Friday, 30 July 2010


Hi Lynne again. Days without being able to get on internet and so much has happened!
On Wednesday we went to Bushbrook Ridge and split into three teams at the deworming stations. They were eating chicken's feet! We gave out tablets, peanut butter sandwiches, an orange, bag of crisps and a cup of squash. Then we played games with the children. They were fascinated by our hair and skin colour.
On Thursday we went to a kindergarten - children 3-6 years, plus some babies. They were the poorest of the poor orphans, with nothing and nobody. All they wanted was someone to play with them and hug them. Unlike the children the day before, they wouldn't share their balls that we took for them to play and jealously guarded their 'momma' or 'poppa'.
Today we had our debriefing at Hands @ Work and travelled back to Mercy Air. Some of the party are going to Baby Bear at Durban tomorrow. On Sunday some are going to Mozambique for four days and three nights. As for the rest of us - we are demolishing a building, as carefully as possible to make sure nothing is wasted!
Miss you all at home - Mom I will try to read your email soon, not bad your first email at 87 years old! Got to go now. Love and blessings.
hi its Robyn
We have finally managed to get an internet connection so this is my first blog on the site.
Hopefully from now on we should be able to up to date regularly hurray :)
I have now completed a week at Hands At Work and I have thoroughly enjoyed it as well as been challenged and moved by all the wonderful work completed by the volunteers. My favourite aspect from the week has got to be visiting patients houses as part of the home care visits with the volunteers as I was overwhelmed by the welcome that I recieved from all the patients and the joy and happiness that I saw on their face when me and Cathy came to their doors. I found it such a privelidge to be welcomed into their homes and and be told about their life and to see their houses which were amazingly clean and tidy even though they had very little. I will never forget the offer that a patient Jessica offered me to do which was to come back to her house and live with them for a weekend and learn aspects of their life as well as them learning things from me.

The most challenging aspect of this week so far has been coping with 'Africa Time' as i'm told that you can never be late in Africa which can be quite hard to follow when we have to get up very early and then we end up waiting around to find out what to do in the day but we knew it would be challenging!!

Robyn xx

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


Hello all,
Today has been rather different for me. I went to a South African Hospital, Well what happened is the last day i have been very tierd even though i slept all night, Also my hand was shaking, so everyone got worried even tho i was perfectly fine, Well anyway this morning everyone insisted on taking me to hospital. I didn't really want to go, but they wanted me to.
When i got their i had to be Examined and then i had to have a blood test, she put it in one arm and no blood would come out so she had to do it in my other arm. After this we had a long wait to get the results, Me and Jip Went and had some lunch, We got our lunch and eat it, Once we had finished the results were in.... She said everything was fine except i had tics or something which is from a bite. She gave me some medicane to take and now everything is fine... Well thats all. Oh Shane told me the other day that im not fine and now he keeps on making me say, Shane is always right.....

Cant believe that we leave tomorrow! Im going to miss everyone here! Were all having a real good time here and we all dont want to leave.

See you all soon!
Danni x x
Hello there its Abbie again, we are going to go home tomorrow and to be honest I don't want to. I miss my family, and mom please stop stressing i have no credit I haven't died hehe. But
I will miss all the people I am with, we have become lie a really close family everyone playing different roles, Jip like mom Shane like big brother, its brilliant. I will miss the setting as well, you will never see anything so beautiful in all your life. I have loved it here, and I had an amasing day to day with the children, there was this lad and eh clung on to be for hours, he was so lovely I gave him my braclet and as I left him I had to try not to cry. I will miss africa so much, and it has made me3 think abotu what I want to do with my life or at least soem of it, I most deffinatly want to come back out here for a few years.
I would just like to thank Richard for aranging it, and all of the staff for being there for me and looking after us all. I would like to thank all of the girls, we have all got on so well and I was been by far one of the best two weeks of my life, truly amasing, unbelivabley so, we have cried and been there for each other through the bad times and in the prosess have some aposultly wicked laughs, I will miss all the girls and we all witht the teachers need to need up again, I will miss Rose, Richard, Liz (especialy) and Andrew and Sam loads aswell, I hope they have a lovely holiday and I will see thejm when they get back.
Lastly thankyou to evreyone back home for all the support, love you alll see you soon.
Abbie Cartwright over and out xxxx

