WITH GRATITUDE – Part 1

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Educo Africa would like to thank the SABC  and their Regional General Manager, Nomfundo Mpuntsha, for buying into our campaign and generously donating the use of their building as a base for the On The Edge Campaign.

Click here to find out more about the SABC…

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 A special SHOUT OUT to Radio Good Hope who agreed to be our main media partner. Thank you for your time , interest and effort. Special mention needs to go out to those radio presenters who were courageous enough to climb up to the roof to interview Trevor, and those who took the plunge and went OVER the EDGE for a cup of tea and a chat. Well Done!

Click here to visit Radio Good Hope’s website…

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Educo Africa would like to thank Simon Larson, CEO of Ram Mountaineering, for his endorsement of the campaign, as well as importing the Black Diamond portaledge without which Trevor would have had to hang out on the side of the building by his harness for six days! Besides supporting Educo Africa over many years, Ram Mountaineering also made a very generous cash donation to the On The Edge Campaign and challenged other members of the Outdoor Adventure Industry to do the same.

Click here to find out more about Ram Mountaineering…  Click here to visit Black Diamond’s website…

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A huge thank you to Skysite for their expertise and assistance with rigging the portaledge, use of their ropes and safety checks on the site. With their help, the campaign had a perfect safety record! THANK YOU.

Click here to find out more about Skysite and the services that they offer…

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Educo Africa would like to thank Ingrid Von Stein and Bradly Howland of Total Media for thier support and media services.

Click here for Total Media’s website… 

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Educo Africa thanks Chris Rolfe, CEO of Mobilitrix, for generously donating their services  and our SMS On The Edge Campaign number 33009.

Click here to visit the Mobilitrix website…

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Special thanks needs to be given to Shane of The Printing Press who did the impossible! After a fruitless search for a printer to print our A5 flyers in full colour with a lead-time of 3 days that would make any printing house sweat, Shane agreed to do something that “scared him”. He bravely went ahead, worked over the weekend, had it ready by Sunday morning, AND gallantly sponsored part of the job! Thank you for your effort – we will recommend your services to all.

 Here is the link to The Printing Press website…

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Educo Africa would like to thank Zain Black of Brandology who, also at very short notice, managed to print our Educo Africa banner and flags at a remarkably reduced price. 

Day Six in Pictures

DAY SIX – On The Edge

On The Edge of Freedom

Flowers! Red, Yellow, White, Pink flowers……huh! It’s the middle of the night and I’m seeing flowers. Am I dreaming? I’m in a half conscious semi-sleep and coughing but I see flowers. No, I am sure now that they are real. Flowers growing on my ledge. I’m now forcing myself to wake properly and I look with more forced focus. Yup they are flowers. A bouquet wrapped in pink tissue paper. Aahh! Milly must have asked the angels to deliver them. As my mind starts to make sense of what is happening I remember late last night that my twin sister, Jill, came to visit and sent down a bouquet of flowers just as I fell asleep. So I imagined that I dreamt it. It is so weird seeing flowers on my ledge and I stare at it for a long time. It is my first sign of what is to come tomorrow. I am so close to touching the real world. It is 2h17am.

My mind starts to wonder and I can’t sleep. It has been a long six days and I can’t wait for it to end. I look out and it is dark out but for a few lights and the ships in the bay. But my mind creates a picture of what I know is there. The sea, the park and swings, the grass and little trees, the beach, road,….its all down there.

There are so many parallels to my situation up here on this tiny portaledge and those that live in the township. My portaledge is my little shack with just the basic essentials to live by. I have to be self reliant. And the edge of my portaledge is like the border of the township. This is the world I know and am comfortable in. Beyond the ledge things seem dangerous and am inclined to stay put because if I step off I might die or be lost. I know what is outside of my township as I can see it but it is almost untouchable and is foreign to me. I don’t quite understand what is going on and the dynamics that are playing out around me. Those people in that world maybe don’t even see me and those that do wave from a distance but won’t come to my township because it looks very scary. But I wish I could tell them that it will be safe. Just come over and I will guarantee their safety because I know my world. Then some feel sorry for me and give me some money and even send some food. I so wish they could come over and join me and have a chat and get to know each other better then the world won’t feel so disconnected. Mmmmmm…..so many parallels between my ledge and the township. When will it change?

