On Sunday we had our third charity gathering. After the success of the blankets we decided to support the Greyville Methodist Church in their endeavours. They run a soup kitchen breakfast and lunch for a whole lot of homeless people every day of the week. And on Monday and Thursday nights they have a vehicle that picks kids up from the Point area and brings them to the church for a little singing and dancing, eating and playing. So Lynn and I went down there last night to deliver the piles of pasta, legumes and tinned tomato we had collected from our Sunday brunch guests yesterday.

I planned to just give the food, look vaguely at the kids and leave. Only that is not how it turned out at all. Of course it didn’t.

Those little blighters took all of about 2 seconds to wriggle their way under my skin. I looked at these bare footed, thinly clad children leaping with joy at the thought of a hot meal, gentle affection and 2 hours of safe space. Tiny little mites with skinny t-shirts on as we sat wrapped in scarves and woollies. One little boy with a swollen black eye squeezing his vision into a slit stood to one side, arms crossed and head hanging. Pre-pubescent girls with a mixture of eager naivety and world wariness in their eyes singing and clapping in a self-conscious way, grinning like the children they really are when they thought no one was watching.

And two hours later, with a belly full of biryani these 40-odd kids would be put back on the bus and driven back to the streets of Durban to walk home to whatever family structure they have. But maybe in addition to a full belly they will have a song in their heart and a sense that someone does care, someone does touch them with pure affection and not because they want something, someone simply is there for them because that is what adults are supposed to do for kids. And although I don’t believe in the god they are taught about, they are learning about caring for each other and being good people, and having hope – and those things I do believe in.

It broke my heart. And Lynn’s. We looked at the children, looked at each other and said ‘we’re fucked’. How can a person not do something, even if that something is painting pictures with 8 year olds for 2 hours on a Monday evening?

So guess where I will be every Monday evening for a while?

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