Tag Archives: Botswana

Reflections on South Africa

I couldn’t find my journal from South Africa, so I’ll show you some pictures and tell a brief story about each.  This might be more enjoyable for you anyway!

In South Africa we spent a lot time in the classrooms at various schools. We split up into small groups and “taught” various classes. We talked about goal setting, child abuse, HIV/AIDS, drugs and other topics before opening the floor for questions they had for us. Many of these related to the USA, 9/11 (we went January of 2002), what we liked about South Africa, and more. This is a picture from one of the classrooms.

At a different school a group of kids really wanted me to go to the store with them. Ultimately, I relented and we walked a short distance to a “convenience” store. The big draw for the students was an arcade game. I can’t recall the name of the game, but I remember the shock I felt when I realized that these students were giving up their lunch money to play this stupid game. It was upsetting to me, but ultimately it was the student’s decision to make that choice. But why store owner would you do that to kids?

We did have time to stop and reflect on what we had experienced as well as the opportunity for some “touristy” type activities.  This included a little safari one day where we spent some time driving around in Safari style trucks, equipped with an elephant gun, just in case!  This was on of the giraffes we saw. We also saw some elephants, a lion, lots of warthogs, and some random other animals.

One week was spent in the northern part of South Africa, near the Botswana border. For the most part we ended up spending a large chunk of the week playing with kids. We spent time playing soccer with some older kids and visited a drop-in center for street children. These children had no place to go and couldn’t afford school.

The drop-in center provided food and structure for them. Staff would teach and counsel them, while helping them overcome their addictions. Most of these kids were addicted to sniffing glue – it helps take the edge off the hunger pangs.
We spent a few hours playing and interacting with them, before we were supposed to go to a village. As we were preparing to leave the center director decided that his kids should come with us and had them all get in the back of his pick-up truck. He then offered for a few of us to ride with them. We did and had the opportunity to interact with the kids a little more directly.

This is a group of villagers from the village we visited after the drop-in center. We spent a few hours playing soccer and interacting with some of the village youth. As we were leaving we saw this large group of villagers loading up a wagon with their personal belongings. Through our interpreters we discovered they were preparing to go out to the fields for a month. They were leaving their homes for a month to try to scrape out a living.
They were very enamored by us and wanted us to hold the babies, thinking we would be able to magically heal and bless them just by our touch. We struggled to communicate with them but some of the group was able to interact.

This last picture is a random village that we drove by. I put it here to show you some of the conditions that people live in around the world.It was seeing places like this that rocked my world and opened my heart to those who have nothing. Before this trip I knew I wanted to be involved with changing communities, but thought that meant the inner-city or rural American communities.

After seeing places like this I realized that there is something bigger that needs to be done around the world so that the poorest of the poor can have even the basic things that we take for granted.

Team World Vision

Team World Vision is a fund raising arm of the organization which uses ordinary people like me, to get ordinary people like you involved in ending poverty and injustice across the world. I have decided to commit the 26.2 miles of my first marathon to the memory of and in honor of the children I have met during my international travels. I can’t remember all of their names, but I have many pictures and stories.

On the right side of my blog there is a widget that will allow you to support me during this race or you can visit this secure page. I have set a goal of raising $2,000 which will help children have a chance at living to become adults across Africa.

[tags]  World Vision, Team World Vision, South Africa, Africa[/tags]

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