Fifty Union High School Grade 5s recently enjoyed a great reward outing to the farm Slingersfontein, as well as to the biggest inland water mass in the country, the Gariep Dam.
After departing from school early Monday morning, 28 October, the group first made a pitstop at the home of Barry and Suzette Norval, where the children played on the zipline, jumping castle, trampoline, swings and various other play equipment.
After all their pent-up energy had been spent, they journeyed forth to Slingersfontein. Upon arrival at the farm, the group were first taught how a windmill works and is maintained, after which Mr Anthony Murray spoke to the learners about the Boer War as well as the Slingersfontein farm’s pivotal role in it and then proceeded to show the children where the British had made camp during that time.
The group then hiked to the area where New Zealand soldiers had laid down their lives and viewed the monument erected in their honour. Mr Murray then shared his collection of war artefacts, explaining to the children in detail what each item was. Yaseen Kazi was then given the exciting opportunity to ignite a small quantity of gunpowder.
The learners loved hearing about the war and found it most interesting. They also perused the farm’s collection of animal skulls and tried to identify which animals they’d been.
The ladies of the farm prepared a tasty lunch of mince and vetkoek and juice for all the hungry youths, after which the group continued their journey to the Gariep Dam’s Forever Resort. Upon arrival at the campsite, gale force winds made the pitching of the tents quite difficult, but, with the help of kind and caring parents, the job got done with all the kids being taught a valuable lesson about perseverance!
When camp was established, all the kids enjoyed free play time of their choice. The night was cold and windy, but in the morning everyone experienced a genuine appreciation for their warm and comfortable beds and homes. Having survived the harsh conditions, the learners are definitely stronger for the experience.
A tour where the learners got to explore some of the13km of passages and halls within the Gariep Dam’s wall, was very interesting and informative. The children were amazed to learn that it took six years, from 1966 and 1972, to construct the dam.
The excursion concluded with lunch at the Colesberg Wimpy. Needless to say, the busses were much quieter on the return trip, as most children used the time to catch up on lost sleep.
Union extends its thanks to Zanel and Anthony Murray, as well as Barry and Suzette Norval, for their wonderful hospitality and assistance. The school also extends its thanks to the Forever Resort as well as to the officials from the Department of Water and Sanitation for their excellent service while touring the wall.