Lottie (:

Hellooooo, My last blog today, so lets make it a good 'un eh? ;D
My whole experience here in South Africa, has been amazing, through the highs and the lows, I've loved every second, but now I am excited to go home. There are parts of the trip that will always stick in my mind, and I'm glad of that. I have taken loads of photo's but really I don't need them as reminders for myself, as they have made such an impact on me that I'll never forget most of the things I've seen, but I can show them to other people and tell them the stories behind each photo, and hopefully make an impact on someones life at home.
I think this trip hasn't changed me as a person, but I do think has added to me as a person, I'm still Lottie, but in a way I'm more of a Lottie, as I think I've learned a lot about myself, as well as others. I am going to try not to take anything for granted anymore, and try not to be so wasteful, and complain a lot less about what I get, and not complain if I don't get what I want as I used to, because I've met many many people/children with a lot less, in fact, they have next to nothing, which is why I've given a lot of the clothes I've brought over to hands at work for the people who truly need it.
I want to thank Richard and everyone from hands at work and mercy air, and the teachers, and everyone else who played a part in getting us over here for this amazing experience.
To Finnish, I'm going to say that I'm missing Everyone, Momma, Matt (not you Luke, sorry (: ) Benji, June Gordon, Uncle Bacon, Uncle Kim, Auntie Kim and Val, and mostly Andrew, I Love you all, and I'm lucky to have every one of you.
See you in 2 days,
Love Lottie
Hello everyone , cant actually believe that we are going home tomorrow ! we have been doing lots of hard working last week but not much this week because we all had 3 days no working but today we went to clinic, and we had to play with children while thier parents or someone in the clinic. they get lonely if we werent there also it was so emotional and very sad because i hate leaving people not seeing them again! when i go home i would deffinaty changes my personatly and everything esle. hope you all are okay and sorry i havent sent anything on the blog past of the weeks because i have been focus on this and last weeks . on monday we all went to Natural park we saw lots of different types of animals . mostly i saw an elephant but i feel so bad because them people who live next to it cant affords to go and WE CAN !! See you lots soon and we know we all miss you especially family and friends . lots of love Georgia xxx

hello :)

hey everyone its hannah

going home tomorrow and i cant belive its gone this quick yet it feels like we have been here for months. i really dont want to leave but missing everone back home.

This past week has been really good as we have moved to mercy air and we have had very differnt accomodtion. I personally felt guilty as it was so nice and i no many of the others did but you become more greatful for what you have in the first place.

But today we have been to a creche for young children while there mothers are working in the banana planation a few miles down the road. It was more diffcult to meet these children as not many understoode= english as as they dident you dident no there names.

Anyway i really dont want to come home but the good wrok is carrying on with commuinty team so good luck to them next week and see u when get home

love hannah xxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


herlooo its ryan and its a very nice place.


It seems ages since we were gathered on the car park! The journey was interminable but at last we arrived at Johannesburg airport. Julie got taken away for being too hot and I got pulled out by a sniffer dog for having fruit!
Eventually we got to Mercy Air, after another 4 hours in the car. We were happy to catch up with the school party for one night only and were amazed at how they had been challenged and changed in the first week.
The next day we went to a fantastic church service, at Hope of Glory church, which lasted three and a half hours! I haven't got the words here to even start to describe it! After lunch we parted company with the schools group and came to Hands at Work village. Now we were really in Africa! Though some of our party were convinced it was Cannock Chase!! We had our orientation talk off Carolyn Snyman and prepared for an early start.
On Monday we were doing Home Based Care in the community - going out with the care workers into peoples' homes. Words are not enough to explain how emotional that was for us all. Everybody was treated so well, by people who have so little hope, but are so cheerful. We went to see a boy called Stevie - 7 years old and the happiest little man you could ever wish to meet - but he is HIV/AIDS and confined to bed - the medicine he was having reacted badly and made him worse - the highlight of his life is when his mom can get Pampers for him. I took to him straight away and was privileged to sit on his bed and hold his hand. I thought of my own 7 year old granddaughter back home, and the difference in their lives! Afterwards we went elsewhere and cleared a vegetable patch.
Today was completely different - physically challenging. Half of us moved 1000 huge building bricks while the other half climbed up a rock face and dug a trench for the water to flow down.
Sorry this is so brief but I will fill you in when we return. Tomorrow we are going to carry out the deworming programme at a school quite a long drive away.
Catch you later!
Love and blessings from us all here.


