Oven Sheen are pleased to be able to support Robert and Lynn who run the charity African Village School Fund
Back in 2000, Robert picked up a flyer, in a local swimming baths, saying Channel 4 were looking for a family to live in an African village for 3 months. Lynn his wife, had very recently been moaning about how boring life was so, when challenged by Rob to apply, she jumped at the chance! To cut a long process short they were chosen to take part and in January 2001 found themselves living on the Shongwe homestead (village) in rural Swaziland.
At the time their children; Callum was 4, Chloe 8 and Daniel 13 years old. They became part of the Shongwe extended family and the idea was ( loosely speaking) to see how a family from South London adapted to living in a remote village where, to get anywhere, involved walking for miles up and down mountains in 30+ degrees of heat. Home was a round hut with no electricity or running water and a toilet that was just a hole (all be it a deep one!!!) in the ground. This one toilet served the whole village and in the African heat this open, festering toilet truely ressembled the gateway to Hell!!! Meals were cooked outside on open fires and baths taken in the river.
On top of the basic lack of luxuries, Lynn also had to learn to live as a Swazi wife - waiting on the men hand and foot - something she found quite hard to say the least! Meanwhile Rob had to find a job (no mean feat in a country with 75% unemployment), Daniel had to walk miles to school where daily beatings were the norm for minor misdemeanours, Chloe was ill for a month and Callum was banned from going to the toilet by himself for fear he'd fall in!
Sounds awful doesn't it - to be honest Lynn spent the first 5 weeks wishing she could go home she missed her family, her friends, wearing shorts in the boiling sun (a strict dress code for the women meant covering up at all times), hot water, a kitchen - the list went on and on! After all the shocks, however, they began to settle in and it started to become what it remains today - the most amazing, life changing experience that has bought them a loving, close extended family who have become a huge part of their everyday lives. On their return to the UK, they couldn't change the world but they could make a difference to this tiny, isolated, poverty stricken community who welcomed them with open arms and shared the little they had so willingly. It began with an idea and a tractor..............please explore their website to find out what happened next.