WAGs, Kids and World Cup Dreams - Chantelle's Story: Part 1
It's been such a life-changing journey for Chantelle Tagoe, fiancee of Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey, that I asked her to share her experiences. In the first of two blog posts, she explains what she witnessed during their first visit to Baphumelele Children's Home which features in the first episode:
When I first heard about this programme I signed up pretty quick even though the producer told me it was going to be full on and upsetting.
I am not one to get nervous but I'd say the thing I was dreading most was meeting the other four girls going. I've never cashed in on the whole WAG madness. Believe it or not me and Emile are not showbiz types who spend all our time and money shopping and going to all the big parties. So I had no WAG friends at all. (By the way, I hate the word WAG, it's the one label I wish would go away.)
Emile was right behind me doing the programme, but he was worried I might come back with loads of kids, ha ha ha! We've got two boys together and he has three other children from a previous relationship, so he was worried I might do a Madonna or a Brangelina! :o)
I met the others at the airport and we just hit it off straight away. They were Elen Rivas (former partner of Chelsea star Frank Lampard), Ellie Darby (girlfriend of West Ham's Matthew Upson), Amii Grove (ex-girlfriend of Jermaine Pennant) and Imogen Thomas who had just split with Jermaine Defoe (bless her she was still quite upset about it). We are all very different but all of us were determined to work as hard as possible and try and help. Over the two weeks we became really close and never fell out once. We are all still in touch and hopefully we'll be mates forever.
We landed in Cape Town and it was a real eye opener. It is supposed to be one of the most gorgeous places in the world but not where we were going. We were going to work in a children's home called Baphumelele right in the middle of one of South Africa's biggest townships called Khayelitsha which is just a mass of shacks with people living in extreme poverty. I was so shocked.
In Baphumelele I got the best job looking after ten children in a little house called a cluster home. They were gorgeous and I loved them - you had to be careful though as they copied everything you say. After three days one little boy called Snoyolo was sounding like a proper scouser! :o)
A lot of the kids there had HIV, something I have never come into contact with before and it was just so sad. As much as you try not to get too close I couldn't help it, and one of the girls told me about some terrible things that she had been through. You realise just how lucky you are, and just how messed up things are down there.
The toughest job at Baphumelele was the baby house. Imogen and Ellie worked in there and hardly got any sleep looking after 36 babies. It stank of poo, and there were always kids crying and shouting. I went in for five minutes and couldn't take it, so hats off to the girls who stuck it out.
The night before we went to the next place the crew put us in a nice hotel in the posh part of Cape Town. Don't get me wrong it was a lovely hotel, but it just felt wrong being there. I wanted to go back to my kids in the cluster house but all being well (hint Fabio...) I will get to go back because England are playing Algeria in Cape Town so I can go and visit them again. I want to see if Snoyolo can still speak Scouse! Ha ha ha!
To be continued.....
Next week you can read more about Chantelle's trip to South Africa, her fundraising and how it has changed her life.
Chantelle Tagoe is engaged to Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey and you can watch her in WAGs, Kids and World Cup Dreams this Sunday at 9pm on BBC Three.
To go with the series BBC Three, will also be showing The WAGs' Stories on Mondays at 8.30pm. The first one features Ellie Darby.