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khayelitsha, south africa 2008 – part 1

There are a few reasons why people maybe wondering why I didn’t write live from ths years Niall Mellon Township Trust journey. Firstly, it was impossible, for me and secondly they had a live blog here from every team there which gave a better overall picture. I was of course only one of over 2,000 people. For those who don’t know the story read the Irish township story here. I also had briefly touched on it here.

And so on to my story, my experience. I was of course one only of so very many….

We left a cold Dublin airport on the morning of the 27th November 2008 and travelled onto Heathrow and from there to Cape Town through the night. The staff on the plane had heard of the travelling Irish. I met so many people en route; One man from Sligo who had only once or twice been out of Sligo and this was his first time on a plane. This was inspirational in itself. The excitement was brilliant.

At the airport Niall Mellon and a welcoming team was there. Once again, ‘he’ shook individually the hands of every person who passed through the airport and thanked every one of us.

We arrived into the heat of Cape Town and after a short journey to our hotels – we reconviened at ‘The Arches’. The central meeting point for the 2000 irish people. We were welcomed by some local musicians and traditional dancers from local children and then followed a rousing speech by Niall Mellon and Bishop Desmond Tutu both thanking us all for coming here and praising each and every one of us for the work we would do this week. It was appreciated. It was heart felt. It was emotional.

But we still had not seen the townships. One thing Niall explained was the translation of the word shantee. Coming from ‘sean’ [the old irish/ gaeilge] for old & ‘tí’ [pronounced tee – meaning house]. It was not until we saw the ‘seantí’ towns that we would realise why we were actually there.

The welcoming march was the eye opener. We walked tall. Everyone of us. Together. seperated only by the colour of our t-shirts. We brought the traffic to a stand-still. It was amazing. I imagined people going into work that mornng explaining why they were late and explaining that it was because over 2,000 irish people were walking the streets… 😉

The people cheered us on. People were dancing and singing  and thanking us all. I saw their homes, their businesses and their faimilies. They were happy.

We were talking that evening of the days events. One conversation was of what was back home. People say we have a recession back home – recession ?!! I really should be so greatful for what life has given me. This was an eye opener. Maybe one we all need, because life is good. In this context, life has been very good to me. If I am in the midst of a recession in Ireland – well then how fortunate am I ….?

south africa, 2008, gardens & the niall mellon township…

is it worth it....?

is it worth it....?

Thursday 27th November I will go to Cape Town for the second time until the 8th December to work as part of a garden team of over 100 people to build community gardens.

The gardens are only a part of what will happen in Cape Town as this year [again] over 2000 people, mainly from Ireland, will have raised and/ or donated a minimum of €5,000 each to travel to South Africa for almost 2 weeks to build homes [in my case gardens] with The Niall Mellon Township Trust.

We may say things are not so good in Ireland. Some may even say ‘we’ have just entered tough times. I disagree and this is simply just another reason as to why I still say life is good… sorry, life is very good 🙂 We are so so fortunate and this simply makes me appreciate more as to why I feel so good [and should…] about life.

To those who helped out in any way [no matter how small you believe it was] from the bottom of my heart thank you, it is really so very much appreciated.

All south africa garden posts are here. If you would like to know more about The Niall Mellon Township Trust – click here.

*you* made the difference.

*you* made the difference.

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I want to thank you…

'your money' does so much...

‘your money’ does so much…

I want to thank all of you who raised, donated [no matter how much] or simply gave me your couple of spare shillings, for my second journey with The Niall Melon Towship Trust. This will be my second year travelling to Cape Town. Thank you all. If not to me for the charity. Bulaidh bós – you deserve applause!

To this I must and should thank those who helped me. I had to raise €5,000. This is how it was done, with *your* help.

There was of course the ladies who did the mini marathon for me and raised over €710. Ladies, from my heart, I thank you.

niall mellon township capetown

niall mellon township

There was also a client who, on her behalf, Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd donated the entire paid invoice. This raised €2750.

There were those who purchased tickets for the Gardeners Ball, an amazing night, made more special by those who I spent it with. We really had ‘a ball’ at that one! Half the money from the ticket price of €250 went towards my journey. This raised €750.

There were those who gave me VIP tickets in exchange for a very large pink boat. I bought these myself for recently married friends [i couldn’t get a higher bidder]. This raised €790, the balance of the account.

All that’s left to say really is… thank you [all] for being a friend

Individuals: Helen & Noel O’ Dwyer; Derek O’ Dwyer; Sean & Frances Gordon, Siobhan & John Farrell; Liz Matthews; Mary & Lilly Yu [my niece]; Jackie Donegan; Kathleen & John Friel; Noel & Stephanie; Michael & Nicola Nugent; Paul & Emer Kenny; [little] Sarah O’Dwyer [if there is anyone else please email me and i’ll add you to the list]

Companies: Packing Machine Solutions; Niamh Butler Architects; Electric Picnic c/o Pod Concerts Ltd; the staff of Iarnród Eireann and the staff of Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd.

building a[another] garden in south africa [4]

the team...

the team...

 these are just some of the amazing people [sorry garden of hope ladies but it’s the only pic I have at the moment] who were involved in the garden that was built in South Africa. In the centre [wearing the brown hat] is Dominic Loughran who designed the wonderful garden and the person who also introduced and convinced [easily] me to make the trip with the Niall Mellon Township.

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Whilst the garden was a fine part of the freedom park township challenge it was not the only part and I believe 2008 will see 2008 people travel to South Africa [interested? – click here]. Some people have called me wondering if they would be of benefit to the trust and I proudly tell them that I did a stint helping the good people of the painting team, the plasterers & even the lads who put in the ceilings! Believe me your help will benefit people who need it. I was just so proud to be there.

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The garden is where my heart has always been as discussed in previous posts – but I must admit now that I am just so proud to have met so many wonderful people and to know that as 1 of 1500 people, every person made a difference.

To those of you who donated money to the charity because of knowing me. Thank you. I’m sorry it took so long for me to get the pictures up so you could see what the team and your money did. No matter the amount it was well spent and once again it made a difference.