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 ( 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!

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