Saturday, 27 December 2008

Sometimes WE carry others ...

... and on Christmas day 2008 the WildEarth Angels (WEangels) were the heroes that made a small village, of much less fortunate people, the happiest little village in the world!!
WE were late getting started because of rain and a power line had broken in the storm, but the WildEarth crew woke up before dawn and after a hot cup of coffee the time had come to make a special day for the children and adults of Dixie village in Mpumulanga. First stop was to collect all the meat from Sidney's fridge, pack all the mielie pap, coleslaw, more than 400 presents and the broadcast equipment. It took three trucks to haul all the 'stuff' from Djuma to Dixie. WE couldn't have done it without the help of Djuma Game Reserve, and in particular Jimmy, Warren, Char, Jurie and Pippa.
Although WE were late getting going, the kids knew what was coming and the whole village was excited at the prospect of a 'proper' Christmas celebration. Word had gotten around about these mysterious 'WEangels' and the efforts that WildEarth were going to to make sure that these special people got a taste of what we all mean by Christmas.
As soon as the technical issues were behind us (a baboon had damaged our main antenna cable in the night ;-) Rexon began the task of giving 146 children their first ever Christmas presents ... something he has been looking forward to doing for a while.
The excitement and happiness is difficult to describe. There are some 'seekpoints' at the end of this Blog if you missed it LIVE that will help you to understand what you did. The pictures go some way to capturing the emotions, but I need to tell those of you that have never been into a rural village in Africa and seen the poverty what it means. What the word poverty actually is ...
You see poverty doesn't just mean that you have to go without clothes, food, water, education, health care and Christmas presents. It means that nobody cares. It makes you feel worthless in a way that is hard for us to imagine or relate to. It makes you feel ignored and rips away your self esteem.
But when some kind hearted people from thousands of miles away, take the time to think of those that they do not know and will never meet. Reach into their pockets and give a little love. On a day like this day ... WE change the world. Not in a small way, but in a huge way. Because the impact on these children's lives was not small ... it was massive. Not because they got a toy, but because in their hearts they knew that on this big scary planet Earth they are not alone. 
They have not been forgotten. 
They matter.
Well after the kids had their presents Rexon took us on a short walk around the village, which included a look at the 'stand pipe' (the tap where all the ladies collect water for their homes). Providing water to every home is going to be our new WEangel project, but much more about this over the next few days.
Then it was time for the ladies to cook the mielie pap ...
with a little help from Rex ...
Then the men got on with the job of cooking 450 pounds of beef on several fires ... as the rain started up again.
Nobody has ever done this for these people before and their appreciation is very deep. Deeper than I can express.
On behalf of all the people of Dixie, all the kids, the crew of WildEarth and the viewers around the world that watched it LIVE (and those that will watch the WEarchive for years), I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, each and every WEangel that donated to this most worthy of causes. Your money was necessary and made this possible, but it was the fact that you cared enough to do something on this day that made 600 peoples day so much brighter. You are all heroes and should be very very proud of yourselves. 
I am so proud of you all and I believe that our journey of helping others, educating people about wildlife, enjoying the trials and tribulations of our planet's nature and saving this WildEarth of ours, has only just begun.
Merry Christmas.
Some seekpoints ...
Rex starts giving out presents.

Presents continued ...

Presents continued ...

Presents continued ...

Presents continued ...

Rex thanks the WEangels and translates the headmistresses speech.

There is a great deal more in the WEarchive ( please go and explore ... it really is worth it.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much to all at the WE team for giving us all this opportunity. It was a very moving experience to be part of those watching on christmas day. You have opened my eyes and stirred emotions so deep within me. So very very moving, and then to read Pieters words about the day further stirred deep emotions, I feel connected in some way to this small African Village now, and will do all I can to help out wherever and whenever I am am able.
Thank you for the experience and the great work you all do. Three huge cheers to you all, you are all angels that walk on earth amongst humans. Lizzid from Australia

@gcrush said...

I stumbled across your twitter profile from @bjork :) i have been fully addicted to the live web cam ever since. I love your energy, and all of your efforts. I wish I could do more to help out, but for now I will keep sharing and telling everybody I know about your amazing project in africa! thank you so much for so much love and joy you share! and all of the great visuals, close-ups, and knowledge you share on your tours. :)

wishing you the best New Years! :)


rcoonpetz said...

It was Christmas Eve here Eastern US. The best Christmas Eve I have ever had.
To watch live and chat with friends all around the world was magic.
It is amazing what WE can do to brighten the day for the children and adults in a place so far away.
The WE crew are also WE Angels for working so hard and long to make it possible.
There were tears of joy all around that day.
Thanks all who helped.

Jose said...

Thanks for the update. I watched most of it live on WE TV but then, I love to ruminate! ;)
The photos are all superb but - for me personally - two stand out.
The first one; toddler carrying the baby on his back... the subject is of World Press Photo quality! Please do enter it in any/all photo competitions you can find. Brilliant!
The second one, a bit further down the blog... That very pretty girl with the red head scarf. Love the way you edited her in colour, with the rest of the pic in b/w. Again brilliant.

I hope there will be many more Christmasses at Dixie like this one, and many more photos by Pieter Pretorius.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart

Jose van der Hoorn

Teresa said...

It was an amazing experience to spend the day with the folks in Dixie. I hope WE will get to do it again soon!