Brothers hit the road for charity

2018-07-26 06:00
The Schoonwinkel brothers intend walking about 750 kilometers to raise funds for the Durbanville Children’s Home and Namibian organisation Side by Side.

The Schoonwinkel brothers intend walking about 750 kilometers to raise funds for the Durbanville Children’s Home and Namibian organisation Side by Side.

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The walking Schoonwinkel brothers are once again heading to Namibia – this time they intend walking about 750 kilometers all alone from Buitepos to Henties Bay.

This time they will be raising money for two organisations. Bouwer will be walking for the Durbanville Children’s Home while Lau has taken the Namibian organisation Side by Side under his wing.

Both brothers are sworn policemen. Bouwer has been stationed at the Khayelitsha police station for the past 30 years and Lau is currently working at the Brackenfell police station. He had worked with Bouwer in Khayelitsha for 19 years before being transferred.

Despite the fact that policemen regularly fall prey to criminals and protesters, these two have never considered leaving the police service. They feel it’s their calling.

“Enormous demands are placed on members of the police, which the public may not always be aware of, and we have to deal with these challenges. Everybody has their own method of stress release and for my brother and I walking and a few cold ones (beer) does the trick. So we look forward to walking to Namibia,” said Lau.

It’s clear that walking works for these two – Lau hasn’t been on sick leave for the past 30 years and you can count Bouwer’s sick leave on one hand.

Their own “Camino” starts on Monday 30 July at Buitepos, on the border of Botswana, and they intend arriving at Henties Bay on Friday 17 August. They plan to take a breather in towns like Gobabis, Windhoek, Okahandja, Walmanstal, Karibib and Usakos.

“We will be walking without a support vehicle, so if you see two neglected, but determined guys along the road between Buitepos and Henties Bay, hoot and wave. That will encourage us to finish,” said Bouwer.

According to Lau they have tackled a few crazy challenges before of which this one will definitely be the toughest.

“We have always wanted to cross Namibia by foot and now we have the opportunity to realize this crazy dream while at the same time raising some money and awareness about issues like violence against the elderly and poverty­.”

“There’s great need here as well as in Namibia. The onus is on individuals to relieve the need, we cannot depend on government­.

“Bouwer and I have a soft spot for the elderly and disabled and neglected children – they didn’t choose to be in that situation. If everyone we know just donate a couple of rands, the small ball might launch a snowball effect,” said Lau.

Over the years the Schoonwinkels have covered thousands of kilometers on foot. At times just to clear their heads and to get rid of stress. Other times with a specific goal in mind.

In 2005 they started walking for charity. Later they started cycling as well. They’ve stopped counting their walking kilometers long ago and are simply grateful they’re still able to.

“We are truly blessed. This year we also walk to thank God for our health and for taking care of our families. We recently celebrated our parents’ sixtieth wedding anniversary­!”

Over the years they have raised more than R200 000 of which the Henties Bay care centre received more than R100 000.

“Namibians are extremely generous. Our paths initialy crossed with the care centre in 2009 while we were on leave in Henties Bay and they hosted a fun walk to raise money. The turnout wasn’t great, so we decided to join in.”

They care deeply about the patients and have since raised money for the elderly every year.

“For our fiftieth birthday last year we asked our friends to rather make a donation than buying us gifts. We then walked 20 km through the desert and treated the elderly to a meal. R20 000 was raised,” said Lau.

Don’t think these two will rest once they’re back in South Africa: They will be taking on a few local challenges like the Ladismith Vasbyt at the end of August where walkers will have to cover 75 km in two days.

For further info call Bouwer or Lau on 084 206 6201 or 083 320 4283.

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