Hi everybody at home - Lynne here. We have been very frustrated not to get on the blog and I have already crashed it twice tonight! I am going to save this now and talk to you in a minute.
Hello everybody we miss you lots!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Hello again its Abbie here in the amazing Africa. The past few days we have done sight seeing and it has been incredible , south Africa truly has some of the most beautiful servery in the world. It still dosnt disguise the fact that it is stricken with povety, one of my new africa revolutons is ot only eat when im hungry and finsh evreything aswell, so smaller portion sizes im thinking mom. Today I did a typical thign of "oh im really thirsty!" so went and brought a can of fanta had two sips and didnt want anymore, what a waste, I obviously do not know the true meanig of thristy. I felt so guilty on the way home, seeing people wander past carring water, possibly carrying it for miles, and quing to fill the water up from taps for ages. And I was there with my fanta that I didnt want that siome children would proberly kill to have, to help kill there thirst. I wanted to stop the car and get out and give it to this child I saw quing for water. Another example of how I take simple thigs for granted. I better go now we got up at half four so it has been a logn day.
Love evreyoneback home xxxxxx

Saturday, 24 July 2010


Hi all
i did write a long blog earlier but it got deleted so this one will be a bit shorter.
Yesterday we moved to Mercy Air it is really nice here but we all feel spoiled to be here.
Today we went to a canyon it was really beautiful.
Then we came back to Mercy Air, we had a flight in an plane, the pilot was Paul, he has been at Mercy Air for 7 Years and he is origainanly from England. It was really good.
I am going to blog more tomorrow.
Everyone is doing fine.
Missing home lots,
Danni x x

Friday, 23 July 2010

jesika :D

hey everyone, i haven't blogged since the airport :S this past week has been so emotional and upsetting and happy and confuzing and a lot of other things. i tink it has recently today sunk in that i am actually in africa and that i have been into such poverty in a completely different culture. i have seen so many life changing things in one week. i would never have thought before this trip that 6 days in this country would completely change my life forever.

Iabsolutely adore this country, the people here are so welcoming and lovely. on my first full day in africa we went to church because it was a sunday. within 10 seconds of me walking into the room where the service was being held i had multiple sets of arms around me and people taking my hands to show me to my seat. at that moment was when i realised i had entered into a completely different world. no one was complaining and everyone acted asif they knew eachother like one massive family. the people in south africa make it so much easier to believe in everything they mention in the church. i never thought i would be so eager to go and spend 3 hours in church. it is such an amazing experience just to be in the church, i reccomend it to anyone who ever chooses to come to africa for future visits, i know i will!
Onmy second day i went to a primary school. when we arrived the children diddnt want to get close to us and some diddn't even aknowlege our prescence, after about half an hour we had them swarmin round our feet begging us to "shoot them" which in africa means to take a photo. they all had such beaming smiles even though they diddn't have anything to play with in their playground. we walked around geting to know the children at first then we were introduced by the head of the school and all of the children seemed intrigued by us. i could tell that lots of them wanted to ask questions but they diddn't know how. we started off by saying our names to the cyhildren then we sang a few songs. one song that we sang, all of the kids enjoyed and at one point a little boy about as high as my waist got up onto the stage and started to dance with us. my mouth dropped. it was absolutely amazing!!! then he gave all of the other children the courage o come and dance too. it started off with about 9 or 10, but when we finished we had nearly 50 kids up with us. de-worming after that was interesting and emotional, i saw a young boy with bright red eyes and sores on his face staring at me. he looked so sad. after a while i notied he was staring at the bag of bread i had in my hand. i felt so helpless when i was giving out that food because i knew that this was probably the first meal they had eaten in days and all i could give hem was a little sandwich, most of the kids that day needed a little attention. when i hugged some, heir arms wrapped to tight and i felt like i never wanted to let go.

