Posted by: admin | May 5, 2011

Fundraiser in Union Hall for Tony

Come one come all !!!!

TRADITIONAL MUSIC NIGHT FOR TONY’S BENIFIT WITH A VARIETY OF TRADITONAL MUSIC GROUPS AND AUDIANCE PARTICIPATION

IN A FANTASTIC TRADITIONAL IRISH PUB WITH A BEER GARDEN OVERLOOKING THE WATER

LOCATED IN A BEAUTIFUL SEASIDE FISHING CENTRE

DATE:   Friday May 6 2011

TOWN:  UNION HALL, CO. CORK (NEAR BANDON)

VENUE: CASEY’S PUB (ON THE MAIN DRAG)

TIME:   9:00 P.M.  TILL ????????  YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE

 

Posted by: admin | July 29, 2010

Beyond a Thousand Kilometers

THE FOLLOWING IS CONVERTED FROM A PDF FILE OF AN ARTICLE WITH APPEARED IN THE AUTUMN EDITION OF IWN THE INLAND WATERWAYS OF IRELAND ASSOCIATION MAGAZINE

SHANNON CHALLENGE 2010 Shannon Challenge The Boy of Hope

Helena Bergin

Donnacha Attig (his real name is Donald, but a friend of his thought that Donnacha was Irish for Donald, so he is now known under both names) is a 75 year old pensioner who has now started his second attempt to row over a ton of live aboard boat and gear solo the entire length of the Shannon and beyond. To make the engineless transit from the start of the Shannon Navigation at the Inishmagrath marker, on Lough Allen, in County Leitrim to the end of Shannon
Navigation at Killaloe, County Clare and beyond to the Port of Tarbert in the estuary requires dealing with 33 bridges, 6 locks, and nine lakes, single-handed and without mechanical power. To row and sail such a heavy boat single handed represents the ultimate challenge and requires enormous reserves of determination, stamina, commitment, physical and mental endurance.

His little live aboard cruiser, Omar’s River Bird, has racked up over 1,000 kilometers of engine-less transit from 2007 through 2009. The boat was designed and built by his son Omar, who was a boat designer in Donoughmore, Co Cork, as a camper boat to be used for cruising down the river by families who would love to get out on the water but could not afford a big motor cruiser. This is the only boat of this type that was built. Omar sold two in the first week but never built them because, as Donald says it, ‘Omar stepped into truth after a car
accident and moved in with the Lord’.

(At this point in the article there is a picture of the boat sailing close hauled.)
Omar’s River Bird pictured passing LRYC on Sunday 22 August. The boat is bigger inside than you might think. It has berths for a family, enclosed toilet room
and cast iron heating stove.

If you wonder what the two signs on the side of the boat means, it’s Mandarin Chinese for 23, his registration number in River Lee navigation. Under Irish navigation laws you have to have your boat registered and the number displayed but the law does not say anything about in which language….

Between the ages of 71 and 73 Donald was involved in establishing International Benchmark records in the fields of Endurance Challenge and Adventure Challenge. He really shows us that you can still live an active life no matter what age you are. All three of his Benchmark establishing efforts were witnessed by thousands of persons and recorded at length in the media and press. The members of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland supported, followed and chronicled the efforts. In 2007 the Lough Derg branch of IWAI awarded the boat and crew honorary membership in their annual Lough Derg rally. In the same year, the IWAI Cruising Club formally welcomed the boat into Foynes harbor, as it returned after completing the Benchmark establishing efforts at Tarbert. The club also made the crew and boat officially part of the 2007 Killaloe to Kilrush
Cruise in Company.

The official launch of the 2010 Shannon Challenge was from Carrick-on-Shannon in
the middle of August. The boat was then towed to the marker at the top of Lough
Allen which is the beginning of the Shannon Navigation. The Shannon Challenge is to draw attention to and raise funds for his charity In His Footsteps,(#CHY12973). The charity was started in 1998 when Don and
two of his friends saw the need for a small charity in India. A person they know, Maureen Clarke, worked voluntarily with disabled children in India. One of them was ten-year-old Tony, from Tamil Nadu, who he says has a remarkable intelligence and lust for life despite being born with no arms and only one boneless leg. He calls Tony ’The Boy of Hope’, a title for Tony was originally
coined by the RTE Crew from Nationwide that made the July 6, 2008 segment of the program called Boy of Hope. This charity has also built up a centre where they teach disabled children to use industrial sewing machines so that they can make a living by sewing. They are now building up a computer training centre for visually impaired people. These people live there until they have finished their education, found a job and saved enough money to buy a house for themselves.

