Today was my first chance to really get involved with the work here and get my hands dirty as we drove out to an area called Mitchell’s Plain. Around 1 million people live there and areas like these are like the “Chatsworth Estates” of the UK. Crime is fairly high but not as bad as Grassy Field where I spent yesterday that had seen shootings.
On my arrival at Hazeldene Primary School. I met the lovely Lindsay and Olly. Lindsay will be heavily involved in the Beyond Blue group’s movements as she will be coordinating it. As soon as I entered the main courtyard I was swamped by children. Literally hundreds of kids ran towards me and at one moment I thought I was going to fall over as I couldn’t move. It was evident they were happy to see a new person at the school and Lindsay said that this was a bit more than they are used to on a daily basis.
About 300 hugs later we managed to make it to the PT area, a concrete rectangle no bigger than a basketball court amongst a dusty field. Here we would take 30 minute sessions with a range of ages. We did some simple passing for soccer and then a little cricket. It was very hard work and pretty tiring trying to keep all of the kids focused on what they were doing.
These children are major footy fans; they know all the footballers and watch the Premier League every week. They love Wayne Rooney and all I was asked is “what car does he drive?” and if I knew him. Hazeldene is a very poor school. The government allocated the headmaster Mr Blau a budget of 250rand per child per year; that’s the equivalent of £22 per child per year and pays salaries, equipment and bills. Quite clearly that is not possible and the school has regular fund raisers where the children in a similar way to our charity drives carry out chores to raise extra money for the school.
I was fortunate enough to time my visit on the same day as the school’s first cricket match on a large playing field the other inside of Mitchell’s Plain. I asked if I could help with anything and that led to make being Umpire!!
Now this shouldn’t have been a stressful experience but the head teacher from the other school, Montagu had other ideas. Montagu is Hazledene’s arch rival. Any decision I made was gesticulated at and I was getting a fair bit of sledging. But I stood my ground and conducted a fair game….. which Hazledene lost.
Unfortunately I did make a big school boy error during the day… I only applied sun block in the morning and didn’t take any with me. Stood in the middle of the field for 4 hours I got very very burnt! But as they say.. TIA – Note to any Beyond Bluers…. bring a strong SPF factor!!!
- Beyond Blue – Day 2 Today was the first day I got to see some...