Howzit! Our entire team arrived yesterday and settled at basecamp just before midnight. I am feeling very blessed to be a part of this team, and confident that we now have all of the parts in place to make this project a huge success. Most of our gear arrived safely, our transportation (formally named “the beast”) is holding up great, our flying gear is phenomenal! We have connected with some really incredible and inspiring people that we can not wait to share with you! Forgive me for the longevity of this post, but I had one of the most incredible days of my life yesterday, and in order to give it justice, a prologue is in order!
No Danger Diaries
Marc and I met with No Danger Diaries first thing this weekend. This is a group of young adults in Cape Town that are giving back, and are making a difference through one special vehicle: FUN. They organized a “Secret Sunrise” (back to school theme) which consisted of over three-hundred people showing up on a beautiful bay at 6 AM. Everyone was given headphones to listen to a privately broadcasted dance party! We all danced together while watching the sunrise over Table Mountain. 50% of the profits from the “secret sunrise” went to a non-profit organization of their choosing, and they do this numerous times over the course of a month. We were stoked that No Danger Diaries contributed fifty-percent of the funds raised to an organization, near and dear to our hearts…. Ikhaya la Themba!
We figured our team needed to rest and sleep after a long journey across the world, so after returning at midnight, we woke up at 3:30am to prep for Secret Sunrise. The plan was to fly one of the volunteers from Ikhaya in a tandem with Marc, over the event and land, to then tell the crowd about the program and what they were doing in the community! The event was filmed by a local TV station called “Expresso.” Unfortunately, the weather didn’t line-up for us-- so we set up our hang gliders and paragliders in the large field and offered to “ground run” and kite for participants, to get their feet in the air and give them a quick taste of flying.
Secret Sunrise was a really incredible experience. We put the gliders down for a bit and joined the crowd with our headphones on, dancing and listening to the No Danger Diaries crew, who were MC-ing and leading the event. One moment was particularly memorable for me. We were asked to hold on to the arm of the person next to us and spin around while dancing and then switching partners to a random person next to us. What a great way to share joy, with random people, in such a simple, fun and humane way! There was nothing but people laughing, smiling, and dancing together at six in the morning! Being “under one sky” and ignoring the imaginary borders and boundaries between us is an underlying theme of our project, and was extremely present theme at this event.
This was a very inspiring morning that we were all very appreciative to have experienced.
Ikhaya la Themba (Home of Hope)
This NGO is run by Susan Hill, a close friend of Jonathan and Suzy (our Videographer and Producer). Ikhaya is a beautiful secondary school nestled inside of a township, which consists of a large amount of tin homes. Where the children of Ikhaya live. My first impression of Ikhaya la Themba was a “happy place;” a safe, secure, and extremely well-kept environment that would allow anyone to thrive and to feel safe. The vision of Ikhaya is to help children from grade 1-6 grow, learn, and have an area where they can let go and be themselves. A typical afternoon at Ikhaya includes up to one-hundred children (many of them orphans) arriving after a long day of school to a home cooked meal. They then have a fun classroom setting, where they are re-taught subjects that they are struggling with, by teachers from around the world! Everyone is really dedicated to their growth. When you see students hugging their teachers with greetings, you know it is a very special place! They have a large playground, a soccer field, and have really created a very special and fun place for these children to thrive.
Ikhaya’s first experience with flight
Next on our agenda was to meet the children of Ikhaya and spend the afternoon with them! Marc and I set up our gliders in the schoolyard for their arrival. Thank-you Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding for sponsoring a training glider for this! At 3 PM, they started to arrive from from their schools to Ikhaya la Themba. The children were ecstatic and curious and just filled with excitement! Marc would his paraglider up into the air and they would chase it, with screams of joy as it went up, and all run away from it as it came down. They were asking thousands of questions and begging to get into the hang glider and take pictures, as well as fly with it. It is incredible to see so many children full of courage, imagination, curiosity, and full of instant joy! We seem to live in a world where those characteristics seem to slowly fade as we get older.
As the bell rang, the kids all ran to their classrooms (some were hard to tear away from the gliders) to get their meal, and to start their homework with their teachers. We thought we would teach a short class about flight to help answer all the questions and explain how we fly. We quickly realized that these children were exhausted from sitting and listening all day and that they just wanted to play and have fun with these new people and flying machines around them. We explained how birds fly and how the wings worked before passing out 100 pieces of paper and teaching everyone how to build a paper airplane (one of my favorite school hobbies, as any of my old report cards will tell you ;)) The kids then drew a picture or wrote their name on their new plane, and Marc took them outside to have a contest and see who could get the best glide. Once they had found their plane and either packed it away or turned it in, we gave them each a One Sky Project sticker, which they absolutely LOVED!
My tattoo of Table Mountain created an incredible amount of curiosity, and I could barely keep my t-shirt on, as the kids kept pulling at it to touch and look at it. Long story short, by the time we left, most of them had used the stickers to make One Sky Project arm tattoos. Whoops!
Sustainable Garden Project
Ikhaya’s current project involves fundraising to create a sustainable garden that will feed their students, and allow for recycling in the township. This project could really make for an inspiring new model of getting rid of waste through composting, and cleaning up the area. If Ikhaya successfully funds this garden, the project would create an inspiring new composting model for the community and a phenomenal learning opportunity for its students. Additionally it would also sustainably eliminate food costs, relieving much of the strain on the Non-profit, and freeing up other areas of budget for the school. Please consider making a donation to our new and old friends at Ikhaya Le Themba.
Our Secret Sunset
Once we were completely exhausted from running the gliders around the yard, and switching kids in and out of the harness, we packed up and headed back to basecamp via a beautiful route along the coast. A big thank-you to Marc and Susan for insisting that we do this! The sun set along a gorgeous coastline, with the beautiful breaking waves setting a scene that just created an absolute peace. We were all filled with an incredible appreciation for having the opportunity to share happiness with so many inspiring people that are doing amazing things in such a beautiful place.
As the No Danger Diaries crew likes to say, go out and “SHARE THE JOY!”
-Brian Morris, One Sky Project
-Pictures by Jonathan Fambrough, One Sky Project.