Donald Attig was born in Pontiac, Illinois in 1936. His father was German and his mother was Irish, from Castleblaney, Monaghan. At various times, he has been an inventor, plastics engineer/formulator, boat designer, entrepreneur, yachtsman, gold prospector, forestry worker, home birth midwife, fireman on steam powered railroad engines, soldier, missionary, building contractor, roofing contractor, CEO, janitor, restaurateur, author, chaplain, social worker
and pastor. He has owned and operated several boat, plastic fabrication and
construction companies in many places in US. While still in his twenties Attig retired the first time to carry out a record setting voyage in a power cruiser, which he designed and built. In 1968 by permission of the Hon. Brian O’Kelly he became the first person to build a 3 mast sailing ship in the US under the Irish flag.

(picture inserted in magazine article) Donald Attig on Omar’s River Bird outside
Athlone Castle on Sunday 22 August

For ten years Attig and his family lived and voyaged on the 3 masted sailing ship. Attig sailed with his wife and new born son to Ireland in 1977 and traveled to many places from there, including ocean crossings. Two of his five children, Omar Brendan and John Paul, were born on the vessel. For years,
during the troubles in Northern Ireland, Attig and his son Omar operated free sailing excursions on the schooner, for at risk youth of any religion and others in need. After Omar was involved in the fatal car crash, Attig turned the ship over to the VEC Youth Reach Program. In 2001, on the day this gift was announced at Ballincollig, County Cork, President Mary McAleese personally thanked Attig for his gift and services to the Irish Nation.

If you wish to make a contribution to this worthy cause, then the details are: In His Footsteps/ Account Number 18236065/ sort code 934267/ Allied Irish Bank, 33 North Main Street, Cork City. You can send a cheque, bank draft or postal order to Don Attig, Nano Nagle’s Anchorage, Donoughmore, County Cork. He can be
contacted on the mobile (evenings only while he’s rowing!) on (087) 9640805. After the challenge is finished: (021)7337303 His website is https://donattig.wordpress.com,
email dadattig@hotmail.com.

Inland Waterways News
Autumn
2010
By clicking on the following link the Article will come up. Boy of Hope Autumn Edition 2010[1]
Boy Of Hope Challenge 2010 has been successfully completed. At about 11:00 P.M. on Friday September 24th Omar’s River Bird returned to the place where it lives – Nano Nagle’s Anchorage, Donoughmore, Co. Cork. This year’s odyssey started there about 9:00 A.M. on Thursday, August 5th, when Jack and Zafor arrived to tow the boat “up the country” to Carrick on Shannon.  The boat was launched into the Shannon River at 6:00 P.M. that night.  In both 2007 and 2008, when we launched the boat on the rocky beach at the bottom of Lough Allen, the challenges came close to being ended by wind roaring across the lake toward the beach’s hungry rocks. In 2008, after rowing almost an hour against strong winds to make about 200 yards, a squall struck and the anchor caught about 30 meters from the beach. Two days later the wind finally dropped enough that I was able to raise the anchor and row off again. Not the best start! Over two full days gone – there were still 250  plus miles of over the bottom and many struggles to cover the distance to the top of Lough Allen, where Shannon Navigation begins, and then go down against the strong prevailing winds to the seaport of Foynes, passing through 33 bridges, 6 locks, 9 lakes and many hazards.  Only 30 yards progress had been made and all that still lay ahead!  In 2007, shortly after the launch, it had taken every ounce of Jack and my combined strengths to keep the boat off the beach’s rocks. Thus it was decided to do it smart in 2010. The boat would be launched at Carrick and then towed to the top of Lough Allen, avoiding the problems of 2007 and 2008. As the Scots say, “The best laid plans of mice and men oft gang aglay!” 

On Monday, the 9th of September, Des Gillette and his crew of merry pirates lashed Omar’s River Bird to a Tara Cruiser’s stern and towed it from Carrick to the markers next to Inismagrath Island. These designate the end/beginning of navigation on the Shannon.  The tow was made in one of those glorious sun filled days, which make boating anywhere, and especially on Europe’s most pristine river, a fantastic experience. This lent to the festive air on the journey. Little did any of us know that Boy of Hope Challenge 2010 would almost end in disaster within five minutes of its official beginning!

Omar’s River Bird was cut loose from the towing yacht at 5:30 P.M. and the yacht’s crew busied themselves taking pictures of the engineless live-aboard camper-yacht being rowed past the signs which mark the end/beginning of the official Shannon Navigation. Next they wanted some pictures of the boat being sailed past the markers. I raised the full sail. They took some photos, waved, and headed back toward Carrick. Just then a localized squall line struck and I had to drop sail and heave the oversized anchor off the stern of the boat. It caught just in time and disaster was avoided by a hair’s breadth. The rocks on the back side of Inismagrath Island were baring their potentially fatal teeth only a few meters from the stern. When the wind struck it sounded as though the steering oar had cracked, but mercifully it had not. A little after half past eight the wind dropped and I rowed off shore.  By 1:30 A.M., Tuesday the 10th, I was beat. It had been twenty one hours and thirty minutes since I’d began readying the boat for its tow to the top of Lough Allen. I went in very close in to the lee (safe) shore and dropped the anchor. My plan was to rest for a half hour or hour and then go on. At 6:00 A.M. I woke up to find myself on a windward shore – not a good place to be!  That was the start of Boy of Hope Challenge 2010.

