Absolutely shattered, but today has been the best day so far. We started early (5:55am alarm!) and managed to have much longer on-site at Russell and Precious’s house. The weather was perfect and the team clicked straight back into gear (after a cup of tea). Chris fancied having a go at bricklaying and under Paul’s expert guidance he lovingly laid three whole rows of blocks. Les and other Paul carried on with the rest of the blockwork and ended the day with all lintels in place.
Les has asked me to plug his business and remind you all that he offers very competitive rates and no job is too small.
Stevie G, John and Neil continued work on the front patio, overcoming all hurdles in their way. Len, Frank and Simon continued their sterling work mixing the cement, sand, water and washing up liquid (collectively known as “muck” or “gear”). Towards the end of the day, I foolishly offered to help out for a couple of mixes and I can definitely confirm that mixing is the hardest job in the team.
Len brought his prized collection of Leeds shirts to site and donated them to the kids in the house. They were hugely excited to get football shirts as they are allowed to wear these to school on Fridays and now they will be able to join in. Most of the rest of the team were unclear as to the exact benefit of wearing a Leeds shirt, but the kids seemed happy enough.
We were joined on site this morning by the BBC documentary crew. Andrew is filming the entire Lionsraw project and we should see the results of his work on BBC Look North and maybe even Match of the Day.
Talking to Russell today, we learnt that the Sithembakuye project is far more than just an orphanage. Russell and Precious’s work spreads through all the community, including a netball team, a football team, a choir and a weekly support group for “Gogos” (the generic zulu name for Grannies).
Today the netball team were proudly parading the trophy they won in a local tournament yesterday. We were also joined by about 50 Gogos, who shared their problems and enjoyed a healthy meal.
Some of the Lionsraw team helped to serve the soup and were shocked to see just how hungry the Gogos were. Russell explained that they receive about £100 a month from the Government, but they routinely spend all of this to feed all the children in their care, so rely on the meal which they get at Sithembakuye. Russell views this as an extension of the orphanage as without the Gogos, more kids would end up on his doorstep and he simply wouldn’t be able to cope. Apparently, one of the biggest killers of Gogos with HIV/AIDs is stress caused by looking after the kids, so the Support Group does all it can to improve their lives.
We’ve had a fantastic day in the Valley today – working hard, playing with the kids and learning more about the fantastic work which Russell and Precious are doing. Tomorrow we need joists to arrive, so that we can start to construct the roof.
- Len Hill, Martin Boyce, Steve Goodall
- We are three guys from the Isle of Wight that are flying to South Africa to work alongside other football fanatics as part of an organisation known as Lionsraw. South Africa 2010 is the debut Lionsraw Special Project. Lionsraw is taking a 130 strong squad of football fans to Durban, South Africa for two weeks during the World Cup. The Lionsraw team will operate in ‘The Valley of a Thousand Hills'', the epicentre of the World's HIV / AIDS crisis. Alongside existing local charities the team will help in ‘construction projects' and ‘soccer academies' for deprived local children during the day. Each evening the squad will retire to our fanzone for the full world cup tour experience.