For five years, Mary lived in Cape Town and regularly took the children out for exciting excursions on the weekends. Now, she commutes to Cape Town once or twice a year for a month at a time. The older children have been on safaris, wilderness reserves and wellness retreats to learn more about their own heritage and art history. These outings give the children invaluable opportunities to encounter new experiences, such as art lessons and exhibitions, exposing them to everyday life and practices that would otherwise have remained unknown to them. Many of the children have never been to a real restaurant before or even used cutlery to eat a meal. In addition to this, good nutrition is also a vital part of maintaining the children’s health, ensuring that their bodies receive the proper sustenance for a good life. These outings show them another side of life, one where every moment is not a struggle, where food and fun are a reality and they can simply relax and enjoy the happy moments.
What the children love most though is when Mary takes them into her own home on weekends. For the past ten years, she has spent countless hours with them, teaching them how to swim and dive, cook and providing the children with general life lessons in a real home environment.
A Boy’s story
On one occasion, Mary and four of the vulnerable children from the townships children’s home, were on a weekend trip to the circus after having spent the morning at her home, bathing and having breakfast. While driving to the circus, a 7-year-old boy looked up from the passenger seat beside her and said “Mary, I don’t want to die.” After a heartbreaking moment, she turned to him and reassured him that if he continued to take his medications and look after himself with healthy food and a careful lifestyle, he could have a long, happy life, with even a wife and children. After hearing this, the little boy squeezed his eyes shut and was quiet for a long while. He then opened his eyes, nodded to himself, and promptly said: “Okay, so how much further to the circus?”