At 10:15 on Tuesday, September 31 I passed through the Bridge at Killaloe/Ballina and tied up to the floating dock just downstream of the bridge. This marks the end of the official Shannon Navigation. The trip to that milestone had been by far the most difficult of all 4 Challenges and I lost track of how many times wind, rocks and other hazards almost put paid to both the Challenge and Omar’s River Bird.

On Sunday, August 5th my youngest son, Caleb Thomas, arrived at Shannon Airport – he has moved back to his native country, The Old Sod! My old partner in various endeavours and crime, Jack Donovan, drove up to Killaloe the night before and we picked up Caleb at the airport. He joined the crew at that time and we rowed away from the Killaloe dock at 9:40 A.M. Monday, headed for the Ardnacrusha Dam with locks which drop you and your vessel 100 feet, the dangerous passage through the Limerick Bridges, and the unpredictable Sea Estuary.

Caleb Thomas really had a baptism of fire, so to speak! Too many adventures and close calls to relate in one epistle. We were driven or intentionally fled onto mud banks 4 times in the estuary. The closest call was the mad dash onto the mud bank just up stream of the Shannon Airport fuel dock and inside the man made break water. A really violent storm developed, out of nowhere, and far beyond anything which had been forecast. Smashing waves tore the back two feet off of Omar’s River Bird and tore the pipe encased port side lee board restraining chain off the boat. Thus crippled, it would have been unwise to continue on in the violent waters so I drove the boat past the breakwater and onto the mud bank. We set the anchor and rode out the heavy winds from 12:40 P.M. on Sunday September 12th till 11:35 A.M. on Thursday the 16th, when we were able to lift anchor and start rowing toward Foynes at slack tide, with the prospect of a favourable tide in about an hour. During our stay in this place of refuge we looked forward to the low tides, when Omar’s River Bird sat serenely on the mud bank. The rest of the time we were treated to a constant motion that would bring to mind an oscillating automatic washing machine!

The Shannon and its Estuary were not done with us yet. They took one more serious swipe at Omar’s River Bird and it’s crew!  Across the Shannon Estuary and downstream of our storm anchorage the medieval structure of Beagh Castle still guards Medieval port facilities. At the downstream terminus of this long abandoned complex is a finger of rocks which curl out into the Shannon Estuary like a scorpion’s tail. As we were happily passing by this romantic looking spot a strange current gripped Omar’s River Bird and pulled it inside the little bay while shoving it toward the hungry rocks’ jagged teeth. It took all the effort Caleb and I could throw into the oars and some Divine intervention to tear the little vessel from harm’s way. The Challenge was ending as it started – fraught with danger and requiring every last ounce of strength coupled with over 50 years of long distance cruising experience to survive!  Omar’s River Bird finally berthed safely at Foynes Yacht Club and among its wonderful boating community at 1:50 P.M. on Friday September 17, AD 2010.  Mission Accomplished!!!!

As a footnote to the trip I might mention that our first guests at the Yacht Club berth were a well experienced middle aged yachtsman and his adult son. The pair related to us that they almost lost their boat in stormy weather on Lough Derg because one of the two large diesel engines overheated and failed. The remaining engine had great difficulty in bringing their vessel safely through the troubled waters and neither of them had thought they were going to make it. Their boat is an ex British Admiral’s double cabin cruiser which was used as an auxiliary vessel by a British Aircraft Carrier. This really brought home to Caleb what we had accomplished. As of this date he is the youngest person to crew an engineless boat with live-aboard capability both from Killaloe to the Shannon Estuary and then down the Estuary to the Seaport of Foynes and I’m the oldest to do so.  Normally when a new benchmark is established in the categories of Adventure Challenge and/or Endurance Challenge within weeks or months someone tries to equal or best it. As of now no one has attempted to duplicate the four challenges. Before they were attempted it was thought that these were bridges too far – things that could not be done – impossible nightmares!  To date those who have looked into making similar attempts have been dissuaded when they discovered the enormity of what is involved.

Course for yours truly there is always next year!  God bless!

Below this is the post which I made just before the starting on BOY OF HOPE CHALLENGE 2010. I do hope to post some photos between here and there soon. 

