of a grandparent, the deep bond and loyalty between siblings and what laughter does to a once quiet room.
Above all they have taught me the importance of dreaming, the art of patience, the beauty of things large and small, the value of curiosity, how we should embrace our lives, the joy of being a child and the never ending awe of what Mother Nature has to offer and teach us all.