The end of fire…

As the winter chill was was worn away by the sun’s rays this morning in Muizenberg…a group of more than 20 children between the ages of 6 and 12, made their way down Wherry Road from Planet  Kids to the vlei. They were carrying an assortment of objects all made of wire mesh, newspaper and straw! There was a palpable presence of excitement in their eyes and voices as they walked…their steps were taking them to a braai area near the river where they were going to burn their recently created fire sculptures!! Their diversity was reflected in the forms they carried in their arms. There was a snake lying on a log, some hearts, a 3-d African lady with a bowl in her hands, a submarine, torch, pentagon, small person with wild hair, even a cat that was a 101 years old!

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So this was the last day of the week long exploration of fire. Children burned their sculptures with a huge amount of excitement and almost rapturous delight. They would light it themselves (with some support from me of course). We covered their sculptures with paraffin, lit a long handled torch so they could they light their sculptures from a safe distance. The first sculpture to be lit was surrounded by the entire group…waiting and watching…impatient and noisy. Everyone wanted to be in the front row! It took a lot of self-sacrifice for the bigger children to stand further away to let the smaller, younger kids see too. It was a riveting experience to see a creation transform from straw and newspaper to a raging fire.  There is something powerfully beautiful about fire…even during the daylight. Though I think it would have been very dramatic to have the sculptures burnt at night. Next time when we have an overnight camp…we can try it again.

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We spent the afternoon walking together from Muizenberg beach to St. James along the walkway next to the ocean. Everyone was tired after a long, busy week so we took it easy. At the beach, the children explored rock pools and played in the water. The weather was perfect, a balmy 20 degrees. We found all kids of living creatures in the rock pools and collected shells from the sandy beach. It was too cold to swim by it was a nice reminder of summer and the freedom of warm summer days. We walked back to Planet kids arriving in time to meet parents coming to pick their children up and say good bye.

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