Hello to all our friends and interested parties in Cyber land, receive greetings from the 300 year old cottage in Donoughmore, Co. Cork, Ireland!

God willing, on the first Thursday in August Shannon Challenge 2010 will commence. We plan to hook Zafor’s van up to Omar’s River Bird at false dawn. The little vessel is currently “moored” at the site of what was the highest boat building company in Ireland, until my son, Omar, (RIP) stepped into truth in AD 1995. From there we will voyage overland to Carrick-On-Shannon where the official launch will take place. As always my partner in high-jinx, Jack Donovan, will be riding “shotgun” on the journey “up the country”.  The vessel will then be towed to the marker at the top of Lough Allen which is the beginning of Shannon Navigation. In both the 2007 and 2008 efforts Omar’s River Bird came close to disaster when launching on the rocky beach at Cromungan. Not wanting to tempt fate a third time it was decided to tow the boat to the top of the Shannon. This also eliminates the unnecessary row from the bottom of Lough Allen to the marker at its top which is the official beginning of the Shannon Navigation. When Omar’s River Bird is cut loose from the tow our challenge commence at the official beginning of Shannon Navigation

The little live aboard cruiser has racked up over 1,000 kilometers of engine-less transit from 2007 through 2009. During those Challenges many international benchmark records in both adventure and endurance challenge have been established. Hence this effort is “beyond a thousand kilometers“.  As always we are trying to highlight our fundraising for our very special boy, Tony, and the project in India. And showing the world that the best part of life starts at retirement. I entered my 75th year of life on February 2 this year and never had it so good!

A picture taken by the Enniskillen Impartial Reporter Newspaper as I was on my way to the first engine-less transit of the Erne Navigation in AD 2009.

At the end of it all I hope to have some photos and comments to add to the site. Please keep the effort and the fundraising in prayer. The photo above was taken by the Enniskillen Impartial Reporter Newspaper as I was rowing through that town, while making the first engine-less transit of the Erne Navigation in a live-aboard boat. The date was August 13, 2010.

Thanks and God bless,        Donnacha Attig

Posted by: admin | September 8, 2009

BEYOND 1000 KILOMETERS – SHANNON CHALLENGE 2010

Hello to all our friends and interested parties in Cyber land, receive greetings from the 300 year old cottage in Donoughmore, Co. Cork, Ireland!

God willing, on the first Thursday in August Shannon Challenge 2010 will commence when we hook Zafor’s van up to Omar’s River Bird, which is currently “moored” at the site of what was the highest boat building company in Ireland, until my son, Omar, (RIP) stepped into truth in AD 1995. From there we will voyage overland to Carrick-On-Shannon where the official launch will take place. As always my partner in high-jinx, Jack Donovan, will be riding “shotgun” on the journey “up the country”.  The vessel will then be towed to the marker at the top of Lough Allen which is the beginning of Shannon Navigation. In both the 2007 and 2008 efforts Omar’s River Bird came close to disaster when launching on the rocky beach at Cromungan. Not wanting to tempt fate a third time it was decided to tow the boat to the top of the Shannon. This also eliminates the unnecessary row from the bottom of Lough Allen to the marker at its top which is the official beginning of the Shannon Navigation.

The little live aboard cruiser, Omar’s River Bird, has racked up over 1,000 kilometers of engine-less transit from 2007 through 2009, establishing many international benchmark records in both adventure and endurance challenge. Hence this effort is beyond a thousand kilometers.  As always we are trying to highlight our fundraising for our very special boy, Tony, and the project in India. And showing that the best part of life starts at retirement. I entered my 75th year of life on February 2 this year and never had it so good!

At the end of it all I hope to have some photos and comments to add to the site.

Please keep the effort and the fundraising in prayer. The photo above was taken by the Enniskillen Impartial Reporter Newspaper as I was rowing through that town while making the first engine-less transit of the Erne Navigation in a live-aboard boat.

Thanks and God bless,        Donnacha Attig

It’s been a while since I could do a posting.  No electricity on a boat without an engine! And no Internet cafes in the middle of the lakes or at the Jetties scattered around the Erne Loughs. 

Our quest ended in success at 7:45 P.M., Sunday August 30, AD 2009 when I rowed into the Beleek public harbor.

Rowing into Beleek

Rowing into Beleek Harbor.                                         Mission Accomplished!!!

While I was rowing away Tonyhad his first day at his new school in Chennai. He and Maureen moved there to facilitate the passport process.

TONY'S FRIST DAY AT NEW SCHOOL

The photo of him shows the real Tony. A wonderful little boy of loves life, doesn’t worry about what he can’t do and concentrates on enjoying what he can do to the fullest! God willing, we will be able to see him soon here in Ireland and the UK. 

