Valentine’s Day in Project Africa - Blog by Joe McCallum

Friday was to be our busiest day with the heavy manual labour. Being Valentine’s Day the thoughts of love ones back home were slightly increased. The morning yoga session was cancelled due to the early start but no one told Joe and Brian. We kicked off with our breakfast with increasing our world record porridge eating and then added the team’s traditional birthday song for Kristof to the tune of a Madness classic with Heather putting her song lyric skills to the test.

On reaching the school the day of heavy cement mixing commenced which highlighted the team spirit between the whole team and the local Fundi workmen. The work was supported by a list of UK party/football songs.

At the lunch break Schraga, Jamie, Kristof and Brian had a well-earned rest with orange squash served to them while they recovered from the morning exertions.

The Island School had a Sports Day this Friday as well with another two schools in attendance. This covered the three disciplines of netball, volleyball and football. The deputy head Richard had spoken earlier in the week and had asked the pupils to apply themselves and win for the school. The pupils did not disappoint with them winning all three disciplines. Alex the librarian said the winning factor was that they had clean water, whether that was a psychological or physical advantage who knows it may have been down to Richard on leaving the camp he had an eventful return. The team were having a review of the day when a towel dressed half shaven Juergen told myself and Steven that our tent had just been blown away. Now this is tent that has been subject to industrial standard of snoring and survived. Unbeknown to us our tent was situated in Dust Devil Drive a high risk area for strong winds in a confined area.

On reflection Steven said “imagine if we had been in there”. We then kicked off our disaster tent appeal and the locals put the tent back together with the team providing their enhanced disaster observation skills.

On to dinner and the locals gave Kristof a traditional birthday cake supported by some traditional singing and dancing.

The day reflected the key elements of our trip, good team bonding, building the infrastructure, engaging with the kids, working with the local team, embracing the local culture and learning about yourself.

Joe McCallum