I have come to the conclusion that mama Coupa and I must be a pair of comedians with all of the little ‘dramas’ that have occurred at the start of our UK tour.
Whilst on the flight over to Heathrow, I asked the attendant who was distributing food trays if I could possibly have a ‘wet wipe’ for my hands, “Certainly madam” she replied and promptly handed me a small bottle of white wine! Mmmm interesting!
We are met at the airport by Rob a long-time friend from the company Discover Adventure who organize trips to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or cycling tours in Tanzania who has kindly come to drive us to Salisbury where I am to going to document an abridge version of the last fifteen years of Light in Africa for the DA staff. But before this event Rob takes Coupa and I to look around an old Roman settlement and a visit to Salisbury Cathedral with his delightful daughter where we see the world’s oldest working clock. I am profoundly touched for some reason to comprehend all the working parts which has been ‘ticking’ away for hundreds of years, and to the genius of the man who designed it. Coupa stands and has a photograph taken next to one of the original copies of the Magna Carta which laid down for the first time some ‘human rights’ in the UK. We are then met by Jacky who gave us a tour of the cathedral and then a lovely lunch.
Rob’s wife had previously volunteered with LIA some nine years earlier when she had stayed for three months. At that time we had a nursery full of babies, so naturally we called upon our volunteers to assist our staff in carrying the babies to the clinic for their injections. Sam was to carry Lisa who had just arrived into the nursery and that was the beginning of a long relationship of sponsoring Lisa. Each year a parcel would arrive and there would be a dress or trousers with a T shirt which was a perfect fit. This is the dress that was given to Lisa this year, I’m sure you will agree, just a perfect fit for a beautiful child.
Sarah and Simon who collect black school shoes for our children (with well-over 150 children attending school, black shoes are always a major problem for us) they arrive and ask us where would we like to visit.. For me, as always, it has to be a garden center and that’s where we enjoy a delicious lunch before travelling to see some New Forest ponies which Coupa had never seen before.
…….SALSBURY CATHEDRAL WITH ISLAL………..MAGNA CARTA………………LISA.
Whilst in Salisbury we stayed at a B & B at 2 Park Lane. It is run by Nat and his wife. Coupa and I had a wonderful restful 2 day stay, when Nat heard we had a children’s home, he and his wife very kindly gave us some clothes which his young son had grown out of for our children. Where ever we travel I am always so touched by the kindness of the people who we come into contact with, especially the kindness of the men at the train stations, who see two struggling women, ‘tying themselves up in knots’, as they try to quickly place 4 large suitcases onto the train before the door closes, truly, we make Mr. Bean look quite normal with our antics.
Leaving Salisbury we take the train to Waterloo, and due to road works we miss our train connection. I am directed to see if an information officer can help us catch the next train. I stand in front of the piece of Perspex window and explain our dilemma; the officer looks at me intently, and then tells me he can assist me. He writes something on our tickets and we gratefully move away. Coupa reminds me to ‘ wipe my eye’s as from the cold they are streaming down my cheeks. Ahh so that’s why the guy was looking at me so intently. He thought I was crying at missing the connection….
We now arrive in Manchester and the high point of the trip is to visit Old Trafford and watch Chris Smalling play for his team Manchester United, Coupa has never watched a football match so it will be interesting to see how she deals with a crowd of around 72,000 fans. That evening Sam Cooks mum has organized a small dinner party, where we had an interesting mix of guests with interesting idea’s and topics that kept the conversation very much alive and stimulating. The following day Sam’s mum Andrea had kindly agreed to show us around Manchester and our first port of call was the John Rylands Library which houses an original piece of St. Johns gospel, not so interesting to me was the exhibition on ‘witches and black magic’. A lunchtime concert at Cheethams College of Music where we had the privilege to hear two young students of the college John Vernon – trumpet and Isobel Howard – violin accompanied on the piano with Nick Oliver gave renditions of two concertos. Amazingly talented young people.
The day of the match and Sam (Chris’s partner)has had two MU shirts printed one with mama Lynn and one with Mama Coupa on the back with Chris’s No 12 being the position that he plays. The range rover car is directed to a special part of the grounds where we see the coach of the opposing team Stoke City, and barricaded in hundreds of fans. Wow, the excitement is building. Tight security as we are led down long corridors and everyone is greeting Sam as we are shown to the private box. Such luxury as an evening meal was served to the guests. We meet with Chris’s mum and brother and John who is hoping to provide a couple of plumbers to come out to Tanzania and help build a new children’s home for our boys. As the game kicks off I make a prediction that Manchester United will win 3 – 0 I had a deep ‘knowing’ that this would happen. How exciting as the huge crowd of fans screamed – chanted -cheered or booed as the ball was kicked around the pitch. Then it was all over with Manchester United winning the game 3 – 0.
As we prepare to go out for an evening meal, Chris has been so thoughtful to obtain for Light in Africa a MU shirt with the names of all the team players to take with us on to the next part of our tour which is a fund-raising event in London organized by ONE KIND ACT to try to raise sufficient funds to complete our new Learning Center which will provide an education for our ‘slow learners’ and disabled children.
More of our antics on the next blog.
Warmest wishes…..Mama Lynn