Goodbye with Sitabogogo coincided with their Christmas Party at Castle Rock, a local campground with an expansive, free-standing covered patio. Possible rain must be planned for but, happily the weather was perfect. Musa organized the gogos into teams of six and they had good fun practicing their various sports skills. He announced there would be a Water Bottle Race and, eying four 5-litre jugs, I figured it would be some sort of relay as a team carried the jugs to and fro. But wait – this is Africa – the gogos balanced them on their heads and RAN. Several heats of four at a time. Awesome! Got it on video and some good still shots. Tremendous cheering and encouragement from the sidelines.
Then they decided I should have a go. Let me tell you, those jugs are heavy. And although a few gogos occasionally put up a hand to adjust the bottle, my hand was glued on all the way. In the final 25 meters and trailing at dead last, I tucked the jug under my arm like a rugby ball and sprinted, amidst hoots of laughter and cries of “Cheat!”
The gogos eagerly received the 2012 calendars from Grannies à Gogo and flipped through with absorbed interest.
We feasted on a hot meal of boerewors and chicken, stiff mealiepap, sauce, and coleslaw, and in the African custom, I ate the entire meal with my fingers.
In the end they asked what song I wanted for their goodbye. I asked for Siya Hamba because that’s the tune our Vernon Grannies have recently adopted as our own re-written ‘anthem’. The gogos obliged in spades, their voices wheeling in harmonies as each came forward in a rhythmic, shuffling line. Hugs, thank you’s, God blesses, a few tears – such a felt attachment pulsating in my chest! How I wish I could share this aspect of “my” Africa with more of the amazing Canadian women who work hard to fundraise and support this special group of gogos. Salani kahle! ~ Susan