On 7th-9th June 2017, DeliverAid’s PathFinder Team visited the cities of Rabat and Casablanca on the North-West coast of Africa as part of Expedition Foxtrot to set up new supply lines to organisations serving disadvantaged children.
The PathFinder Team, (whose job it is to locate and make contact with new organisations) consisted of Team Leader Peter Cameron-Burnett, Logistics Officer Vicki Yates, Media Officer Ciaran Davis, and Expedition QuarterMaster Toby Vennard.
Foxtrot Delivery #1 – Disabled Children’s Centre & Orphanage, Rabat
The team visited an orphanage that also cares for disabled children and delivered much needed and appreciated supplies, including learning materials such as pens and colouring pencils, along with clothes, toys and sports equipment. The staff at the orphanage were delighted to receive us, and we laid the groundwork for future supplies being delivered based on their specific requirements.
⇑ The team arrives in Morocco on the evening of Tuesday 6th June. Pictured is Ciaran Davis, who was on his first trip with DeliverAid – and on his first visit to Africa!
⇑ The team outside Rabat airport with some of our delivery bags prior to being loaded into our mini-convoy of taxis. The pleasure of giving the gifts we have brought to the children is compounded with a certain amount of relief at not having to cart them about anymore!
⇑ Navigating to our first place to stay on the trip. (Logistics Officer Vicki always does a great job at finding exceptionally cheap flights and places to stay.) Pictured is team leader Peter Cameron-Burnett directing the driver of the leading taxi using school-learned French of about the same vintage as the ZX Spectrum.
⇑ The standard Rabat taxi. Africa is full of these old Mercedes, some of which have the best part of a million miles on the clock. They leave a trail like a panicked squid, but are exceptionally comfy if a little warm in summer traffic.
⇑ Downtown Rabat, around midnight. It being Ramadan, the city was very quiet when we arrived at sunset, but shortly thereafter, it came alive with whole families enjoying themselves in the warm night air. Food vendors and folks selling a plethora of random stuff on the pavement were everywhere, despite the lateness of the hour.
⇑ The city of Rabat as seen from the roof of the building where the team stayed on the first night. The flatness of the roofs and whiteness of the walls is the first thing that hits the eye. Being on the coast, the city has a nice sea breeze which helps keep the temperature down a little bit, but it also helps distribute the aroma of the local bins. (It can hardly be a coincidence that no perfume manufacturer anywhere on the planet has released a scent entitled “the Dustbins of Rabat“.)
⇑ The team pose for a quick photo, but a long timer coupled with a short attention span means that by the time the photo is taken, the older gentlemen on the team have forgotten why they are there and have started debating proposed changes to the LBW rule. Vicki is used to this, Ciaran’s expression is self-explanatory.
⇑ On the road again, en route to the orphanage. The PathFinder team is never lost per se, because we always know exactly where we are. It’s just other locations that are occasionally mislaid. Using local taxis helps enormously, as the drivers not only know the area but can interrogate random passers by on the street in a way that we can’t for fear of causing a diplomatic incident.
⇑ Ciaran enjoying the ride. The cab drives are the little oases of calm between the destinations, and are very restful, if you ignore the near misses and arguments in Morse via car horn.
⇑ Our destination. Like many of the organisations in Morocco that serve disadvantaged children, the buildings are immaculate and well cared for on a minimal budget. There is a definite pride taken in the quality of the care they offer, and it’s a pleasure to support that with our deliveries.
⇑ A quick photo with some of the staff as we unload. The lady is actually very happy to see us, just a little shy in front of cameras.
⇑ A quick peek at one of the numerous bags that the team delivered on this trip. Pens, colouring pencils, toys, kites, sports equipment, clothes – all designed to provide the children with something to learn with, something to play with, something to wear, and something to cuddle!
⇑ It’s little touches like this that you remember from the places we visit. A series of times tables painted on a metal wall. You wonder how many children have stood staring at that, trying to get the numbers down for an upcoming test. (At my school in the late seventies, due to cutbacks in teaching staff, they dropped the four times tables – we were told to use the two times table instead and double the result.)
⇑ Brightly coloured pictures on walls seem to be a universal feature of orphanages – we’ve seen them in many countries. We assumed that these drawings were meant to be viewed as standalone items, largely because if they were scenes from a contiguous story, it would have told the Kafka-esque tale of a monkey that died, and came back as a flower, which was eaten by a squirrel, which then morphed into a butterfly that was chased by a phoenix, which goes under the sea and finally becomes one with the universe.
⇑ We meet the director of the organisation, who gives us a quick tour of the place, and we meet some of the children and young adults in their care. It’s a touching moment, and the desire to do more is heartfelt throughout the team.
Still, we have done our job as PathFinders – we have made our first delivery here, and we have now established a link-up with this place, and soon we hope that our teams will be back, delivering more aid to assist these good people in helping those who need it most.
Now it’s time to head to our second location …
(If you’d like to help us do that, then please join our sponsorship club.)
NOTES FOR EDITORS
DeliverAid was founded in January 2017 to provide sustainable and direct assistance to children who are at risk or face disadvantage in refuges, orphanages, and camps internationally. The team’s efforts are powered by a sponsorship syndicate of philanthropic businesses. The DeliverAid team itself consists of a small core of media and project professionals who are looking to do something worthwhile, who are ably aided by volunteers both in the UK and overseas. Wherever possible, the team purchases supplies from UK charities so that they also substantial benefit from the expeditions. As well as delivering supplies, the team also provides computer equipment and training as part of their Bootstrap Programme to allow the children to develop skills that will not only assist themselves in building a better life, but which will also create employment and opportunity within their community.
For Further Information
Contact Vicki Yates (OutReach Officer) at firstname.lastname@example.org