Hi everyone, my name’s Danielle. A little run down – I was born in England, moved to Africa, moved back to England, and finally landed in Australia. Where I currently live.
I worked in Retail, as a manager of a surf store, but constantly found myself daydreaming about the African soil. I don’t know what it is about the place but it contains a magic that stays with you until you return.
And return I did. During my family holiday in Zimbabwe, Davie (my cousin) took me my Mum and Dad to Chiswene, not far from Gwanda. As my cousin negotiated the undriven roads and thick bush to find a path, it was clear how isolated and rural the area was. Stood on the back of the Cruiser feeling like a Wack a Mole (the arcade game where you smash the mole when it pops up) as I dodged the thorn bushes, much different from the hustle of Melbourne. We drove through the community, small mud houses, women and men outside attending to their crop and hiding from the sun. Children standing by the gates waving as a car drove past. I had a feeling of pure living, the romance of being one with nature. But as simple and blissful as this life may seem, first glance isn’t always reality. There is a downside to a life out here. We’ve all experienced a power shortage, but board games under candlelight can get tedious after an hour, especially when your brother always wins. The luxuries that sometimes feel like they disconnect me can be vital. The freedom of nothing we all search for from time to time, can also hider basic human needs.
After 30 minutes we approached the school, my heart dropped as I stared at the basic-ness of the place, flashing back to my privileged education. Two small buildings, a house for the teachers to live in, and a few posts for a football field. Now I’m not saying you need fancy buildings for a good education, but some things are essential. So many questions flooded my mind. ‘Let me show you more’ Davie said and took me away from staring at the branches that were used for chairs. I was led to a well, filled with murky brown water. Now water to me and you is something we never consider, not once in my life have I been thirsty and questioned not only where to get water from, but if it was safe to drink. Quietly we all walked back to the car, minds full of what we just saw.
5 minutes down the road we went, he pulled over and out of the car we got. I was nervous not knowing how much worse it could get. We’ve all seen the adverts and felt saddened, but being there ignites something totally different inside of you, something you can’t remove. He walked me down a hill to a small boy digging a hole in the heat of the day, digging for water that would later be collected and yes like you’ve all seen on these ads walked back home in buckets.
That night we all sat down, I looked at my parents and with a simple ‘soo I need to change my flight ticket’ they knew my plans of returning home and going to Uni had been put on the back burner. A humble request for a room to stay in was given to my Auntie, and after much whisky and a ceremonial presentation of khaki shorts, we sat till the small hours of the morning trying to figure out a plan. All knowing a hard but rewarding journey was about to start.
So here I am, unsure where this will take me, but a girl with big plans, who needs big amounts of help. And hopefully, this is where you come in. We, with help of the community, are wanting to build the children in Chiswene a bigger school, full of proper equipment, a water well and a vegetable garden. With plans to make it as sustainable as possible.
I’ll be honest with you, I’m new to this. I mean I’ve demolished the bathroom in my house and I’ve made a few draws from Ikea. My experience with tools extends from an Allan key to a screwdriver with a few memories from high school woodwork. You could also say dreams of being a blogger were never on the cards, and I’m sure my English teachers would agree with that. But people are my thing, especially those who need help. I’m here, wanting to help make a change. I see hope and success in this area and for its beautiful people, but simply put it cannot be achieved without you. Whether it be, donating, following, sharing my story, or words of advice. Everything and anything will be greatly appreciated.
GO FUND ME – https://www.gofundme.com/chiswene-school-fund
EMAIL – firstname.lastname@example.org
Much love and gratitude to all of you, from myself and everyone involved 🙂 (especially to my family for supporting, bedding, and stocking me with vegetables)