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niall mellon township building blitz 2009

update: table quiz dec 3rd malahide…?

950 Volunteers – 1 Week – 200 New Houses

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Wallacedene, Cape Town, South Africa.

My third year to travel with The Garden of Hope Team, this year was always going to be yet another amazing project. As most of you know by now, I travel not to build houses but as part of a team of gardeners to, this year, build a community playground, football pitch and vegetable and fruit gardens.

What we didn’t bank on was the rain…. and by God did it fall.

But the options were….? We did have one half day of rain stops play… we then worked through as it got worse to make up the lost hours. And in the end it did work out. The sun started shining. It was always gonna happen 😉

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I’ve had to pause here writing this post…. It’s upsetting to be honest. My voice is gone. My bones are sore. There’s a pride inside me for what I as part of a team did… and then I think that maybe I could have done more. I’ve tears in my eyes. I’ve turned on the heating and type on my laptop and I’m trying, really trying not to write a sad post. Maybe to speak of the families and children with HIV and on housing lists for over 20 years…. when the rain came down one of the guys was telling me of a man they met with a frying pan trying to keep the water from his shack. I doubt he slept that night. But the people are so happy, friendly and polite. The children still smile. To see them dancing in middle of the water feature… that was the moment I took. Maybe I’ve numbed slightly to it after 3 years…

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I heard of one lady. Originally from South Africa. She works in a pub in Ireland and for the last five years has saved her tips. This year she done the trip. She paid €5,000 to come to South Africa to work. The same as all of the Irish did. I worked with ladies in their 60’s and 70’s who laboured as myself and Colin lay cobbles. I met people who had lost loved ones so recently. Those who had no jobs to return home to in Ireland…. I’ve just thought of them too.

I’m gonna sit and have a cuppa now. The vid is done. I have some writing done here and a blog post to thank you all so much for your support. In garden terms… I think you’ll agree the volunteers made the best of it and kept the smile sunny side up… More than that – I know you will agree that our new friends in Wallacedene love it.

Thank you all for everything…. see you in a little.

to read post no. 2 of the journey – click here

I’ve uploaded all of my 2009 blitz images/ photographs here

A great overview of the entire week can be read on the official Niall Mellon Township Trust blog – click hereReblog this post [with Zemanta]

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.