WhizzKids United, Argentina
WhizzKids United, Argentina
Tuesday, 9th July 2013
Hard to believe it but just two-weeks to go before we fly off to Durban and I try to get to grips with South African PAYE and VAT. How exciting is that!! Oh and Manda has to spend a year trying to look interested in football. Tee hee!!!
My list of things to do is getting smaller and I am worryingly up to date with admin matters such as tax returns. Most of you would not recognise me as Mr Efficiency even though I have been married to Mrs Efficiency for 30 years.
For those I haven't amazed already then how’s this for a coincidence. We have a chimney sweep who comes once a year to sweep our one working chimney. I got him about three-years ago at random from Yellow Pages. He is here for about 20 minutes and I have a brief chat usually. This time I said we would be away so his next visit would be after a bit more than a year and explained why. The chimney sweep said:
"I've got a friend who I grew up with in Bristol who runs a charity there. What's the name of the charity?"
"Whizzkids United" said I.
"Old Marcus!!" in distinctly West Country accent said he.
It turns out that he grew up with the founder of the charity and is still in touch. Can somebody please tell me the odds of that? Must be a many millions to one chance.
Saturday, 3rd August 2013
We finished our first week with Manda as official photographer for the day and me helping out at a mixed gender football tournament where Oscar-winning Hollywood actress and native South African - Charlize Theron - spent four-hours visiting the charity to see it at work. She donates through her charitable foundation.
Our accommodation is extremely pleasant. We are in a suburb of Durban and contrary to expectations can walk around freely both day and night. We have a small cottage attached to the main house where there are five other volunteers all of whom are really lovely (and young enough to be our kids). We also have a lady who washes and cleans. Her name is Angel and she is truly heaven sent. As an example, Manda saw a sparkling clean backpack hanging up in the house and commented that someone had the same one as me. Of course it was mine cleaned after who knows how many years of filth being embedded from rides through the forest. I try to keep moving in the day or I am sure I will end up in the washing machine. Yes my friends before you ask I am the happiest man in the world. No, not a hug or kiss from Charlize. I HAVE A BATH!!!!
Currently the office is a five minute walk steeply downhill (10 minutes up) but it is an hour drive to the Health Academy in the township of Edendale. We have visited the township several times to see the work being carried out. The office will be moving to the township when a brand new building funded by FIFA with an artificial grass pitch is hopefully completed in a few months’ time. Then it will be a long day - leaving home before 7.00 and getting back at 6.00. Just winding you all up - I know that you all work long hours and that for Manda it will be like part-time work. But please remember that for poor old me I had forgotten what a five-day working week was. No tears please.
We were asked to set up a gazebo at a local football tournament so that players and spectators could be counselled and tested for HIV/AIDS and TB. The setting was amazing and Manda started to learn to be a sports photographer and I am sure she watched her first ever football matches. The most comical moment apart from me being linesman and a cow stopping play was the moment when a game couldn't start because the lady who owned the whistle wanted it for the netball competition and so took it. Luckily another whistle was obtained. The final went to penalties and England lost as usual.
Despite it being a fun day the important thing for us was that 21 people were tested. Thankfully the majority were fine, however sadly two were found to be HIV positive. This is the harsh reality of what the charity does.
I'll leave you on that note.Read Blog