Letters of Appreciation

Maritzburg Christian School

Dear Babanango

This is just a follow up email to say a huge big thank you for all you did to help the MCS grade 11 camp happen. There are so many things I could say and I said many of them on the feedback form but I really feel that a picture says a thousand words in this case.

Maritzburg Christian School

In this picture Kevin is making sure that Bandile (our boy on crutches) got safely to where he wanted to be. I say this because Bandile could have stayed on the one side of the river, he did not have to cross but he wanted to be on the other side with his team and without having to ask, Kevin (always alert) made sure he got across and got back over the rocks and river safely. This for me is representative of the camp as a whole, nothing was ever an effort for any of the facilitators (Kevin, Humphrey & Dianne) and all three managed a great balance between pushing the learners out of their comfort zones yet remaining compassionate.

The grade 11’s loved this camp, as the facilitators would have heard on the last day when the learners spent some time thanking them, but I honestly have not heard them speak so highly of a camp in the 5 years we have gone on camps together. I asked Bandile how he enjoyed the camp and his words to me were “It was nice Miss Maher, I never felt like a burden to anyone.” If you remember when we first spoke on the phone that was one of my big problems with the last camp we went on and you assured me that it will not be a problem to accommodate him, thank you for being true to your word.

The camp was in one phrase ‘stress free’. You do school camps very well! Thank you
God Bless
Robin Maher
Maritzburg Christian School

St Johns Prep

Dear John and Meryn

From the bottom of our hearts, once again, an enormous thank you to you and your staff team for another incredible experience at Babs. It is wonderful to work with a team of people who are so willing, motivated, keen to assist and so attentive to all our needs. Anton has grown enormously in leadership, and Ryan’s depth of knowledge and skill in teaching and communicating were greatly appreciated. Brett’s cheerful fun and warmth drew lots of the quiet and needy boys out of their shells. Mdu’s quiet, fun and engaging personality warmed and cheered a number of the boys and we so appreciated his facilitation of the Zulu village experience. Mienke is fun, confident and got fully involved with the boys, Chrissie was so attentive to our needs and wonderfully hospitable, S’them is such a confident, largerthan- life personality and Campbell is so enthusiastic and committed – sacrificing life and limb to cycle to campout with the spade. Leonie, for the short space of time we had her with us was also so hospitable and great and we didn’t see nearly enough of Cara – she was fantastic with the one river study. It was also wonderful to see Jo and Janine again and to have their full support.

As always, Vim, Lethiwe and the other ladies looked after all our needs and our comfort so unobtrusively and attentively.

Hope that I haven’t left anyone out . . . I’m running out of adjectives and superlatives. I think that you probably get the message, though.

The experience was so good for our boys. I have had wonderful positive feedback from numerous parents about how their boys have changed and grown through the experience, and the boys themselves have given lots of positive feedback during their LO lesson (although they are probably less aware of how they have changed than their parents are).

I have copied some excerpts below from an email I received from one of the moms, which I thought that you would

“We are so grateful for what you have done for our boy. You promised a changed child and we got it. I am sure there will be plenty of hiccups and blips along the way but we are getting glimpses of such a mature decent caring person”.

“He loved the camp. We have had stories that have had us in stitches. He didn’t unpack the travel pack of toiletries so lovingly sourced and packed into a dinky toilet bag – the teeth were furry thank you!) And we were warned about the pong as they got into the car – not too bad in spite of the lack of soap – it was a lovely, loamy smell of the kraal and campfire and a sure sign that this boy had the kind of fun that I totally approve of…”

“So we now know how to make a tarpaulin big enough to (almost) sleep 5 boys in. We have the tricks and demonstrations of how to crawl to the lantern in stalk the lantern. Seven and a half litres of curry soup kept body and soul together as did the odd fishing sortie sadly interrupted by a vuvuzela. The chicken dance or voodoo dance done as a punishment was notfun but not all things in life are.”

“Well done to you all – our son came back and the FIRST thing he said and therefore the aspect that made the most impression on him was the fact that everyone got on so well – they were all in it together and there were no popular or unpopular boys (his words). This was the best news for me – at last he felt he that he was ok. This is a big deal indeed”. John and Meryn, thank you! What our boys are able to experience at Babanango through your hospitality and your willingness to accommodate and to partner with us on the programme, is something that will have a lasting impact which neither you nor I will ever know the full extent of. More than anything, it is time away from TV, cellphones, electric fences and security gates, where boys can be boys, catch fish, play in the river, explore, be independent and experience what city boys are increasingly missing out on. They see how simply it is possible to live, and appreciate how fortunate they are.

Thanks, too, for accommodating Dudu, Charne, Craig, Brigitte, Chiara and Gabrielle in the luxury of the lodge!

Warm regards