anyway im waffling on a bit. im going to beddybies now. i will blog again when i can :D hope everything is good for everyone in england. night night. xxx

Thursday, 22 July 2010


Hello everyone! It has been a very long day, Everyone is doing ok but we are tired.

Today we had to get up at 6:00Am, But Hannah Woke us up a bit later, we all got ready and we left around 8:00Am, Today we were going to do homebase-care and de-worming again, luckily the drive to where we were going to be for the day was only around the corner, When we got their we were introduced to all of the group, we did the African Hand Shake. After we had meeten everyone we walked up and down the street and they were singing a song, i think it was something to Health because they were holding up signs about health, but im not really that sure because i couldnt really understand them, After we did this we spit up in to smaller groups so that we didnt over crowd a small house. I wasn't really looking forward to going to homebase-care because i didn't want to get upset. We had a short walk around the corner to someone's house. I was expecting it to be a small house that hardly anything in ( Because this is what you see on the T.V) we got to the house and it was quite big and it had a T.V, Carpet, They had 2 bedroom's and elecricity, I was really surprized to see this. In the house that we went to their was a husband and a wife living their, The wife was ill but not seriously ill, and the husban was looking after her, when we got their we were greeted by them, they were really welcoming. We helped them to clean their house, i did some sweeping up and brushing. I went outside and i met a small girl who was called Suzi, She was shy a first but then she started to help me sweep up, and then i took a picture of her and she started to play wih me. When we were ready to go she wanted to come with us and she started to cry.

After we had finished in their home we wen back to where we were de-worming, we had our luch and then i helped make some peanut-buter sandwhich's, by the time i had finished makeing them some children came and i started to play with them and talk to them, It was really good to talk to them because it was intresting to see what they had got to say, we were playing with them different games. We played with them for a while.

After we had finished at the de-worming place we went back to hand's at work, we had some tea, and now most of us our packing ready for tomorrow! :)

Missing everyone loads!
Speak to you soon!
x x x
Hello again everybody, its Abbie here again. I hope you are all ok and everything is alright back in England.
Today we all went on a home based care visit and also did de-worming in the afternoon. It was a truly fantastic day, I'm temped to say the best so far, but currently i have said that every single day. When I arrived I was in a group with Shane Amy-Leigh and Miss Allen. The first man we saw, he had diabetes and had to have this one leg amputate due to an infection related to the diabetes. Also he was admitted into hospital for eight months with TB and the hospital kept on chaining his medication due to various effects it was having on him. He said that his life was terrible and it was hard with out an nonelectric wheel chair.
Then the next home we went to there was a woman who was looking after her mother and her sister, the sister had had her husband and daughter pass away. She was also blind. When we asked how old her mother and sister was she didn't know, but went to get the passports, her mother was 100 and her sister 82, still at 100 the woman was so lively despite not being mobile and was so pleased to see us.

