- 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.
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Day Eleven - Happy Birthday Paul
Len, Steve & I are enjoying a wonderful experience in South Africa: changing lives, playing and watching football, making new friends. Each of us owes this opportunity to Paul Meredith, Pastor of Ryde Elim Church, who signed up for this trip before any of us, but was cruelly prevented from travelling due to illness. We all wish Paul was here with us and we continue to pray for his full recovery. Friday is Paul’s birthday, so it seems appropriate to let him know that he is not forgotten. Lionsraw are building new changing rooms at Inchanga School and these are dedicated to Paul. Inchanga School has 1,000 pupils and the current facilities are completely inadequate, so this project will make a real difference to all these children. You may remember that we visited Inchange School to help with the feeding programme on Tuesday.
The building materials for this project were paid for by AJ Wells (www.ajwells.com) who have been massively supportive of the Lionsraw work. Thanks guys.
At Russell & Precious’s house, today was the last day on-site for the full team. Although there will be at least six of us back in-site on Saturday for one last day, the professionals are heading home and it feels that the sun is setting on our South African adventure. Everybody worked doubly hard today, despite scorching heat, and we managed to get the roof finished and all the walls rendered. Phil and John, in particular, put in a massive shift up on the roof fixing all the tin. Paul D completed the last of the blockwork at the gable ends and Paul M and Neil did a fantastic job to get the rendering (almost) finished. Paul even took time out to show me how to do some rendering and although he was very kind about my efforts, I suspect that he could have better used the time it took him to sort it out afterwards. Steve and Neil’s step / patio isn’t quite complete, but half a dozen of us will be back on Saturday to help them with one last push to the finish line.
It has been a real pleasure to work with the team at Sithembayaku: although we all have different skills and abilities, everybody has worked really hard and done all they can to get the build as near to completion as possible.
There has been plenty of banter, but very few cross words, so huge respect to:
Phil ‘the gaffer’ Hillsdon
It would have been wonderful if we’d had more equipment; if the water hadn’t dried up at the most inconvenient times; if the electricity had been always available – but these frustrations are daily battles in the Valley and the consequences are far more serious for the residents. We have always managed to overcome and the experience has taught us a great deal. Russell and Precious and their kids have been wonderfully inspirational and to see the joy in their faces makes all the aches and pains fade away.
We’ve posted our favourite pictures onto the blog, but we have taken literally thousands over the past couple of weeks and Len has posted hundreds of them onto his facebook site. So if you use facebook, search for Len Hill and you can catch up with more behind-the-scenes footage.