KL Capetown Trip 2019

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June 2019 was time to get on the bus for a mere 12 hours and head for Capetown! Safely delivered by our amazing driver Xolani, each of the children was, thanks to Tersia, smartly kitted out in matching, outfits, with name tags too for the little ‘uns. And what a time we had, with local angel Simone not only sorting the itinerary but meeting us everywhere, whether it was a 3D VIP showing of Alladin, Christian Barnard’s pioneering Heart museum, the Castle with its Dutch settler and warrior statues. The crowning glory for the ‘older kids’ was the trip over to Robben island and the recounted experiences of former inmate tour guide, while for the younger maybe being a pane of glass away from a basking shark at the aquarium. Magical!

Collecting popcorn and 3D glasses for a VIP showing of Alladin! Right: X marks the spot for the 1st ever heart donor

Wow that shark looks so real in these sunglasses! Wait:it IS real!

A highlight of the trip was a trip to Robben Island to see and hear firsthand accounts of how political prisoners – including Madiba himself – were treated. Right: in front of the big man’s (little) cell

After hectic Capetown we had a couple of nights at the Goudini Spa, a relaxing resort with thermal pools, where swimming and enjoying the surrounding mountain views were the order of the day, plus participation in a talent night for our resident dance troupe and our fiery poet!

Right: Rockin’ da house!

On then, to Oudtshoorn, for some outdoor fun, all organised by our second angel, Lynette. In a single, rainy day we did the massive Canga caves, a 500m zipline, Camel rides, go karts and an obstacle course!

Mongezi communes with his San ancestors while right: Clare is down (literally) with the kids

OK, where are the brakes on this thing?
Not content with that, day two took us to an Ostrich farm for some close encounters then on to an Elephant park for the ultimate photo op.
That’s breakfast sorted!

Thankfully, we were about half way back to Barkly at this point, so the last, long drive back gave some tired children – and grown-ups – chance to snooze and savour the memories.
Who needs a camel – I’m fine just here thank you
                                                       Finally, a couple of reminders that it doesn’t take much to make these kids happy, but it’s great to do it anyway! Thanks so much to Tersia and again to onsite hosts Simone and Lynette, plus of course Xolani, our indefatigable driver (in the cap).

Team KL at Winelands - next stop Capetown!

Race to the Stones – Final Countdown

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Two weeks to go to the stern challenge of 100 kilometres of lovely Oxfordshire and Wiltshire countryside.

Our dear friend Colin Blyth, hard man from the North East, has lost the battle to get fit for the event in a few short weeks after knee surgery and reluctantly but wisely withdrawn from Team Khaya.

On June 18 Rob and Clare completed their final preparatory race – the brutal Offas Dyke 15 mentioned in the prior blog – which is hard enough without 28c temperatures. At any rate we survived and returned, for the first and surely the last time, with tans from a weekend in Wales!

Before and during that race Rob felt a familiar strain in his right calf and booked in with Dawn, our friendly sports osteopath and magician. Sticking needles into tiny tears in the muscle (fun for her, not so much for him) she banned him from stairs and any runs longer than 10-20 minutes, which is a bit unfortunate as we contemplate 14 hours or so on the trail. At this rate it promises to be a Walk to the Stones.

We shall see. At least we launched the fundraising page today.

Which means we are DOING IT!

Race to the Stones – 100k for KL!

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We have decided the best way to celebrate Rob’s birthday on July 15th is for Rob, Clare and Colin Blyth – the last two no strangers to ultramarathons – to take on the annual Race to the Stones. This is a 100 kilometre route along one the Ridgeway, of Britain’s oldest paths,from Oxfordshire through to Wiltshire. Rob has completed a few marathons but nothing like this.

With just over a month to go we are well into our preparation, with a number of races under our gel-stuffed belts including the Manchester and *Worcester Marathons and Halves in East London and Scunthorpe (Rob’s home town and an excuse to see family and friends). Around that we have put in the miles at weekends, wearing a groove along the banks of the River Lea and New River, both of which meander out into the Hertfordshire countryside. Orson, our dog, has never been fitter and lumbers gamely after the abundant birdlife along the banks, catching them only later in well-earned dreams. Those afternoon naps have certainly caught on in our household. *Clare only!

Offas Dyke veteran and novice

Our last race before the big one is the Offa’s Dyke 15 next weekend. This is a ridiculously hilly ramble along – or rather up-and-over – the most beautiful countryside in England and Wales with a view of each at either side. It’s another excuse to visit family (Rob’s brother Allan: a three-time veteran of the race) and Rob has prepared by taking the 175 steps at Russell Square tube station daily on his new work commute.