Then we did de-worming and I played with the children there was these few girls that just wouldn't let go of my hand, one of them was called princess, and she repeated everything you said which was rather funny and cute. Her sister was called Antonia, she was ten years old, I asked her who lived with her, sh said me and my sister princess. She was ten and the head of the house. Its not right, such a small child who should be playing in the street with her friends has to make sure her and her sister say alive, and healthy, to much pressure, and to be honest it made me cry. We are so spoilt and really so much on well placed systems, we forget others don't have that and have to fend for themselves way to much. I have loved the last few days, and I love the children, but behind some of their happy exterior their are problems, and we need to help resolve them.
Love everyone back home xxxxxx
Hello everyone :D, Lottie here, Today I want to share a couple of things that really affected and upset me, firstly, we went on a home care visit, where we met an 81 year old lady named Maria, Maria has been blind for 11 years. Her house was a tiny hut, which didn't have much in it, and it didn't smell too good, plus she had had to wee all over the floor, as she didn't have a toilet near by. In the area there is a lack of water, the care workers wanted to bath her but there was no water available. She didn't think she had any food, and we found out that she hadn't eaten since Sunday (today being Thursday) and the care workers gave her some food hey had found, even though it had been there since Monday without Maria knowing. She then told us that she had a special allowance, to buy things she needed such as food, but it went straight to her grandchildren, but they don't give it to her, so she has nothing.
Then we went on to De-worming, it was very upsetting to see that many of the children, if not all, had either ripped clothes, clothes that didn't fit or no shoes on, and many had blown up belly's from a lack of food, and all of the young children looked really scared, so I did my best t make them feel comfortable.
Today has really opened my eyes to the problems these people face, and made me realise how lucky I am and how much i take things for granted.
I miss all of my family, and Andrew, I can't wait to see you again, I'll never take any of you for granted again, I know how lucky I am to have you now. xxxxxxx

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

A wonderful team...

All the group are in bed now, & before I go I wanted to pass on what a wonderful team the students and staff and youth workers have been.
The photos above show some of the scenes, (too many to show now) of todays visit to a feeding programme ... more details below. Milly Humphis-getting stuck into some washing up, Africa style and also the orderly and polite queue of boys & girls waiting for thie food, as some of our team helped to serve them You may be able to see, Georgia Siverns & Amy Leigh, as well as Tina Aplin & Dawn Allen. The large pots in the foreground were used by local volunteers to cook the maize meal porridge... the size of themgives you an idea of how much food was cooked and needed!

One of the South Afirca team who we worked with today said to me what a great team our group were today. They really got alongside the children we met and gave them time, fun, and attention, which they get so little of as most of them we met today had lost both parents though HIV/AIDS or related illnesses.

So if you a parent of one of the students with us... you cane be really proud of how they are digging deep and giving of themsleves in situations that are emotionally trying for us all.

The team of local volunteers we met today though are truly remarkable... they are the real heroes of what goes on here. We were in a region called Bush Buck Ridge... and each week day, a team of unpaid volunteers come to a community building, and cook a hot meal for the 60 or more orphaned and vulnerable children. This is in addtion to their work as mum, wife, gardener etc etc. Before they were given the use of a community building they did this from their own homes! And this remarkable work of compassion goes on quietly, in so many communities throughout South Africa.

Hands @ Work provide the back up and invite overseas donors to give to support the purchase of food (Maize Meal and beans). The idea of caring for those in need in the community is really strong... I can't help thinking that we have a lot to learn in the UK from the generous giving of time and effort and care to those in need.

We have our last full day with Hands @ work tomorrow and then Move to Mercy Air on Friday after a closing service & time of sharing.

Thanks for your comments and responses, it's a real encouragement to the team to know that people are interested in what we are experiecing and witnessing.

Thank you and God bless.... Richard Westwood

Hey all :)

Hey :) its hannah (or momma J as i have been renamed by the group)

well its almost a week and i cannot belive how fast it has gone. We have met so many differnt people in so many differnt stuations and we have all grown really close as a team.

Today i think was my biggest reality check of all as i met a girl who was exactly like me called Tamba (who is left of me in the picuture) she wanted to go down the same carrer pah and was my same age apart from she told me she cant go to universite so cant have the job. this really shocked me and has upset me for a while but i really hope she can achive her dream. the second girl in the photo is called City who spoke amazing english. She told us she spoke english as her mother died in 2001 and her mother told her the way of remembering her would be to speak english. There was many kids with simalr stories and it homed in on what the prject was about

Anyway sorry if i bored you as i do know how to babel

Really missing home. Mom Dad Meg Dan Laura Summer Nan Grandad Nan Auntie Mary and many more but if i carry on i will run out of room

Good Night anyway and see you all soon

Lots of Love

Hannah ( and Lizz who is sitting beside me xD )



Hello All, it is now Wednesday, were nearly halfway in to our time here.