God bless, Donnacha Attig

On the beautiful evening of August 6, at the Dunking Stool Quay in Belturbet, Co. Cavan, Her Excellency Priscilla Jana, Ambassador from S. Africa to Ireland officially Launched the BOY OF HOPE Lough Erne 2009 Challenge. The Belturbet Town Council was present to welcome the Ambassador and support the BOY OF HOPE project. Many other dignitaries attended, several of which delivered speeches of encouragement.

Local Garda were present as a guard of honor, out of respect for Her Excellency.

Long serving Belturbet Counselor, Anthoney Vesey, organized a wonderful reception for the Ambassador which included a reception at the 7 Horseshoes Hotel featuring live traditional music.   The Wine Cellar of Dublin, Importers of fine wines, furnished excellent S.African Wine for the reception. Belturbet Counsel furnished the finger food and Francis Cahill, owner of the Seven Horseshoes supplied the venue and music.

One of the highlights of the event were songs by the Ambassador’s beautiful and talented daughter, Tina. These included her passionate rendition of the South African National Anthem.

Don & Priscilla

Her Excellency, Priscilla Jana and Donnacha

martin dinanay

Martin Denany, of Waterways Ireland, giving words of encouragement.

Rowan & Michael Casey

Rowan Hand, Television and Radio prsenter and journalist, who filmed the Nationwide BOY  OF HOPE documentary on the left and Dr. Michael Casey, one of only four Post Doctoral Fellows of Ireland. Dr. Casey did much of the organizing work for the event.

Jack Donovan, who co-crewed the the benchmark record  establishing 2007 Shannon Challenge fundraiser, is in the background adjusting the boat’s trailer.

r Tony Tina Priscilla

Tina Jana, daughter of the Ambassador, Her Excellency Priscilla Jana, Donnacha and Cllr. Anthoney Vesey who did a magnificent job of organizing Belturbet’s reception of the Ambassador and other dignataries.

Posted by: admin | July 31, 2009

I just received the following Independance day (Indian’s) Email from Marueen about some of the friends she and Tony have made. Know you will enjoy the warm comments about them. God bless, Donnacha

_____________________________________________

FROM MAUREEN AND TONY, INDEPENDANCE DAY 2009

From Maureen and Tony, Independance day, 2009

Well, the monsoon does seem to have begun properly – and, as in most other places in India, it comes each day at more or less the same time!  Great!….you can get your washing and shopping done in good time!  The heat still remains, but it’s lovely and cool in the mornings and at last, the water in the shower is cool too!

I know that we’re not leaving India any time soon, but the passport application has kind of provoked a time of reflection in many ways and I’ve been reliving some of the places we have lived and the people we have met.

Over the years there have been some colourful people in our lives here, all having touched our life and vise versa.  From the old man that used to sit at the end of the road on a daily basis in Mohan Row Colony, to the wannabe cowboy who rides a souped-up Honda 150 around the streets here in Chennai now.  So many years, so many people.  Pity we don’t have photos of them all,. but carrying a camera around has never been a strong point with me – and the good old cheapo cell phone doesn’t quite ‘do it’ when pics are taken with it – most have to be deleted as the pictures come out quite indecipherable!!

As there’s no news to speak of this month, we thought we’d share a kind of diary of people that we have had the good fortune to meet whilst in India – SO, we hope that you enjoy the ride!

In Mohan Row Colony, every morning we met a lady that has a mentally challenged little boy (not so little now!) and she would offer a little smile.  We learned her child’s name was Balaji.  Through Tony, she told me that she was sad that her little boy would never be able to do anything.  I let her know that Balaji did something every day that she wasn’t aware of – and that was that he brightened up so many people’s lives because of his utterly infectious smile – she hadn’t looked at Balaji like that and smiled herself then.  It was true – the little boy broke into a wide smile when he saw other people and most would smile back at him, perhaps their only smile of the morning, but it had come through Balaji!.

Then there was Rosaline – a sweet lady in Krishnagiri who ran to and hugged us each time she saw us when we were out.  She was as close to me as a sister and we still call each other.  It was my first experience of a female holding hands with me (it’s common place in India) but it felt as natural as breathing.  We talked together as if we had known each other all our lives and still do, albeit by telephone now as she moved away to Kerala. People in the stores always give an honest and open welcome – and call us into the store for a cup of famous South Indian coffee.  We sit for a while and leave.  We bought nothing, instead, for free, we deepened familiarity of our neighbours in the town.  People came out of their stores simply to give a sweetie to Tony and young ladies especially (much to Tony’s delight) would swarm around his chariot to say hello to him!

The market especially has always been a place where fruits are peeled when they see us coming and given in little bits of paper or a small plastic bag, for consumption now or later

People here give out of their own poverty, simply because they want to.

