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  • Pizza Day at Pikkewyntjies

When we were asked to do something nice for someone instead of giving a present to family who are celebrating their ruby wedding anniversary, we suggested a pizza morning to Zaan and our cook, Louise. They were both enthusiastic because pizzas are a hot favourite for lunch and the kids only have them on high days and holidays because they can’t be made with lentils and soy mince. Money has been extra tight at school this year because despite the community’s help, many parents as well as the children needed help with food during lockdown.

Louise had everything ready when we arrived and boards, rolling pins and lumps of dough were solemnly distributed. Some strange ‘circles’ emerged but all were baked in orderly relays of four without Louise turning a hair. It took time but while they were cooking the kids wiped down their tables, spontaneously breaking into song. When everything was spick and span, everyone sat down to eat a sandwich to keep the wolf from the door till lunchtime. Not long after that the bases come back to their owners with paint brushes and tomato paste and a choice of toppings. One little boy heaped all the bacon on his pizza, but Zaan quickly pointed out his partner at the table had no bacon because he had made a mountain of it. Shamefacedly, he put more than half back. Another little boy made a pattern with the toppings on his heart-shaped pizza. I don’t know everyone’s names, just those of the stars and the ones with sad histories - the ones we inevitably notice.

Then it was playtime - on the stoep - because it was raining. We enjoyed a cup of tea while Louise with the help of one of the teachers baked pizzas four at a time, keeping track of whose they were. At lunchtime they were cut and served. The appointed one leapt up to say grace, they all chorussed ‘amen’ and silence reigned as they tucked in with appetite. Louise offered us a slice of the pizzas she had made for the adults - it’s good and we have a second slice. We also eat without talking. Then we leave them to finish their lunch without visitors, touched by the orchestrated chorus of thanks from the children but shy too because we would never have thought of doing this without prompting. Zaan asks to have her particular thanks conveyed too, for the kind thought and her felicitations to the anniversary pair.