So are we all ready? Of course not. Colin is recovering from a chronic injury he hopes to shake off just in time for the Stones and Rob has a sore calf he has rested completely this weekend and may yet rule him out of Offa’s Dyke, but will not, he wants to assure you, deter him from his birthday treat in July. Clare meanwhile just gets on with it, out again today (Sunday) and straight into the garden to attend to her plants. Thank goodness one of us is invincible!

Trent Park Bake Sale for Khaya

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On April 29 we had a bake sale fundraiser for KL at the Southgate Hockey Centre which also hosts the Trent Park Running Club. This was the organised by the wonderful Foulla Green who showed that not only is she a a keen runner (one of the most dedicated in the club) and baker (Sunday runners are routinely treated to delicious brownies) but also has a big heart!

The Murphy/Jones household was busy the night before, with three contributions including two types of chocolate brownies and a fabulous chocolate layer cake – hmm, bit of a theme here – the last of these made by our girls from Uganda: Sarah and Victoria.

Cakes on parade with organiser Foulla (with medal)

Foulla could not have picked a better day for the contest. A hockey tournament, a running club presentation and monthly handicap together guaranteed a full house of potential customers, but the response from the bakers was equally impressive, with lots of beautiful cakes entered for the competition. It was won by Diane Duberry, a good friend and supporter of KL, and that massive chocolate creation of Sarah and Victoria? It came in a creditable 2nd.

Pics and artefacts from the project and South Africa

The project was showcased in a selection of photos and artefacts from the project and South Africa. The really important part, though, was the £620 raised for the kids at KL. Hearty thanks to Foulla, the girls and all those sweet tooths (teeth?) out there!

Khaya Lokukhanya Update

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Nosiphiwo and son
New Foster Mothers –  Last July we were delighted to welcome Sindiswa Magabuko and Nosiphiwo Dineka to Khaya Lokukhanya. They are settling in really well and form a great team alongside Levia.
New Computer Room in KL – A secure, new computer room built at KL allows the children to study on the computers under supervision from the Foster Mothers.
Transfer of Thusananga Building –  Last year a tribute to Maggie Thethelwa was organised by Bev Gush and KL in order to thank Maggie for the many years’ hard work she put into the Thusananga Home Based Care Organisation. The  Building was handed over to KL and will be used as a Computer Literacy Centre (see below).
IKhaya Lethemba Computer Project – Plans are moving forward with the Computer Literacy Centre.  Watch this space!
First Gift Aid received! – In October, our first Gift Aid was received from HMRC since we officially registered as a Charity with the UK Charities Commission. This enables up to 25% to be added onto any contributions and is already making a huge difference to the funds we can raise for KL.
Fun at Thomas Baines Port Edward
Dipping our toes in the Indian Ocean – This January, tanks to Tersia’s great organising, 16 of the KL children went on life changing holiday to Port Edward in KwaZuluNatal’s South Coast. A fun-packed week included: kayaking, zip-lining, wall climbing, trips to banana farms, crocodile farms and a water park, beach olympics, raft building and a braving of those rolling waves! (This followed a wonderful trip in 2016 when the children went to the Thomas Baines Educational Centre in the Eastern Cape.) A big thank is due to Tersia for getting us all safely to and from KZN.
Fundraising Plans – In July of this year, Clare, Rob and Colin (Blythe) (who visited the project in 2008) are running the 100 kilometres RACE to the Stones in a day to raise funds for KL. Training has already started. It will be Rob’s first Ultramarathon, but Colin already knows the great beauty – and height! – of the mountains surrounding Barkly East, from when he ran the Skyrun there.  Stand by for more posts on this!
Finally, a huge thank you to Martin Cornish Accountant in Rowland’s Castle in Hampshire who so kindly did our 2015-2016 accounts for free! And thank you Emma for connecting us with such a generous person!

Mont Blanc Challenged

Well we almost made it! 

On arrival in Chamonix the team were warned by the guides that unseasonally hot weather had effectively melted the usual route up to the summit, and that a lesser peak might have to do, assuming we all passed the 3 days of training.  This began the following morning and culminated in a 12 hour ascent of Gran Paradiso, at 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) the tallest mountain in Italy.  It was tough going but we all made it.


Alas, on return to base we were informed that high winds would prevent any Mont Blanc attempt and that the Gran Paradiso climb – a challenge in itself – would be our sole experience of crampons, crevasses and ice axes.  In order to harness (literally) our newfound fearlessness, alternatives were offered by the guides, including rock climbing and ‘traversing’ (scrambling over jagged rocks a mere 2,800 metres up).  All in all, the team returned exercised, a little sore, and respectful of the mountain and it’s unpredictable moods.


Funds raised

With pledges still coming in, the total raised so far is in excess of £1,200.  Thanks to all those who have contributed, especially from the kids at KL