There are those who stop us to practice and ask to be corrected, in their English.  Almost all that we meet, invite us to their homes.  Some we have been to, some have been a little too far away.

There is an old lady in Hosur.  She is very thin and probably around 80 years of age.  Her gray hair tied back in the familiar bun.  She sits atop her barrow that is full of bracelets, toe rings and trinkets.  Next to the barrow is a shelter made out of palm fronds and tarpaulin which she shares with her husband – the barrow is tightly tied up at night-time, covered in plastic and bits of tin and padlocked to her husband’s foot.  She has lived there for twenty years. They are not supposed to live there, on the street, but police kindly turn a blind eye to some things like this.  She has all she needs, she says – what would she do in a house? ….with all those rooms?  Her husband smiles a toothless, warm smile.

There is an auto driver named Basha.  He is a lovable rogue who would give the earth to you if he had it.  There is a lovable rogue of an auto driver too, here in Chennai – Pandian – a little different to Basha, but nevertheless, lovable and kind. 

There is the extremely tall, well built, formidable looking DSP (Deputy Superintendent of Police) we met in Krishnagiri – now in Salem, who invited us in to the Station for a cup of coffee and biscuits and asked my son “are you afraid of me?” to which Tony replied, “No, why, should I be?”  and who then laughed so deep and loud it frightened me!  It was he who made some life-saving calls, even though he was in Salem by then, when my passport was stolen a few years back. He asked me what God I believed in and I was stuck for a minute – wondering if it was a question I should answer or not, given the place I was in.  I simply said that I believed in the One God – to which he replied “Yes, there is only one God!” and this from a staunch Hindu talking with a Christian.

The wonderful little friends that Tony has had and has now – who trample through the rooms, leaving them looking like the Russian Army has camped here overnight.  Do I moan?  no.  I simply sit back and enjoy the fact that despite the disabilities he has, that Tony is capable of making and keeping friends.

There were the thirty or so street kids that came as and when they pleased, to our home.  They came to eat, to play or simply to ‘be’.  Their little faces will never leave my mind or go far from my heart.  All with their own heartbreaking and sometimes tragic stories.  The resident children over the years, who were so much a part of our family.  The men who delivered our water & gas containers and ended up staying for supper with the kids and then playing with them.  The computer engineers that installed games for free on the kids PC, and then wouldn’t take a penny for coming out in the first place.

The volunteers that came from South Africa, Canada, the UK, and elsewhere.  The people that lived for a short time, in cities nearby for work and who came laden with gifts for our resident and street kids. All with their own personalities and experiences to offer the children.  The special people that are still our friends and who visit regularly and call every week Those who love and have never yet met Tony, but who nevertheless support his wish for the future unreservedly & wholeheartedly.  Those who offer unconditional friendship, both here and abroad. Those who work behind the scenes in the hope of cutting through some of the endless reams of red tape – all of you – are firmly in our book of life. And very especially, those who allow us to remain together because of your support, which without this support, we would have been lost a long time ago.

I know of several people who have come to India and adopted children.  One family from Canada adopted three children through “Families for Children”, another Indian lady (Indian born) and her British husband seemingly couldn’t have their own children – adopted a little girl from Bangalore and then found out they were pregnant and now have the two little girls – all living in the UK now. I guess my wishes for Tony are the same as their wishes for their new families.
 
It hasn’t all been good, not at all (is it anywhere we live? – I don’t think so!).  But sometimes the tiniest things that happen, reaffirm your belief in human nature and you simply forget the unpleasant things that have happened.  There have been many and at times I have wondered if we could ever pick ourselves up again – but then, we put those things out of our minds and out of our lives and start afresh on the new day that God has given us. 

We walk along the road and fill ourselves with the mysteries that surround us constantly.  Even where cattle and goats, chickens and dogs, feed on the mounds of rubbish that adorn these streets, we can find such amazing and stunning beauty, that I wonder if my heart can hold it all!

This is the diverse and sometimes tragically beautiful India – a place that you find yourself in and you know your heart and your very being is changed forever.

Happy Independence Day for the 15th (Indian, that is!)

