- 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.
Saturday, 26 June 2010
Day Thirteen – Last day on-site
Today was hard work, both physically and emotionally. Eight of us went back to Russell and Precious’s house for the final push to get as much done as possible. John completed the rendering the top of both gable ends, but we ran out of fine sand and he was only able to do a scratch coat. He did manage to tidy up the back wall which had been rushed on Thursday.
Finally, he filled in the holes we’d had to smash in the end walls to support our makeshift scaffolding. As always, he was ably supported by Frank and Len on mixing duty.
Martin J and Steve did a great job of tidying up the site and we managed to fix up timber on the end of the roof joists to support the guttering, when it arrives. As with almost every other day, we started with high hopes of completing the steps/patio but left without quite completing the final concreting.
Today was probably the hottest day we’ve had in South Africa (I believe that it is quite warm in the UK as well at the moment) so we were all exhausted when the sun started to set.
We leave behind a very large barn, with good foundations, walls and roof. Lionsraw have a small team staying on in Durban to co-ordinate the final work on each of the projects. Although there is still a lot to do before Russell, Precious and the kids can move in, Lionsraw plan to have this work completed within the next two weeks and are negotiating with local builders to help. The Match of the Day cameras will be on-site on July 6th, so we look forward to seeing how much has been finished off by then.
Neil, Debbie and Alexandra Flint stopped en-route this morning to purchase a huge mountain of fruit and vegetables for Russell and Precious. The Flint family have firmly adopted the Sithembakuye project and will be back at Christmas, so if the step needs any more attention, I’m sure that Neil will be straight onto it.
As we were finishing off work today, a couple of very hungry young boys came to the house and Russell fed them and gave them some of the shirts which Len had left. It became clear that the two boys were living in terrible conditions with their Grandmother (Gogo) unable to cope. Russell spoke to their Gogo who allowed us to visit the home she has built, to see exactly how desperate live in the Valley can be.
About 400 yards from Russell and Precious, they live in two small mud huts with no electricity and no water and a very meagre pile of possessions. The round hut is not waterproof and washes away when it rains, so they have to sleep on the floor in the smaller hut until it can be rebuilt. One of the boys recently got sick and had to spend three months in hospital, probably due to smoke inhalation from the small fire which burns in the centre of the round house for cooking, warmth and light. Gogo receives 250Rand per month from the Government which only covers the cost of transporting the kids to school. There is nothing left over for food and it will be seven years before she qualifies for a state pension.
This really is the bottom of the pile and we were all hugely shocked to see the state of the family. Russell has promised to do all he can to look after the boys, so it looks as if the extra space at Sithembakuye has arrived just in time.