Maybe I should take a chance and go to them. But it seems so scary to step off my ledge, to leave my township. I look up and ask God for help. I feel his presence. Then I ask my friends for help and they shout down to me to go. They share their food and give me words of encouragement. There is the real sense of community with them. This has been my support team above, and has reminded me of the same sense of community when I was growing up.

I am ready. Three hours and thirty minutes to go. Hours, minutes, and seconds! Tick! Tock! Tick! Tock! I am not the same person I was ten minutes ago or even one minute ago. I am no longer on the edge. I am empowered, free and happy. We all have to move sometime. My body is telling me physically that we are not meant to be in one place. We are designed to move because only when we move are we truly free. But to truly gain your freedom you have to risk. You have to risk dreaming, you have to risk being and you have to risk moving.

To freedom!

Educare!!!!

Cheers

T

Day Five in Pictures

DAY FIVE – On The Edge

On The Edge

 

I am on such a high as I fall asleep this evening after the wonderful day and special guests as well as great support that I received throughout the day. My best friend and my wife came around. It was hard not to hold my darling wife but just seeing her was enough and I was grateful. All the gifts of chocolate and Alison’s brownies were adding to my happy mood. Then Carl from Good Hope spent an hour doing an interview during drive time and he is one of the funniest people I have ever met. The voice impersonations had me in stitches. Thanks for raising my spirit, Carl.

 

As I sit here on the ledge the week seems a blur of discomfort, agony, loneliness, laughter, smiles, interviews and so much more…..I have lived a lifetime on this “door”. In many ways it has been a spiritual journey of deep introspection. More of that tomorrow!  But I feel happy that I have done this and even though we may not raise one cent I know that at least we have raised awareness for who we are and what we do. I heard this evening that a woman donated two hundred rand and that is enough to cover a couple of meals on a course for a kid. I am eternally grateful.

 

I am grateful too for being on the side of this building and doing this….being afforded the opportunity to try make a difference in someone’s life even if it is just the awareness of the problem that we have in this beautiful city and country.

 

But I am ready to leave now and I feel I am better for the experience and grown as a person. The love and goodness of humanity is all around me in the people that waved up at me, ex-participants and ex- staff that have come out to visit and offer their time, my colleagues that have showered me with gifts and words of support, the emails from around the world from friends of Educo Africa, and even the strangers who don’t even see me but sit on the bench on the promenade and kiss, or the couples that walk holding hands…..humanity what a beautiful creature. And the sunsets have been breath-taking. So at Educo Africa we have the eagle as our symbol or logo and it has been so relevant in this time. I have felt like an eagle on the edge of that mountain where they make their nests. My vision has been like the eagle’s watching the world from a distance. But now like the baby eagle who is ready to fly, the mother kicks her out and she falls but just before the baby hits the ground it spreads its wing and flies. That is the moment that all things become possible. So now I await my turn to be shoved from my nest tomorrow and fall to the ground but I will be supported by my friends and colleagues and when I touch Mother Earth all things will be possible and Educo Africa will fly.

 

I am a little apprehensive about tomorrow especially the reconnection with people because I don’t know what to expect. All I want to do is run five metres in either direction and then jump in the cool ocean opposite. I can’t wait!

Thank you all for being there for me on one of the most physically and mentally challenging experiences of my life.

There is a huge tanker moored in the bay for the whole week with the letters of M.O.L on its side and I have been trying to figure out what it stands for but it just dawned on me….we can find meaning in anything we do or see. So for me it means: Meaning Of Life. That is what this week has been for me.

Cheers

T

Day Four in Pictures – Part 2

Day Four in Pictures – Part 1

DAY FOUR – On The Edge

On The Edge of My Ledge

 

We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit

– E.E. Cummings-

 

 

In my drowsy state sometime during the night I hear the pitter patter of drops. I lift my head and try make sense of where I am. It takes me a few seconds to realise I’m on a portaledge and not on a course in the mountains. Good thing I didn’t try to get up and go outside. I realise too that I forgot to change my long sling to a short one so if I had stepped “out” I would have been hanging about two metres below the portaledge and no way to get back on. The rain keeps coming down harder and harder and I check the canopy so that no rain can get in. I change my sling and fall fast asleep.