We have been very busy the last couple of days, But today we were really happy because we had a lie-in until 8:00am, Today we all went to do a de-worming program which is where you have to give the children a tablet and some food, The place where we went today took us around 2 Hours to get their, once we got their we started to play with the football, once we started to play the children who were passing by came and joined in. After we played with them for a while we went and got the food out of the car and got ready for the children to come in, As we were doing this we looked outside....And it was raining! We were all really surprized! We gave out all the things that they needed, then Shane got his guitar out, He started playing it and we sang along, all the children their were really exicted to see the guitar, some of them got up and started to dance, they were really good, We took lots of pictures and then we had a long 2 Hours to get back to Hand's village, It was dark by the time we got back to Hands Village, When we got back we had a talk from the leader at Hand's At Work. We then came back to the place where we were staying (We had a sing-a-long on the way up!) Also while me and Jess were having a shower, we had a power cut and we didnt have a torch, luckily it was only for a few minutes, And thats pretty much it! Also our team had a lovely meal from Joe.
Well that's all from me today! Speak to everyone Soon :)
Danni x x x

Hello its Abbie here, I hope everyone is alright back in England and the weather hasn't been to bad, it did rain today a little whilst we were out at a village doing de-worming and also playing with the children. There were three children today down the end of the road. We had all piled out of the bus and were playing football. So I tried waving at them telling them to come over and play but every time I did or took a step closer, even though i wasn't close they would run away and laugh. They weren't scare. I think they were just intrigued by us an our skin colour and found it odd. I got Lottie to kick the football to me so that I would miss it and it would go to them and encourage them to play, and it did. Then they were laughing and playing with us. The one girl, who had he most gorgeous smile ever, picked up a can of coke that was rubbish on the floor and started playing with it, it was sad to see, we have so much to occupy our time, and they have nothing.

hen a girl walked past, around the same age as me, and was walking and looking after several younger bothers and sisters, you will hear about this on tv and sport relief all of those things until you see it though, trust me it doesn't hit you. The children and adults here are all so thankful just for life, its incredible and they are all so lovely. Today was the one of the best days, with yesterday being pretty good as well.

One hing that got to me then was a girl at a school we visited asked me "Have you got a family" I said "yes" she then asked if I had a brother I told her I didn't she then presumed that I had a sister and when I told her I was an only child I think they all found the concept expectantly weired. She then asked had i got a mom, I told her I had, all of the girls faces in the group dropped, they didn't.

So even though you will and do moan about your mom because she does this and that, don't you don't know how lucky you are to have her.

Love you mom and dad and missing my friends so much to, everyone else that is coming out here cant wait to see you, it is brilliant, so make the most of it, trust me you wont want to leave.

Lottie (Z) :D

Hello everyone :D
This is my first blog on here, sooo, here goes ;D Today we went to a small village to do De-worming, which helps 30% of the people who have it get absorb more nourishment from the food that they eat, so it's very important, and then gve the poorest in the community some food to help them out, The children were so cute and lovely, and great fun. 2 of them really touched me, one was called Temba who is 16, she was lovely and was fasinated by my hair, as were a few of the others, they thought I painted it. When I went to go she told me to stay safe and kissed me on the cheek, along with a hug. The other was called City, who is 12, she told Jess that her mum died in 2001 from AIDS, and she spoke very good english because her mum told her that it would be the best way to remember her. She also said "If I grow up, I want to be a magistrate" I hate how she said "if" Where as we wouldn't think twice abou saying "when". I'm really missing my family and andrew, I love you all (: xxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Hello all, It's Amy-Leigh here.
I just thought i would update you on how I'm feeling about what we have been doing over the past couple of days..

So on Sunday we went to a church called Hope of Glory in a black community. It was amazing the way they worship! I walked in to the church and heard them singing and burst straight into tears. I didn't stop crying the whole way through I'm sure!

