“So, what have you guys got planned for the rest of the week?”
“Well, we’re finally installing the bunk beds at the orphanage. Wanna come give us a hand putting them together, it won’t take long and you’ll get to meet the kids too.” I said.
What Kyle, Andrew & Duncan didn’t know, and me either to be fair, was that it would need 9 hours spread over 2 days, an angle grinder, welding kit, skill to use both of them and plenty of sweat to finally get them into place.
We had them designed, we thought, to perfection, but in reality, the intricate nature of the corridor, and the narrowness of the bedroom doors meant that all the work that we had put in to have them made in the first place, was wasted. We had to take them all apart only to put them back together again in the bedrooms.
Lots of eventful things happened this weekend, but one of the best ones was meeting these guys. Helpful beyond all belief and exactly the right people that we needed to have with us when it came to all the eventual metal work. I’d have had no idea where to even begin. Faced with the real prospect of the bunkbeds having to be left out in the garden for the rest of their lives, Kyle & Co knew exactly what to do. People we’d only just met less than a week before were destined to help when us we needed it most.
I was hoping to give an update with all the photos to go along with it yesterday, but as the job was only half finished I figured it was best to wait until today and show the world what real joy looks like.
The children of Tariro Orphanage have never had their own beds before and we were worried that getting something that they have never had before might be a bit of an anticlimax. After all, how can you look forward to something that you have no experience of? We weren’t to be disappointed though.
As we knocked on the gate post to announce our arrival, they kids, as always, came running to greet us. Only this time it wasn’t just me and Nicole turning up in John’s pick-up and being left with some paints or other bits and pieces. This time we had a 10 tonne lorry overflowing with 15 separate steel bed frames and 15 waterproof mattresses arriving with us, 2 cars and 3 helpers too. I remember walking around town a few weeks ago with 2year old Thomas in my arms and the look of delight as he saw cars going past was a real treat. Now his eyes were wide with wonderment at what this huge orange truck was doing outside his house and what all these black frames were too. He also look confused as he looked at my face and my blood filled eye. He wanted to touch my face, but couldn’t quite bring himself to. As soon as I started tickling him and playing chase though, it was all back to normal and my fears of scaring the kids with our injuries was, in the end, un-founded.
Each frame had its very own code to make sure that it was paired with its partner so that each and every bed was perfect. As soon as we started chopping off legs to get them through the doors, we had to invent a whole new type of code that was different to the first one, to make sure the right leg went on the right frames. Needless to say this all got very confusing and made everyone’s head hurt as we had to search each piece to try and match them all up and by the time we found what we were looking for, we’d forgotten what it was we were meant to remember about why we were looking for it… 🙂
The first two beds took around 5 hours as we worked until after sunset but the end results were amazing. They knew that we were making them beds, but they hadn’t quite grasped how it would all look and had certainly never seen anything like these before. The big reveal was just as we had hoped it would be, and the excitement was palpable in the air. It had taken much longer than we’d hoped, and we could never have done it without our new friends, but all the stress and work was worth it I think you’ll agree.
Now with your donations (click here to donate if you haven’t already) we have some more things that we’ll be doing for the kids this week coming. A brand new fridge freezer is on the cards, hopefully some new sofas, new curtains, new rugs perhaps… We don’t have much time left to implement all that we want to, but we’ll try our best.
Finally next week, we’re going to employ a matron for the “House Mother” to learn from. An experienced hand when it comes to showing how to prepare meals that taste different, but using the same ingredients that they already have access to, and to bring in some discipline. I’m also going to be using some of the left over cash to invest in some professional looking charity coin boxes for businesses in Ibiza to display on their bar tops. If you are reading this, own a business in Ibiza (or anywhere really) and you’d like to help in this way, please do not hesitate to get in touch. I’ll certainly be putting them in all my bars knowing that anything put in them will go to the children who most need our help.
Now we’ve finished work for the day (after our 6am start), Nicole has to get her dressings changed and cleaned up ready for a few relaxing drinks in celebration tonight.
Its taken a few more weeks than we expected, but finally our big surprise for the children happened today and they loved it.
Thank you for all your donations; and please keep them coming if you like what you read and see that we are making real differences to these children’s lives. It doesn’t cost much to help, but every penny that you donate goes to them. No middle men, no managers, no staffing costs, just real direct help.
Making these beds happen has been a huge team effort and everyone we have met has helped a little bit, but special thanks need to go to John & Jackie (for everything), Helen (for allowing us to be here in the first place), Graham (for free transport of the mattresses from Harare), Mike & Barry (for the use of the 10 tonne truck), Kyle, Andrew & Duncan (for their amazing problem solving abilities and installation skills), Amanda (for introducing us to Tariro in the first place), Nicola (for lending us her car so we can get around easily), Laury (for driving us around and finding us the welder & steel to make the beds), Mrs. Magama (for helping these children when no one else would).
There are more people involved along the way and my memory is terrible at the best of times (as Nicole will tell you… that is her name, right?) but hopefully this was all the main players in this particular bed making mission.
Now, what should we do for the orphans next week? Suggestions are always welcome. Feel free to comment. 🙂