Monday, January 26, 2009

Global Story: South Afica, part 2

Once again you have all blown me away with your interest and reaction to my first blog post about my trip to Africa.  I am so excited that many of you are interested in giving money, collecting items and even going with us!  This is why we tell the kid's story- how can you not want to respond to such beautiful faces?!  Through out this post I am going to throw in more ways that you can help these kids.  Please email me (storyphotographers@gmail.com) or leave your email in a comment and I will give you the address to which you can send monetary donations.  I will also be posting a list of items that you can collect that will be taken on the next trip. 

More Stories for you...

Currently the Mabopane Foundation here in the Raleigh area is in the process of raising money to build an orphanage for Mama Mary's kids.  The kids are currently spread out between a handful of residential houses- Mama Mary has workers assigned to each house.  Mama Mary is registered with South Africa's version of social services so that when police pick up children that need a home, they can be taken to her.  The government is always pushing her to get a new space or stop taking in children, yet they do nothing to help fund her at all.  The land and a fence are in place for the building to be built, the money just has to come together in order for the building supplies to be purchased.  In the mean time, the older boys have gotten a project under way at the new land that will benefit them all- gardening!  They are growing vegetables that will not only  be a learning tool for the kids but also be a food resource.

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Timba is one of the older guys that lives at Lotus Home and he is exceptionally gifted in sports.  If I remember correctly, most of these medals are from running.


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This next character is unusual in the townships.  The first year we met him he introduced himself as "George… George Bush to you Americans" and then gave us a hearty laugh.  George plays many different roles at Lotus Home:  driver, male mentor, pastor, handyman, etc.  According to Mama Mary it is rare to see a man like George in the townships, someone so interested in being a positive male influence for the children.  He has started preaching for the orphanages Sunday service and he is fabulous!

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Ryan jumped in and decided to help the ladies prepare the veggies, while Cameron helped Coco (the short, affectionate nickname for the Tswana word for Grandma) make fatcakes.  People, you have not lived until you have eaten fat cakes.  They are like doughnuts but without the sweetness- or the holes.  You can add cheese, sugar, jam, etc.  These are a real treat and are only made to celebrate guests.

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As I mentioned in the previous post, Mama Mary lives by the saying "the little we have we share", and by doing so she has a couple of different ministries that she helps with.  If she is given food/clothes/supplies, she chooses to keep just what they need at the time, and then shares the rest people in need in her neighborhood.  The elderly, the handicap and the poor all find love and nourishment at Lotus Home.  Mama Mary showed us one of her newest ministries, "Blanket Town".  We drove by but did not stop as it was not safe since we did not bring something to give to the people.  Blanket Town is a refugee settlement including people from Somalia, Zimbabwe and other African countries.  These people come to South Africa with the promise of job opportunities and a stable government.  Unfortunately many people believe this, so when they arrive they realize there are no jobs, and they do not have the money or need to return home.  They build their homes from blankets and a little plastic given to them by companies.  (I took these through the window as we drove by)


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When we go in December we always throw a Christmas party for the kids.  Different churches and organizations here in the states collect items to make gift bags for the children of all ages.  People also give items for the workers at the orphange.  Mama Mary though it would be fun if we had a Brie aka an African cookout.  We ended up doing our Christmas activities as the sun was going down and into the evening, so the pictures aren't the best (note: I take minimal equipment when I travel there bc of the high chance of things breaking or being stolen).

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Decorating for the party- hand and footprints!

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Singing and Dancing!

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Gift opening!- You can see we painted faces too.

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The view over the township that night…

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The next day the little kids had an extra long nap time… you are looking at one method of crowd control.  Actually, they were just recently given beds by an Afrikaner church in Pretoria.  This is how the small children slept the first few years we visited with them. 

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Ways that you can help:

1. Give Money to either/both the Mabopane Foundation for their daily needs and for the building fund and/or give money to Forest Hills Baptist Church, designated to the Mabopane trip, for the teams to take to the township to buy things like food, school uniforms, etc while actually there.  If you give money to the foundation you have the option to designate it specifically for the new building, bread, electricity bill, school uniforms, etc.

2. Collect Items for either/both their daily needs and/or the Christmas party.  Items they typically need include deodorant, sanitary pads, ink pens (for school), toothpaste/tooth brushes, Tylenol (no liquids), children's Tylenol (again, no liquid).

3. Tell the Story- Pass along these blog posts.  Tell your friends about it.  Read up on poverty, hunger, AIDS, and orphans in South Africa and the continent as a whole.  There are several team members that are open to speaking to your church/organization/social service/etc.

4. Ask Me More Questions- Feel free to ask me whatever you would like about the information I have shared with you here.  The more you know the more you can help! 