On Monday (day 2), we split into two groups and seperated into whether you wanted to visit a primary school or go to do home based care. I went to the primary school, we sang songs, played games, then went and interacted with the children. All they wanted was to see your technology so we were taking pictures like mad. We moved on from the school to de-worming and the shocking thing was it was most of the school kids that were at the de-worming. I felt i should have been doing more than standing there handing peanut butter jelly sandwhiches to a child who has just been given a tablet, but I couldn't.

On Tuesday we had the choice to go back to a different primary school or go to home base care. I picked to go to the primary school. We pretty much went through the same routine, but we went to the staff room then walked round to the assembly point and when we got there they we all singing and stamping their feet! I stood back and watched, it gave me serious goosebumps. We interacted with the children again and we played such games as follow the leader when i had hundreds of children following me round a field! It was the best. We went to de-worming and again it was the same children and i was handing out drinks, and yet again felt i needed to be doing more. We had to go to a snake presentation were he had snakes there with him, I'm really not the best with snakes and it didn't help that i wasn't feeling the best so when i walked into the room somebody tried to hand me snake skin and it then made me feel sick as well!

Well that is my full blown recount of the past 3 days. Hope you didn't get too bored :)
Lots of Love,

Tuesday 20 July- Hands at Work visits

Here are some photos of a few of the things we have been involved with yesterday and today...

In the middle is the Hands at Work Lodge where we are staying... it has beautiful views and has become home while we are here- good food (cooked by our own hands!) and a clean place to wash, sleep and rest...

On the bottom is Abbie, Jess, Hannah and Charlotte giving out food to some children as part of the de-worming programme we have been helping with. Each child has a de-worming tablet, and some food and drink to help it go down!
At the top is Gerogia with some of the children we met at the primary school yesterday.

Today has been very full, an early start and a late finish- so we have been glad of a bit more time this evening to relax and talk about our experiences.
So many needy people, and the care volunteers who visit them are unpaid and so their care work on top of employment and family responsibilities. The welcome we have been given by everyone whose home we are privileged to visit has been remarkable and very humbling.
The heart and generosity of the care workers and the community has been overwhelming... We are amazed at how pleased people are to see us. We often feel awkward, don't know what to say and can't understand the conversation in Siswati until someone interprets for us. But however strange it might feel to be in someone's home who we don't know, it is such a privilege to be with them.

More news tomorrow... thanks for following and your support... without your help and God's we wouldn't be here! Richard Westwood

Monday 19 July 2010…. Hands at Work

We have begun to settle ina fter a hectic couple of days... Sorry that we have not been able to post much on the blog until now, but we ahve not been able to get access to the internet.

On Sunday we attended a local Church in Masoyi (Hope of Glory Church)... then went food shopping at a supermarket in White River... not as easy as you might think!...

Today we have have visited a primary school and been involved in Home Based Care visits, as well as helping with de worming! ... all of this alongside Hands at Work staff.

All very tiring, but rewarding and leaving us with lots to think about...
... Richard Westwood

Here are some thoughts of some of the young people who have been invovled in the activities of the last few days.

Georgia Siverns...
Hello all! We have all been here for a couple of days now. It has been a great experience so far and we have all been quite tired for the last few days and nights. We had to get up at 6.20 this morning! Georgia.

Danielle Higgins
Today I have been to a primary school, we all ahad a great time, the children were really friendly and welcoming. Yesterday we had our shopping trip. It was really different from shopping in the UK. I really enjoyed seeing all the different foods, I am having a great time here! Missing everyone. Danni.

