It all began with a picture on Intsagram. It is incredible what can happen, using social networks…you meet the most amazing people. So it happened for PAF 🙂
Lloyd sent me this picture of our Planting A Future football team, the PAF Warriors…a team of Chinkonono boys.
I uploaded it on Instagram and the way it works is that you use hashtags so other people can find your pics related to certain topics. One of my hashtags must have worked out because the picture got some likes and comments. One of them was from Andrew from Melbourne in Australia.
We started talking about the conditions of our team and about how hard it is to equip the village kids with sporting uniforms and balls. Andrew said he would love to help us. And so he did…only a few days after the Instagram post I received an email from Andrew. He said he was working his way through the warehouse and found some jerseys he would love to send over to Zambia.
I was so happy when I heard that. To be honest I expected maybe around 15 jerseys, which would have been great already. But the next email Andrew sent me made me feel a bit dizzy…in total he found 60 sets of sporting uniforms (jerseys, shorts, socks) in different colours and sizes. Surreal 😉
He also talked about PAF to his mom Niki, who is a primary school teacher. She talked to people in her school and managed to get some school books and educational posters of numbers, alphabet, colours etc. for our village school.
All those things were gathered and packed (in 3 big boxes) within only a few days and then shipped through DHL…express shipping! That was new. Usually when we send stuff it takes ages to get there. So everyone was very excited. I remember Andrew texting me he wished he could pack himself into one of the boxes to be there when they will be opened 😉
And the best thing about it was that Lloyd and the villagers didn’t know anything. We planned it as a huge surprise. I only told Lloyd that 3 boxes will be in Kalomo soon 😉
After a little struggle with Zambian customs at Lusaka airport (it would have been too good to be true if all worked out like planned), which Andrew could solve, Lloyd could finally pick up the boxes on Monday and take them to the village.
I guess pictures and videos say more than a thousand words. So just check them and see for yourself!
This is what Lloyd said when he got back to Chinkonono and opened the boxes with the kids around:
“Imagine playing football in one pair of jerseys for the whole year and sometimes playing in birthday suits when some players opt to wear the jersey to church or wedding ceremony?
This was the scenario at PAF Warriors until one of our supporters gave us a surprise. It was such a surprise as the whole thing from planning to shipment was done in such mystery that I kept guessing what was in store for us. Julie and Andrew did it in such a way that they deserve an Oscar for the “Mystery of the Year Awards”. 😉
This beautiful mystery kept the village on the edge…personally I thought it was books for the library. One woman thought it was a bale of chitenge materials while headman Chinkonono thought it was a batch of breadfruit trees.
The mystery didn’t end there as kids competed with each other guessing on what the parcels contained. Most of the kids thought it was kids clothes and toys and the big boys thought it was a pair of jerseys.
While Julie kept on keeping me on the edge of the seat by refusing to reveal the contents. This made me so anxious to get the parcels and take them to the village so that I could see what was inside.
The day we were to open the boxes was dramatic as kids came to my house at 06am just not to miss the excitement. 😉
We couldn’t do it at home due to the number of people anticipating to see the contents hence we took the boxes to PAF center which has a lot of space.
We did a quiz before opening by asking kids what was in the boxes. As you may guess the general response was sweets, clothes and toys.
There was a mixture of joy and horror when the boxes were opened. Some of the real young kids sighed with dismay while girls and boys, men and women cheered loudly. It was obvious they had the last laugh.
And what was in the boxes? While while…sixty pairs of brand new jerseys, shorts and socks. The village had never seen such a thing before. It was such a joy to touch what they only saw on TV.
And now their own village team was to have a full soccer kit like premier league soccer teams clubs and two brand new balls plus a soccer ball pump. But also our ladies were happy as they were given the white jerseys for the new-formed netball team, the PAF Eaglets.
It was such a beautiful day indeed.
Gratitude to Andrew and Niki Skoullos for donating the kits and school materials. This will motivate the boys who bring so much happiness in Chinkonono. Gestures of love like this make it a beautiful world to live in. Indeed its love without boarders from Australia.
Thanks Andy and Niki. Thanks for being part of the light PAF is bringing to Chinkonono village.”
Andrew…you guys really brought so much joy into our hearts! We have no words to express how grateful we are! Those kids, boys and girls, love sports. It is their way of releasing stress and getting their minds off things. And now they do have proper uniforms to play football or netball and can even compete with other teams!
Also the school materials will make our village school so much nicer and more colourful. Our kids will love it and that way be even more motivated to learn and study 🙂 Thank you so much, Niki!
Andrew sent me a little text as well. Check what he says:
“Even in rainy, cold Melbourne, Australia – our hearts are warmed by the work Planting A Future does.
Through the power of the internet I was lucky enough to come in contact with Julie and she helped us share what we can with the people in Chinkonono! My mum Niki, being a primary school teacher was able to collect story books, educational posters and stationary which I hope Lloyd and the teachers will put to good use! The sporting uniforms I was able to get a hold through work and I thought it would be special to be able to provide uniforms and equipment for those who love sport just like me! I would love to wish Planting a Future the best of luck with their campaign, I’ll be supporting you guys all the way! To Julie, Lloyd and all the people in Kalomo and Chinokono village – we’re sending you our love! ”
Twalumba kapati! Zikomo! Thank you! Danke! We are sending back all our love to you, Niki and Andrew!
You guys are world changers and it lifts our spirits as well that there is generous people like you out there in this world who just jump in and help us without thinking twice! We are humbled indeed! That is Love Without Boarders!