Monday, October 18, 2010
    On the 9th September, Roger and Matthew (the Expand a Sign 'Twins of Mass Disruption') embarked on an experience of a lifetime with two things in mind. Firstly, to complete the gruelling Wild Run Race and secondly, to make a meaningful contribution to the local community.

    The Wild Run Race is a three day, 112km trail running stage race along one of the most rugged and beautiful coastlines in South Africa; the Wildcoast. The event starts at the Great Kei River and finishes at the beautiful natural wonder - The Hole-in-the-Wall. Between the two is 112km of wilderness with golden beaches, rolling hills, spectacular cliffs, wildlife, dolphins, warm sea, blue sky and friendly people. The race was extremely difficult as they ran through tough terrain – swimming across rivers, crossing soft sand, fighting the prevailing wind, rock hopping and traversing uneven ground. Passing a decomposing whale carcass and a rusty old ship wreck were certainly unique experiences in themselves.

    Waking each morning with aching bones, popped blisters and bandaged knees to run the distance of a marathon, off road, for 3 consecutive days, was understandably draining on the body and mind. If anything, this gives one a taste of the lifestyles that the local community experience on a daily basis. With very little infrastructure in the Transkei, the local people face the daily challenges of fetching water, collecting firewood and keeping themselves fed. The pair regularly came across women and children dragging fire wood behind a donkey, carrying barrels of water on their heads or collecting mussels off the rocks.

    The twins were joined by Bob Skinstad (ex Springbok Rugby player) and Ron Rutland who represented the Bobs for Good Foundation which is a charity that provides free shoes to the rural school children of South Africa. The aim on this trip was to supply the children of Ngubenyathi Primary School with school shoes. We embraced this initiative by contributing school bags made from the off cut banner material. The manufacture of these bags help us reduce our carbon footprint (by recycling our banner material), allows us to support a small women-only business, and results in a quality product that less privileged school children value. 

    Each scholar received a brand new pair of school shoes placed inside a lovely colourful school bag. A large group chose to help and hand out the shoes to the 200 children and after a very moving acceptance speech by both the local municipal leader and school teacher (one teacher for grades 6, 7, 8 and 9!) they set about fitting the boys and girls with their new shoes. It was a small initiative by us, but meant so much to the local community. All the elders arrived wearing their best kit to watch the events unfold. It was upsetting to witness how few teachers there were at the school as they were on the ‘national strike’. They ended the day by singing the National Anthem with the children which was really moving. It was so rewarding to make a small difference to a community who has so little. The motto on the wall outside the school said it all “forwards EVER, backwards NEVER”.

    What an honour it was to  experience such a beautiful part of the world and to experience such a wonderful community.

    Expand a Sign.

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