Abbie Cartwright...
I went on a home based care visit today, I went around with Jip (Joanne) and we firstly saw a woman who was a single parent adn was ill. She had an eldest son who was 19, then two daughters aged 11 and 15. they were all at school when we visited . We did the washing up for her after speaking with her... the water was ice cold! I hav eno idea how anyone could wash in that. Then true blonde, and naive moment- i thought "why are they pouring the water out of a container, why not just use really the tap? " how stupid! It really made me realise how much I take things for granted. Then we saw a man who had a stroke in 2000, his entire house was smaller than my bedroom and all ofn the people he tended to see were were just his neighbours and the home based care visit people> It really made me think, you hear about all this, until you see it you truly don;t know how lucky you are. Abbie

More similar things happening tomorrow. Thanks for following us & supporting & praying for us! The Link 4 Life Schools Team

Friday, 16 July 2010

waiting to go

Not long now till we go just a few more hours till we can get on the plane. Today has been very long with some tearful goodbyes and some big laughs already. We had a long jounrney down to heathrow and on te wyrley bus we managed to gain nicknames and learn them in sign laungage. Got to airport and all checked in fine. Then sat and did alot of waiting Reading about cheryl cole having malria. We are now in deparures lounge and all feeling differnt emotions. Very nervous but also extermely exited. So will speak to you when were in Africa :D
Hannah x

it's Amy-Leigh here we're sat waiting in the departures lounge and it really doesn't really help the tension! Ohhhh, I'm actually going to Africa now I've waited a year and a bit for it all to be sumarised in two weeks. Just sitting in this departure lounge is the beginning of two exciting weeks ahead! See you all soon, we'll keep you updated :) xx

hi it's jess, (Ginge) I am really really exited for this now. But my feet hurt and I have headache I don't care though. :P I have waited so long for this tip and we have all put enormus amounts f effort into it. I just can't wait to get there and get the experience of a lifetime. I'm really looking forward to everything. :) xxxxx

Thursday, 15 July 2010

14 hours to departure...

It's just after 9pm on the 15th July... about 14 hours to go.

We are packed, and tired, but about as ready as we can be for this stage.

We have probably forgotten lots... But there is a really nice feeling about now... the project has taken over 18 months to arrive at tommorow's departure and that of the rest of the team on the 23rd July.

Andy Evans has been working super hard on the car hire, tomake sure that we get the cars we need, when we need them, where we need them... at a price which we can afford. Thanks Andy!

Thanks to the many people who ahve given time, money and effort- over the last 18 months

To everyone in the schools and churches and wider community of Great Wyrley who has helped and encouraged...thank you

thanks to Linda & Carol at Passionate Media... too much to mention all the ways you have helped.

There have been so many good wishes too from loads of people... Thanks for those.

But most of all I am feeling grateful to God for bringing us all to this point... without His help and inspiring of people, puting it on their heart to give and get involved- well we wouldn't have had a hope. So thank you God!

Next blog... probably after we check in at Heathrow tomorrow- maybe with a photo to show too... but don't get your hopes up!

We leave from Great Wyrley High school at 11.00am tomorrow (16th July) & 11.15 from Cheslyn Hay High School. If you want to come to wave us off, then please do. we'd love the encouragement and it would be great to see you.

God bless

Richard Westwood

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

2 days to go!

Just 2 days to go now until the Link 4 Life Project school team leaves for South Africa... where we will be visiting Hands @ Work and Mercy Air, two partner charities working to help people in need in southern Africa

There are plenty of last minute things to do and a healthy mixture of nervousness and excitement.

The school team is scheduled to leave from Great Wyrley Performing Arts High School on
Friday 16 July at 11am

and thn the groups will meet at Cheslyn Hay Sport and Community High School and after some final photos leave at around 11.30am

The Link 4 Life Project Church & Community team will leave from St Marks Church Great Wyrley Car park at about 11am on Friday 23 July. Members of this team will spend time at Hands @ Work and Mercy Air, and some of them will also go to visit St Mary's Hospital in Durban, with whom the Baby Bear Project is linked.

If you would like to come and wave us off at any of the venues...then please do... we would love to see you, adn it would help and encoaurge us so much.

Please keep following the blog during the next 3 weeks and we will try to keep you up to date with all that has been going on.

Thanks to eveyone in the Schools, Churches and wider community for your support in helping us to be able to go and support and encourage people working with our partner charities.

Rev Richard Westwood