Water fights part of gardening

When a children's home has about 90 youngsters between the ages of one and 18, protecting them from injuries and diseases can be challenging.

When a children's home has about 90 youngsters between the ages of one and 18, protecting them from injuries and diseases can be challenging.

But the house mothers at Othandweni Children's Home in Soweto tackle the problem head-on - and they usually succeed.

The children take part in a lot of different extramural activities, including soccer, netball, knitting, music and dancing.

As is to be expected, most of the boys prefer soccer to vegetable gardening. But because the home believes that gardening develops many skills, the activity is compulsory.

This helps teach Othandweni's youngsters about eating healthy food and fresh vegetables. Many of the kids who help grow vegetables take those skills with them when they leave.

But some try to avoid activities at all costs. At the moment 12-year-old Kholofelo, or Kholo, always manages to avoid the digging.

An example is the day the children from Cottage 5 were diligently working in the garden. They all had their specific duties. Some were digging while others were asked to water the plants. Naughty Kholo splashed the children with water from the hosepipe while the children were working.

This started all the kids off, and soon there was a water fight and soggy shoes and clothes were lying everywhere.

After they had stopped they were all sent back to their cottages and were then bathed and their clothes washed to prevent them from catching a chill.

Despite Kholo causing the garden mayhem he now works on the vegetable patch most days - under the very watchful eye of Othandweni's handymen and gardeners. Hopefully Kholo will learn to appreciate the value of a vegetable garden and what it can produce.

l This article marks week 12 of the informative series aimed at encouraging a cleanliness regime among Sowetan's readers. It is a nation-building partnership of Sowetan, Othandweni and Dettol.

l Dettol is giving away hampers worth R500 as prizes for our readers. To win a hamper, SMS the word "Dettol" to the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society on 38008. SMSes cost R10, of which R5 will be given to the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society.

X