While we were waiting for our International leg of our trip, we did some pretty awesome things that perhaps we wouldn’t have ordinarily done.
One Thursday evening in August myself and Ladybug braved the after work traffic and took a road trip down memory lane – quiet literally. Our road trip saw us driving down the luscious streets of Westcliff, a suburb my paternal Grandparents had called their home for some 50 odd years. They lived in an original Sir Herbert Baker house, and Palinghurst Road was a street my Grandparents, Uncles and Father called home for many years. It’s also the street that myself and my cousins would walk down with my Grandfather as he took the Labradors out for their evening walk. In his younger days (both the dog and my Grandfather) we would go for long walks, sometimes encompassing the all famous Westcliff Stairs. Our walks would take us up to the top of Pallinghurst Road where the Avril Elizabeth Home is and where the Hope School is.
Destination known, expectations unkown
Our destination on that Thursday evening was the Hope School for their Annual School Concert. For those of you that dont know; the Hope School, a place that, as the name suggests, has been giving hope to convalescent and disabled children by providing them with a sound education to help them realise their future dreams. These kids are given a normal education and given a chance to feel normal in a world that is a little different to what they are.
Thursday evening, we traveled around the world with the Music Around the World Concert. Each Grade represented a different country. The show was like any other school concert, except the personalities of some of the kids on stage were 100 times larger than life. There were smiles and laughter in the audience, there was amazement and appreciation to what these remarkable kids can achieve with a little guidance from their teachers.
You were able to watch the kids for who they were, not what they were/are. Despite the wheelchairs, walking frames, crutches, the amputations… these were kids up on stage, enjoying themselves. They were being kids and loving every single moment of it. Ladybug, naturally, danced her way most of the show and she gasped in awe when she saw one of the amputees on stage because she was the same as her doll who is an amputee. My heart almost burst with pride because Ladybug saw no difference, to her they are all just kids like her.
It was simply mind blowing
The Grade that blew my mind was the Grade 12’s (Matric Year). They strayed a little from the around the world theme. Their dance was done under UV light; they were dressed in all black with only the glow sticks showing. With the obvious exception of the boy in the wheelchair, the rest of the kids were just like you and me. You couldn’t see their disability under the UV light, you couldn’t see that they were different in anyway.
Respect for the extraordinary
That night, I gained a new respect for these kids, for their teachers, the Physios, the OTs, the Nurses and for everyone involved at the Hope School. You are all doing an amazing job at raising extraordinary kids that will stand out in the community as exceptional young adults. I don’t think you get recognised enough for the hard work you do and the way you enable these kids to head out there into the big wide scary world that is a little bit different to them. Well Done.
I know that this definitely won’t be the last time that Ladybug and I are involved/support the Hope School. I look forward to many more adventures with the School.