On Sunday 20th June 2010 Steve Tamarapa, Anh-Dao Pham, Luke Collins, Manu Maihi-Ioane, Sherrie Wharewaka and Kirsty Leedom headed up the Whanganui River to Jerusalem, staying at St Joseph’s Convent. We were there to put on a week of activities for the 16 students (from 6 to 12 years old) at the Whanganui Awa School. The other groups staying in Jerusalem at the time were a theatre performing group, a film crew and a Brazilian back packer. We fitted in very well!
Activities in the course of the week included endless rounds of bang, jockeys up and grandma’s keys; the girls helping the children with their school work and the guys helping out at the convent doing odds jobs for the sisters; and a mini world cup (gumboot throwing, skipping, a puzzle hut and multiple relays).
Towards the end of the week we wrote affirmations for each of the children to help them be aware of their talents and to make them feel special. These were presented to the children on Friday. They, in turn, gave us cards of appreciation that they had made.
The five days spent with the awesome students were nothing short of exhausting with the endless piggy back rides, bull rush games and kids pulling us in all directions wanting to show us things; it was exhilarating, though, to see the energy, enthusiasm and curiosity of these kids. All of us will remember the experience with delight.