Last Friday, the WhizzKid United staff from Durban joined the Health Academy staff for a team building event to beautify the Health Academy. The day began at 9:00am with three large buckets of paint, a dozen paint brushes, five paint rollers and paint trays, masking tape, and 18 staff members wearing old clothes and ready to paint!
When this event was first mentioned, I was a bit puzzled. I thought team bonding events were supposed to be fun adventures, not work! Not to mention, most of us had never painted so we thought it would be difficult especially since we lacked any experience.
After we got started, I think everybody began to see it could be a fun day afterwall. We split into teams and painted the walls inside of the Health Academy with shades of blue and white and the picnic tables outside with brown. We were all designated a job. I was a painter outside helping paint the picnic tables while others were rolling, masking, edging, and cleaning (only a few minor paint spills!) We worked all morning, took a break for lunch (and a bit of football of course) and then finished up the job by 4:00pm. In the end, the day really brought us all excitement and a feeling of satisifacation. It certainly was not an easy task, but we all worked hard and shared a few good laughs.
Now the Health Academy has a fresh, bright new look to maintain its vibrant, youth friendly environment!
On behalf of the Health Academy staff, we owe a huge thanks to our boss, Mr. McGilvray, and the rest of the staff that added a helping hand!
Thanks to the generosity of our partners Maritzburg United we received 50 free tickets to see Maritzburg play Ajax Cape Town in Pitermaritzburg last Sunday.
It was quite possibly the most humid day of the year and we were relieved to take our seats in the covered section of the stadium. The kids were quick to join the mass of hardcore Martizburg United Supporters who bobbed and swayed, stamped their feet, danced, clapped and sang for the full 90 minutes. Not forgetting of course the sound of the vuvuzela being blown also for a full 90 minutes!! Sadly, as much as the fans sang out their support for Maritzburg, Ajax went on to win the game 2-0. Whilst Maritzburg always looked the most dangerous team going forwards it just wasn’t working in terms of getting the ball into the ‘onion bag’!
Even so we had a great afternoon out with the kids and fans. We filled the ‘Bakkie’ up with nine kids after the match and drove them home to Edendale and stopped of for KFC on the way to commiserate our loss!!
Many thanks to Maritzburg United – I’m sorry we didn’t bring you good luck!
It's 7:40AM on a very brisk Saturday morning. Your legs feel like they're going to fall off. Your nose has turned into a leaky faucet. You can't put together a sensible complete sentence and each gasp for air feels like your last. Fortunately, one thing brings you a great sense of solace and achievement: the congratulatory sign that indicates that you successfully reached Uhuru Peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest point (5,895m) in Africa.
On February 18th, I safely reached the summit and conquered Mt. Kilimanjaro for WhizzKids United. In a span of five days, I reached the famed "roof of Africa" by traveling, hiking and climbing through five uniquely different environments. These environments included a rain forest (very similar to a scene from LOST), a heathland, a moorland, an alpine desert and an ice-capped mountaintop. With the help of dedicated expert guides and great friends made along this journey, this climb will definitely be an experience remembered for a lifetime.
In addition to ascending to the top, the fundraising component of this project has also achieved the same great results. With the combination of online and offline donations, the WhizzKids United Health Academy will be receiving over a total of US$1400 to further support their feeding programme for the orphans and vulnerable children of the Edendale community. Furthermore, the Health Academy will also receive additional donated soccer items courtesy of our friends at Earthmother Organic. 100% of all funds and gifts will be delivered to the Health Academy for the children under the aforementioned programme.
Now imagine this.
It's 12:21PM on a warm Monday afternoon. You're sitting in a little garden patio. You watch hotel guests from all over the world walk around and prepare for their upcoming climb. Your chapped lips are recovering from the weekend's strong mountain winds. Your t-shirt feels a little loose because you probably lost nearly three kilograms of body weight. But the smile on your face cannot be erased.
I am graciously thankful for each and every person who helped me along the way in this effort. Whether you donated, spread the word or encouraged me personally, please know that I humbly appreciate your warm kindness. The success of "Conquering Kilimanjaro for WhizzKids United" is a tribute to your heartfelt generosity. So, on behalf of my team in Durban and the Health Academy, thank you for believing in me, this project and our work. Thank you for helping me to conquer Kilimanjaro!
Hello To All Reading this Post,
I would like to give an introduction. My name is Melanie Lane. I am the newest volunteer of WhizzKids United. I arrived last Wednesday from London.
It was a scorching Valentine's Day for all at the Health Academy. Fortunately, the heat did not deter anyone from all of the enthusiasm and activities of the day. With this being my first experience in Edendale, I was excited to see the facility and all it has to offer. After being there for just a few minutes I completely understood why a place like the Health Academy is so important to the boys and girls of the community. The WhizzKids United Health Academy provides more than just health services, it also presents a very trusting environment where children of all ages can feel safe and cared for.
As the afternoon progressed some entertainment was provided by the children. A group of young and very talented girls sang traditional Zulu songs. Although I did not know the language they were singing in, I felt as if I could comprehend the lyrics because they preformed with such emotion. I could have listened to the choir sing all day.
February 14, was a greatly profound day for me. I am looking forward to learning more about the Health Academy and getting to know the children who make it such a significant place.
It all started with a conversation over dinner. Four friends patiently waiting for their meals and discussing potential fundraising ideas for WhizzKids United. During our brainstorming session, Lauren jokingly blurted out about how cool it would be if we could climb Mt. Kilimanjaro as a fundraising event. As we all laughed at the thought of scaling the highest mountain in Africa for charity, the idea resonated inside me and I just couldn't let it go. Nearly two and half months removed from that dinner conversation, I am truly proud to say that I will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in four days on behalf of the WhizzKids United Health Academy.
In the last month, I have prepared for the mountain by exercising consistently in order to build up my strength and stamina. My workout regimen has consisted of going to the gym early in the morning and alternating my focus each visit between upper body and lower body exercises. With my goal in sight to reach Kilimanjaro's summit, my morning workouts quickly transformed into tough two-a-day sessions (going to the gym before and after work). To further spice up my workouts, I also began to play full-court basketball regularly again and added yoga sessions into the mix. Let's not also forget to mention my refusal to get burgers and milkshakes from Steers during my training - probably the hardest part of my training.
But, beside the physical labor in the gym, the outpouring of love and support I received from family and friends worldwide has been tremendous. When I started this project, I established a small target fundraising goal of $1000USD for our youth health clinic. However, the positive response of the project was so overwhelming that I was able to exceed that amount for the Health Academy in a matter of two weeks. At the present moment, I have raised over $1250USD with the gracious help of my family, friends, colleagues and supporters. All of the money donated for this effort will be used to help feed the children that utilize the Health Academy.
I cannot stress enough how appreciative and humble I am of everyone who contributed to this great project. So many people have helped me along the way to get to this point and endorse this cause. Whether it was a donation, using your own social media page to share the news, keeping me motivated or giving gifts for our kids, I sincerely thank each and everyone of you for helping me to conquer Kilimanjaro for WhizzKids United. If you would like to support this cause, then please check out my Givengain page (US) or my Just Giving page (UK/Int'l). But, from the bottom of my heart, thank you all for your kindness in this project.
I'll see you at the top...