I made it!

Finally I made it!
As you all know, it’s taken me a long time to get back to the school. Heavy rains have effected the already non existent roads. Slush and bush are not a great combination, but I got there! A lot of the children I hadn’t seen before, they all giggled and hid behind each other as I came and said hello. I felt happy and carefree, the feeling you get when your around any group of laughing children. I forgot about the issues around me, sat and played for a bit. Language barriers don’t matter so much with children, as long as you can kick a ball your in. Then me and my cousin sat down, on one of the few desks for a meeting with the teachers to discuss the challenges they face. I don’t want to remove their youthful magic right now, and sometimes I feel like telling the realities of their situation does. Automatically my joy of playing was overridden with the sadness of what the teachers where telling me. Today, i want to remind you all that they are just children, who may be living in poverty but simply just want love and a few balls to play around with. Children who have ambitions and dreams, but unfortunately don’t have the resources. Most aren’t aiming for the moon, simply dreaming of senior school and a job. Fortunately for us, we can be magic, we can make dreams come true. $10 is enough, sure I’d like more. But if that’s all you can give please know a little can give a child an opportunity they previously wouldn’t have received. And to the girls whispering in the back of the class, the boys kicking the football, the infants playing in the mud. I hear you, by reading this you hear them too. Let’s make them aware, lets do what we do every time we see a child. Flood them with love!

https://www.gofundme.com/chiswene-school-fund

 

waiting, waiting, waiting!

29.01.18

Being Africa, there’s been some technical difficulties getting me to the school. Although I arrived on the farm over a week ago I’ve had to wait for someone to return so I can be driven there.

  1. I still manage to get lost even with google maps let alone somewhere without street signs, I think Siri lost her robotic voice at one stage she yelled at me that often.
  2. I tried to ride a motorbike once and I’ve got the scare to prove it so I’m definitely not allowed to ride them just yet
  3. My cousin tried to teach me manual and let’s just say I was called ‘Danielle’ for the first time in a long time, and stalled the ‘un-stallable car’ but hay, practice makes perfect!

I go on two walks around the bush a day, I still haven’t got used to hearing branches break and animals snort behind trees. Today was the first day I walked and wasn’t convinced I was going to die. Well, I did quickly turn around after I noticed a baboon sat on a rock staring at me with his XL teeth. Out of all the animals, baboons have to be the worst. I just don’t understand why they have to make such intense eye contact.

I’m learning about trees at the minute, I can name a few, and yes, I’ve gotten a tiny bit more advanced than the big green one. It’s strange, being out here. I’ve totally lost all concept of time and days, you wake up with the sun and go to sleep when the moon can longer give you enough light. Power comes on for 4hrs both morning and night. No phone connection or social life, has given me time to finally teach myself how to whistle, and a lot of unnecessary stretching and yoga moves (rolling around like a 2 yr old) are taking place. I’m staying at my aunties house until I get approval to stay in the community, and fingers crossed I head to the school tomorrow or Wednesday.

I’ve spent a few days with the lady that helps around the house Nokthula trying to learn Ndebele the local language, and man, all I can say is my English accent has given me very defined vowel sounds that are hard to overwrite! At least I’ve given Nokthula a lot of entertainment, and hopefully ill get my clicks down pact very soon.

The only update I can give you on the school is I have proposals for the buildings and have been in contact with a lady about solar and someone else about water pump costings. As always, if any of you have any bright fundraising ideas, or what to become my new pen pal send a letter via owl too, house by the dam, Bubiana, Zimbabwe

Bush trick #1 relate every animal to a less intimidating version to save yourself from heart attack Eg snakes – big slugs, elephant – overgrown wombat with extra nose and Leopard – the O.G snags (my domestic cat at home)

Home sweet home

After a long journey, three days, in fact, I arrived back on my family’s farm.  Needless to say, nerves kicked in as my cousin handed me over to Fraudry the 66-year-old game scout, who doesn’t look a day over 40 (no alcohol and cigarets – his tip when I asked how he remained so youthful). There was no turning back, I could have been in the comforts of home by this time, but instead I stood with a trunk full of rations, some soap and a collection of essential oils (citronella, tea tree and eucalyptus my cure to any problem) oh and lets not forget the ‘Herbal drugs, Ebiable and poisons plants’ book I picked up, just in case the beans run out and the wild turns into my local shop. As fraudry filled me in on his time off, nerves began to fade and excitement took over. It’s funny how quickly you forget about city life when you’re out here. Being met with a family of giraffes instead of traffic lights becomes pretty normal. I spent the next day walking up mountains trying to remember the layout of the lands and headed to the tomato fields, to say hello to the workers I’ve made friends with/forced myself upon – I mean 16,500 hectares with two family members any new face is a potential buddy.  I’m also pretty aware I might descend into madness, we’ve all seen castaway (side note must find ball just in case). But apart from the solitude, the magnitude of what I want to achieve, I couldn’t be happier to be back. Today calls for, Proposals! Proposals! proposals! I am trying to apply for grants if anyone has any proposal tips or know of any government grants an email would be greatly appreciated daniellegawler33@gmail.com

 

HELP ME BUILD A SCHOOL

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 – daniellegawler33@gmail.com

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)