M

Cllr. Derry Canty, Cork County Mayor, Kicked off the BOY OF HOPE LOUGH ERNE CHALLENGE 2009 with a ceremony at Cork County Council Chamers on Wednesday July 15th. In the photo from left to right: Donnacha Attig, County Mayor Derry Canty, Connor O'Leary representing Donoughmore, Co. Cork, Jack Donnovan Logistics mangaer for the Challenges, Kieran Riordan Director of In His Footsteps, Kellie Donovan Donation Card Coordinator

Cllr. Derry Canty, Cork County Mayor, Kicked off the BOY OF HOPE LOUGH ERNE CHALLENGE 2009 with a ceremony at Cork County Council Chambers on Wednesday July 15th. In the photo from left to right: Donnacha Attig, County Mayor Derry Canty, Connor O'Leary representing Donoughmore, Co. Cork, Jack Donnovan Logistics manager for the Challenges, Kieran Riordan Director of In His Footsteps, Kellie Donovan Donation Card Coordinator

It was a wonderful and auspicious official kick off for this year’s efforts.  There were speeches by Cllr. Derry Canty Cork County Mayor and Donnacha Attig stressing the worth and importance of the project and a reception with refreshments for all attending. Cllr. Canty, Cork County Mayor informed the gathering that he plans to go to Belturbet on August 6 to be present when South African Ambassador Priscilla Jenna Officially launches Omar’s River Bird for this years BOY OF HOPE CHALLENGE.

Posted by: admin | July 13, 2009

Jack Donovan: Our Guardian Angel

Jack doing mast repairs at Carrick. He is the Merlin the Magician of on the spot, seat of your trousers, engineering! Jack doing mast repairs at Carrick. He is the Merlin the Magician of on the spot, seat of your trousers, engineering!

Do you believe in Guardian Angels ??

Well I do! The fundraisers for THE BOY OF HOPE project have had one in human form.  His is a very resourceful and caring man and the best engineer I’ve ever known or worked with; his name is Jack Donovan. 

I’m dead serious about his ability as an engineer – and that is a mouthful as almost 4 decades ago my engineering work was written up in every widely used language including Swahili.  At that time many people in the plastics trade rated me as the number one plastic engineer on planet earth. You can see photos of the building system which triggered that rating by clicking on the “WHY”  tab.  I’d also formulated super strong, machine-able plastics, which helped to put men on the moon.

Jack hails from the Farran, Co. Cork area and presently lives in Ballincollig, Co Cork. For the past several years  his life has been centered around helping young folk, that society has cast onto the world’s garbage heap. Because of Jack and others like him many of these children learn how to cope with and function in our society. Lives are salvaged by these caring people!

I can say, without reservation,  that without Jack’s help and support the Challenges would not have come off; nor would they have generated enough support to keep the project going.

On the first Shannon Challenge in AD 2007 Jack not only did a great deal of the organizing (something he is very good at) he also acted as the co challenger along with me. At the time Jack was 60 years old and had suffered full blown MS for over two decades!

Jack more than pulled his end of the oar, as we rowed well over 90% of the distance. He also was “Johnny on the spot” when repairs were needed. In the process of that challenge, we established world class benchmark records in both the Adveture Challenge and Endurance Challenge Catagories. 

With Jack the challenges received two Guardian Angels for the price of one as his lovely daughter Kellie has pitched in and been a wonderful blessing at the promotion end of things.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I could row away on the boat but without help this very important project, which ultimatly effects so many people, just would not be flying!

THE MORE THE MERRIER! 

I could really use and would greatly appreciate your help. We have donation cards for interested persons to pass around their circle of friends and other ways of helping. You can find the details by clicking on the “Donations” tab. Or you can contact my special guardian angel, Jack, at:

(021) 428 9801 or (mobile) 086 355 3433 

If you decide to help in any way you become a member of  Tony’s GUNG HO GANG and an honorary aunt or uncle of our special Boy of Hope. 

 
 
 

 

Thanking you for your interest, Don (aka Donnacha) Attig

Our motto GUNG HO derived from the Chinese words for Cooperative Farm and translating into the English words WORKING TOGETHER. We are working together to make the world a better place for all its peoples. Our motto, GUNG HO, derived from the Chinese words for Cooperative Farm and translating into the English words WORKING TOGETHER. We are working together to make the world a better place for all its peoples.

NEWS FLASH !

The Cllr. Derry Canty, Mayor of County Cork,  will be hosting the Official launch of the “BOY OF HOPE LOUGH ERNE CHALLENGE 2009” at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday the 15th of July at the Mayors Office in Cork County Council building, on the Straight Road.

 

 

 

Derry Canty Cork County Mayor

Cllr. Derry Canty, Cork County Mayor County CorkCounty Hall, County Cork

 

 

Posted by: admin | July 3, 2009

Date Set For Launch Of Boat On Lough Erne

Boy Of Hope: Lough Erne Challenge 2009
Official Boat Launch will take place at Belturbet, August 6, at 6:30 P.M. kicking off this years BOY OF HOPE CHALLENGE.  Public welcome.

Her Excellency Priscilla Janna will officiate at this ceremony. A picture of Her Excellency and links connected to Her Excellency can be found by clicking on the OFFICIAL LAUNCH tab.

VENUE: Belturbet launching ramp, close to the bottom of Upper Lough Erne – public welcome .