Again, I am more than impressed at the ways that you have been interested in this trip.  Some of you I have never even met before and you are offering of your money and resources- I wish the world was filled with more people like you!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Life Story: Winter Wonder Land

I interrupt my regularly scheduled blogging to show off the snow we had in central NC!  For all of you northern blogstalkers (and I keep learning that there are more and more of you), please forgive this post.  You see snow all the time in the winter.  We haven’t had a snow like this in forever, and it was only like 5 or 6 inches!  And this girl loves snow!!  I actually told David's Mom that I felt like we were going to get a decent snow this year at the end of January- and yes, I am known for my prophetic skills.

After this I will get back to telling you about my trip to Africa...

You might remember that my sister lives with David and I... and so does her puggles, Madi.  This was Madi's first snow and we were so excited to stick her in it!  At first she was scared but then loved it- and ate it.

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A puggle is a cross between a beagle and a pug.  When looking up Madi shows off one of her more attractive pug feactures- an under bite.

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David and Madi fighting crime together

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Madi hoping that the snow doesn't run off without her knowing about it.

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David and I took a long walk from our place to my Mom's house.  The sun decided to sneak out for us.

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Hey, there is no rule about looking fashionable or cute when taking a 3-4 mile walk in the snow- don't judge me. [note David would like to add he thinks he looks homeless and would like a disclaimer as well]

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Signs of life

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LOVE THIS- we have creative neighbors.  I love these old Christmas lights and don't they look stylish on a snowperson.  These pictures are straight out of camera.

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Band Story: Wrecking Season

Its the hubs again.  Blogging all by myself, pictures and all.

I've been wanting to take pictures for a local band for a while now.  Since I'm a frequent show-goer in the local Raleigh music scene and have a few friends in bands, I thought it would just be nice to help out with a press kit here and there.  Wrecking Season was the first band to come to me for some photos and photos I gave them.

I've known the guys in Wrecking Season for quite a while now.  Mike and I both went through college together at Campbell University.  Mark, Mike's brother, did the engineering for my bands album.  Ben is a newer friend but I feel like I've known him just as long as Mike and Mark.  

Anyways here is my first step into band photography.

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We met up at our favorite pub in town- for that quaint rustic feel.
 Big Boss is the best, period.

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Mark:  Vocals | Keys | Guitar

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Mike:  Drums

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Ben:  Vocals | Guitar

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Mike showing off his new Christmas ink.

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Having fun with our lighting.

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Put out your cigarette and get another beer.

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Thanks guys for the opportunity.  Couldn't have been better- music, photography, and big boss.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Global Story: South Afica

Wait no longer!  The time has come for me to start posting about my trip to South Africa in December.  I will be sharing about the trip over a series of posts so I can tell more stories and show more pictures to you.  Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.  I am also going to try to throw in ways that you can get involved from America.

As I mentioned before, my family has been involved in Mabopane, South Africa for 4 years now.  We stay with the children at Lotus Home Orphanage and Community Center.  In previous years Lotus Home was basically run out of one building.  Every year we have noticed this, but this year it was most evident- with the help of people here in NC and their friends, the lives of the people at the Lotus Home keep improving. 

This is Mama Mary.  She is around 70 years old and is in charge of Lotus Home.  Her motto is "the little we have we share" and I have never met someone who lived up to this standard so well.  When they are given food or clothes, after the children are given exactly what they might need right then, the rest is given to people in the township who might need it.


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A huge improvement we noticed was in the children's health.  The first year we visited them they were not regularly fed and when they were, their food's lacked nutrients- they could not afford any better.  The children's hair was brash and brittle, unhealthy skin.  After playing for a few minutes they would grow tired and fall asleep in your lap.  Because of the groups that have gone to Lotus Home, both with my family and through the Mabopane Foundation, these kids are looking healthier each year.  There are people that give to the foundation every month to help purchase the children's food, school uniforms, and to cover the utilities.  Let me introduce you to some of my friends in South Africa… 

Te'-Te' and Thabiso showing me how they can do multiple cartwheels- so much little boy energy...

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Leonard learning his letters with some alphabet puzzles sent by a teacher here in the states.

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Audrey and Cantato learning as well.

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Mark and Cameron enjoying the puzzles with friends.

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While their nutrition is much better, the medical care that is available to them has not changed and is not good.  We are looking to bring medical professionals with us on future trips.  Dipuo had a nasty case of the measles last year, and the scars have hung around.

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It is exciting to see that a local company has offered to donate children's vitamins to the kids- this used to be an item that groups collected and brought over from America.

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This little friend came in with her older brother in the middle of the night while we were there- their mother had died of AIDS and they had no family to look after them.  Sad eyes...

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The kids at play:

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Playdough from friends in the US.

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Me at play.

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Sarah and her baby!  This is how the women carry their babies, and many of the little girls like to do this with the baby dolls they are given in their Christmas bags, along with other gifts from donating friends here in the states.

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Mary Carr teaches some of the boys how to play hot potato... luckily she had the help of a few older boys to translate the rules to the preschool age boys.

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South African radios air lots of American music.  These girls were telling my Mom that the one person they would want to meet from the US would be Beyonce... anyone have connections with Beyonce???

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I love South Africa!

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* all toys seen in these posts were collected here in the states and given as Christmas presents or used in activities that the group did with the children