In November 2014, Ali Drake and Kate Russell spent nine days visiting a village in Namibia. The trip was organised by our adopted charity, The Silverlining, with Ali supporting her client and Kate supporting another client. All clients were walking wounded with differing difficulties, which included some with physical difficulties. This was a life-changing event for one of our clients who attended.
We lived in single-man tents and bathing facilities composed of cold water in a bucket hung over a bar with a plastic curtain screen, whilst there was minimal water, it was bliss for the few seconds that the water was allowed to be run.
Toilets were latrines that we did not actually need to dig ourselves as we were late getting to the camp so were let off this task. Scorpions and other creepy crawlies were in abundance, but very few mosquitoes as we were in the desert.
Meals were taken in a mess tent together but were prepared by the leader's wife assisted by two staff. There were a few challenging times but all of this was taken in our stride. No one returned home without a great sense of achievement - most having done things that they would never have thought possible.
Our Silverliners had to prepare a lesson to be presented to a class of 6 to 11-year-old children and a second class of older children. They also were able to provide every child with a football shirt - something they were thrilled with, as they know that they will only get a new T-shirt once a year and many had no shoes or sandals to wear.
A cookhouse that had been built by an insurance company needed its steel panels to be painted with red oxide, followed by light blue paint to match the other school huts. Prior to the provision of the cookhouse, which is still basic, the children's meals were cooked on a camp fire under a tree.
Their meals though were not very exciting and every meal, except on very rare occasions, was boiled and steamed maize porridge. There were a number of seemingly free-range goats although they probably belonged to someone and this may have provided some supplement to this bland diet on occasions!
The children themselves were very tactile and amazed at seeing light skin. They craved affection and attention as many had no family - or rarely see them as they live in the hostel and their families live a long distance away.
Water was precious although a water bore hole had been dug with tap access. Showers were allowed once a week and there was now very basic, but flushing toilet facilities.
Temperatures were regularly recorded as being 35-40C in the shade - outside in the sun the thermometer's mercury boiled over.
With our clients, we were also able to paint a wall mural as a reminder of our visit.