 

 I wake to a cool and overcast day but am coughing so badly that I also vomit. My chest infection that had kept me in bed last week has reared it ugly head. This time it is worse. I am stiff and sore all over and my shoulder really hurts BUT I feel surprisingly happy. Calls from Milly saying that she sent angels and from my wife are great. My up down mood of the previous day is no more. I start to read again. Man of Everest that Duncan gave me as agift about Tenzing Norgay is a real treat. Humility, honesty and humour in the writing are the qualities of Leadership that I admire.

 

My chest is so sore and I am coughing lots of phlem. Wiebke and Allison arrange for a nurse to come and see me. After explaining the symptoms she gets a nebulizer and I sit and breathe into it to clear the chest. Afterward it feels better and I breathe better. Earlier it felt like breathing through a straw. Thanks angel nurse. One of the unsung heroines of the world!

 

I settle down to read again and keep an eye on six surfers enjoying the water off the promenade. I feel great and wonder if the nurse spiked the nebulizer but I think it is just the fact that I am alive, I have all my limbs, I am healthy (reasonably!) and am able to see the dawning of a new day in this beautiful city. I couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful spot. I look at the rocks that Charles Darwin supposedly studied and made some of his discoveries in “The Origin of Man”. I wonder if someone has ever done a study on the evolution of man’s goodness! I wonder if anything has changed since we were considered barbarians thousands of years ago. I am willing to believe so even with the chaos around us. What I am saying is that I do believe that all people are born good, have a good heat and that they care deeply for each other.

 

I get so into my book and lose track of time. Uh! Oh! Someone has decided to play a cruel joke on me as I suddenly notice the clouds are gone and the sun has reared its bright hot ball of smiling fire. Whatever happened to Weatherman Pete! He was a gifted weatherman who predicted the weather spot on, even though he usually was two days late. These guys nowadays cant even get the weather right all. I was so hoping for cloud cover. Where’s that angry black cloud when you need it. I let off a series of words that even I have to close my ears to. Now I have to change into my shorts and t-shirt and just little movements make me sweat. I am irritated beyond belief. Angry at the weatherman, the sun, the harness, my long pants that takes huge effort to get off. Yurra!! Ma se eiers!! Okay Mr Sun, you and I lets get it on!! It is the sun that is my nemesis. Why doesn’t it snow in Cape Town with all this global warming stuff going on. No luck.

 

But today is cooler with a light breeze that I really enjoy and it is pleasant to the point that I am really enjoying it. Maybe I will stay another week and insist that the President come along so I can give him some advice: It will be to sit and listen to one of the graduates from our courses and maybe learn something.

 

But today I still sit with a deep disappointment in the people of this city. It’s day four and not one cent has been raised. Not even a pair of shoes for a student to use on a course. Man, it makes me mad. I am frustrated and hurt. Do you have to wait until some robber jumps over your wall and invades your privacy before you want to do something. I think of Lerato who was breaking into houses in Muizenberg, stabbing and robbing people before he came to Educo and is now one of our best staff members. This guy is now leading international leadership courses. It could have been so different. Or little eleven-year old Nosisi who came on a course with me and was terrified of men because her own father had raped her since she was three. It took a lot for me to prove I can be trusted. Sitting outside with the group in the mountains pointing out the stars and naming one after her was a moment that changed her perceptions of men and people forever. She could trust maybe just a little. “Ag shame,” doesn’t help. It takes hard work to re-establish a child’s faith in humanity.

 

But I hold onto the belief that all people are good and want to help. I think of all the gangsters I worked with who came on programmes with hearts full of hate and rage. After their solo night when they share their stories, they break down and cry, begging forgiveness and committing to change. I meet them on the streets and they are so different, working, happy, off drugs and out of the gang.

I know for a fact that people can’t live the way they do in the townships. I fear the moment when they say enough is enough. So even if Educo Africa does not receive one shoe, or one desk, or one cent I pray that those that are not donating to us IS donating to some other cause or NGO. God knows in these times we need it. I remember Professor Pryor of Regis University in the USA saying to me that society consists of three sectors: Private, Government, and Non Profit. He said that if the NPO sector collapsed the whole of society will collapse. It is this sector that is doing the grassroots work that government is not able to deliver on. I recently read that more than 70 NPO’s have closed due to lack of funding. I fear for the future. Mostly I fear for the children. In this country, 15 years after freedom we should not let one child be in jail, starve to death, be abused, be homeless. It is a travesty.

Aluta Continua!

Cheers

T

Day Three in Pictures – Part 2

Day Three in Pictures – Part 1