On June 17, nearly 60 children from nearby villages gathered in Nan Hua Temple to participate in the annual children's camp. Due to riots in the villages, the event was canceled last year. This year however, the children had stormed bright and early to register at Nan Hua Temple. Welcoming them were students from the University of the Witwatersrand, University of Pretoria and other major University and Technicon around South Africa, who came far and wide with open arms, a bright smile and a warm embrace.
A total of 30 students came from tertiary institution from across South Africa, ranging from degree prospects to doctoral candidates. These youths arrived few days prior in preparation for the upcoming camp, setting up wonderful classes of painting, arts, crafts, monastery tours, magic shows, scientific experiments and endless hour of active play.
After the opening ceremony, the wonderful schedule made every child cherish every moment. Placing a thin piece of paper on the glass cup, tilting the cup upside down, and seeing no water pouring out, was truly incredible! The children held their hands up high, taking turns to try out each of these fun experiments. They had endless fun learning principles about vacuums and velocity to outdoor chemical reactions, making mini volcanos out of bicarbonate soda and household vinegar. Experiencing the marvel of science lit many interest within the children, as they showered the volunteer with endless questions.
In addition to classes like these, playing games and the three meal a day were what the children looked forward to the most. Not every child within the group had the joy of experiencing three basic meals a day, sometimes one or even not enough food. Though vegetarian, the children cleaned their plates every meal. Burger in the morning, fried noodles for lunch and their favorite French fries at night, they happily finished all the food and wanted even more! Even at their top speed, the SA YAD still had trouble keeping up the food service to the hunger mouths, but yet they worked tediously to satisfy every mouth and every pair of eager looking eyes.
June 18 was the parting day of these all so joyous days. The volunteers led the children early in the morning with exercise, dance, and games, as time flies ever so quickly when you are having fun the time for the closing ceremony was here. During the closing ceremony Venerable Abbot Hui Feng ask whether they would come back the next year, and all the children cheerfully scream “Yes”. From the hands of the Abbot, they receive a fully packed gift backpack and a thick blanket for the upcoming winter. Although the camp only took place over two short days and one night, the children cherish every moment. Being inspired to learn and enrich with knowledge, we wish them a beautiful and wonder holiday.