 

Starting  on August 6 Don (AKA Donnacha) Attig will attempt make the first transit of the entire Erne Navagation in a live aboard boat which has no engine. The begining of the Erne Navagation is at Belturbet and it ends at Belleek.  If successful he will have been involved in rowing the boat and gear, weighing in excess of one ton, over 600 miles over he bottom in the past 3 years to draw attention to and raise funds for little Tony, who he calls The Boy of  Hope. He uses this title for Tony because of all the people in India, Europe, and the United States who have had their lives changed for the better through tony’s influence.

Tony in 2009

Tony in 2009

Donate to Help Tony

Posted by: admin | June 17, 2009

Letter From Tony and Maureen

To: dadattig@hotmail.com
Subject: Tony & Maureen: Newsletter June 2009

Letter from Chennai

Dear family & friends,

Already half of 2009 has disappeared and finds us in Chennai, having left Hosur almost three months ago.  I didn’t think it was going to be as difficult as it has been – but it has!  The familiarity of the small Town of Hosur has Tony and I talking fondly of it regularly.  The few friends we had, long since got on with their lives and the most wonderful next door neighbours anyone could ever have wished for.  It wasn’t all good though, we suffered some nasty disturbances sometimes at night and some stone throwing at both Tony and our dog even during daylight hours – but we do still miss it.  We have still not found our way around this City of Chennai and not got close enough to anyone to build friendships.  Tony has had a few fairweather friends but that’s something we put up with because we won’t be here forever. The climate in Chennai leaves a lot to be desired and at times out health suffers – still the local hospital has done well out of our visits!!!

As most of you are aware, another Passport application was filed almost 2 months ago and then of course we had electioneering in between when it was filed and when it was ‘due’, and we’re working on the possibility that that is the reason for the delay.  We live in hope.

Don is yet again going to mess about on the river, this year, for Tony and we wish him the very best of luck in his third quest for his “Best-Buddy”  I believe, (though plans are not yet finalised) that it will be in the North of Ireland this year.  Our website will keep you updated on that, that’s for sure!

Our friends in the North, one in particular, are working to secure an invitation for Tony to go to school there and other things concerned with a study visa (the list is endless!) so that when a passport is issued, we may have some chance of getting to the West.

Tony himself has begun home school again and is doing very well.  Not so pleased that the work was going to be a lot harder this year (as he is now almost ten and a half!) but coping admirably nevertheless.  He catches on and learns so quickly, it is astonishing!  He still loves computer games and is as swift as a bird, though a little less elegant!  He is finishing off the illustrations for his book of short stories for children “Wilver the pig and other stories” and I think he will write another three or four stories, illustrated for that book and then it will be finished.  His first book “Tony’s Love” is done and I am getting into a format for presentation to publishers if we get the chance!

Just today, I believe Tony changed the course of his future.  I was cleaning the bathroom, when I heard him kind of singing…..Tony isn’t gifted with the most wonderful of voices, but when he puts his mind to it he can carry off a song beautifully.  Anyway, there I was, purposely taking my time in the bathroom because I didn’t want to disturb his momentum.  It was magnificence in the making!  He was sort of talk-singing, as they do with Rap Music and it went something like this: 

Who says,  I can’t dress myself,
who says,  I can’t play my games,
who says,  I can’t do stuff baybee,
WHO SAYS I can’t change the world? 
But that’s just me

I say, I’ll move mountains,
Well, I say,  I can do this,
N’ I say you never gonna stop me,
and I say I can change the world baybee!
But that’s just me”

……..and it went on and on and was absolutely brilliant.  Now of course, I am going to see if I know anyone who knows anyone in the music business who would be interested in recording a Rap Song by a phocomelic child who has his finger on the very pulse of life.  Who knows where this could lead?……my son the Author and Rap Singer?  Why not? Who says he can’t do that!!  Tony is open for business and offers!….seriously!  The song is brilliant and we’re going to work on it together, to get it together, together!

Now of course, he has plans of what he will do with all the money he’s going to earn being a Rap/Pop singer.  Good luck to him I say.  I always tell him: “Believe in yourself, believe that you CAN do stuff; Try everything and if it’s not for you – you tried it – no regrets!  You can do anything you put your mind to and let NO man tell you otherwise! ….and I think he believes this.  He asks Jesus to help him, when he has a mountain in front of him – because he’s heard me doing the same.  He has always made me proud to be his mum!

So, people, as some of you prepare to go off on your hols and some of you don’t, we wish for you everything you wish for and remember that you are in our prayers here in India and always will be.  We would still ask for special prayers for my old friend Jim as he packs his suitcase to go to live with the Lord.  God bless you all,

Love and thoughts from

Maureen and Tony

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