About me

I am 45 years old, and live in the UK with my adopted son. I teach mathematics at a well-known school near London. I studied physics at university and went on to do research for a Ph.D. in neutron scattering at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford.

My interest in Africa started when I taught in Zimbabwe in 1996 and 1997 for Voluntary Service Overseas, a British charity which sends qualified people overseas to developing countries. I taught in a school in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city in the south-west of the country. Mzilikazi High School, where I taught, had about 1800 students from age 12 to 18. I taught mostly A-level mathematics and physics. It was a very interesting time to be in Zimbabwe. I have maintained contacts with that country ever since.

I left Zimbabwe at the end of 1997 and ended up spending some months in South Africa where I was in a relationship for a while. I returned to the UK and taught at a big private school for a year, which was a dismal experience. After, I went back to university to qualify as a teacher and then taught in Cambridge at a tutorial college which ran one and two year GCSE and A-level courses. I was there for two years. It was a boarding school and I was resident in a small boarding house where I had responsibilities.

I spent a year in Kuwait after that, which was truly an eye-opening experience. I managed to visit the biggest tank graveyard in existence in the north of the country. I then got a job teaching mathematics at Waterford Kamhlaba United World College in Swaziland. It was here that I began sponsoring Nhlanhla Sibanyoni after I met his mother who had not been able to pay his school fees for the past year. At Waterford, I had boarding duties. I lived on campus.

I adopted my son in Swaziland in 2006. This was a life-changing experience if ever there was one. However it seemed a perfectly natural thing to do. He was an orphan. I taught at the British International School of Bratislava in Slovakia for four years. Now I live in S√łnderborg, Denmark.

As humans, our motivations for doing things can be mixed. I don't think there is always a clear cut single motivation for any action. We are complicated animals. So how do I see my motivation behind helping this student? Well, it certainly makes me feel that I am doing something useful with my time. I used to donate to charities, which is a noble thing to do but I like to know that my money is actually getting to where it is needed.

I have helped people in the past. There was a friend of mine in Zimbabwe whom I tried to help get through her studies at law school about 10 - 12 years ago. I have donated to the MDC movement in Zimbabwe and to Amnesty International. Sponsoring this student has been the longest project I have been involved in. I have paid all his school fees since 2006 as well as supporting his living expenses. Recently, I paid for him to learn to drive. Probably 10% of this money I have received in donations. The biggest problem is that with my new job I just cannot afford the level of sponsorship now that I used to give him. It is just not possible. This means that I must cut back and make up the difference from sponsorship.

My interests include mathematics, physics, HIV and AIDS, development issues, and world affairs amongst others. Some crazy things I have done in my life are: 140 skydives, learned to fly (not very well), and been arrested in Kuwait (being where I shouldn't have been). I have travelled in Mozambique, Swaziland, extensively in South Africa, Namibia, Malawi, Thailand, Hong Kong, Canada, the US, Chile, Argentina, Japan and Australia. I have visited most western and central European countries.