Monday, March 21, 2011

Back in the States...

I wanted to make a few final notes about my amazing trip to South Africa. I still just can't get over what  beautiful places we saw over there! The mountains, the seashores, the wild animals and so forth. The South African people have been blessed in many ways yet they're in such need as well. The two really contrast each other. It was striking how we would go out and visit these absolutely beautiful places, seeming to have an abundance of everything, then we would get back into the cab & just a few minutes down the road we would be "shocked" back into the reason we were over there. You'd see the shacks and the poverty everywhere.

I was so impressed with the spirit of the people I met though - so warm, friendly and full of hope for the future! Your heart really goes out to them and you realize how blessed we are in America. I really have a different perspective on things. The charity & what they're accomplishing is truly inspirational. When we visited the Centers of Excellence I just kept wondering, "Where would these kids be this afternoon, what would they be doing & what in the heck would they get to eat for dinner if these centers didn't exist"? I don't want to think about that & that's why I'm a committed fundraiser again this year. Check out my site at if you too would like to join in this great cause...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Monday Tuesday Weds....

We arrived on Monday not really knowing what to expect. Tuesday we were all shocked at the level of need in Orange Farm & Hillbrow. Wednesday we visited Alexandra & Mfuleni. Two things that really struck me were the happiness of the kids and how totally excited they were to see us. I have never seen such happy kids and one could easily argue that they have every excuse not to be happy! But, that's the beauty of childhood is it not? I seriously had such an awesome time interacting with those children! If I ever have the opportunity to do this again I am going to bring over little things that I now know those kids would really go wild over. Like an instamatic print camera - little video games, toys, etc. The kids were going crazy just to get their pictures taken & look back at them in the camera!!

The second thing that really impressed me was the fact that the MaAfrika Tikkun centers were in most townships the only safe go-to places the community had available to them. Also, the full circle of services that MaAfrika Tikkun provides is well beyond what I realized. We have also visited the nice touristy area's while in SA. One of my fellow travelers described our journey as "bitter sweet". Just around the corner from all of these great spots full of natural beauty & affluence you will find the insane level of poverty that MaAfrika Tikkun is fighting against. As soon as your cab gets a little ways down the road you'll see it all around you again...soberly reminding you of how very important our support of MaAfrika Tikkun really is...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wow! Today we went to the MaAfrika Tikkun "Center of Excellence" in Delft, just outside of Cape Town & visited an old African woman in her home-she is 99 years old & is in amazing shape!! She has over 30 grandkids and said she now has children in the US :)

After our home visits we toured the main medical clinic in Delft. MaAfrika Tikkun has a partnership with them to serve the needs of this impoverished community. The place was really busy but they told us it was one of their slow days...

We then returned to the MaAfrika Tikkun Center of Excellence and toured the whole facility. Like its sister centers they provide a full circle of services to the community including hot meals twice a day, two snacks, health service visits, in home food deliveries, sporting activities, gardening, documentation assistance (for birth certificates & miscellaneous documents), clothing assistance, counseling and more...  

After the tour we helped serve the lunch in the kitchen. They feed about 160 people a day at the Deflt location & the menu is planned by a nutritionalist. The food is awesome! We finished the day by participating in the dancing, games and sporting activities - they have such an amazing program there!! :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What an Eye Opener!!

This trip has been truly amazing so far and will continue to be I'm sure. I had no idea going into this that the need was so great & that MaAfrika Tikkun played such a vital role as the ONLY safety net in these impoverished communities. We have visited several of MaArika Tikkun's "Centers of Excellence" in both the Johannesburg & Cape Town areas. Diepsloot, Alexandra, Orange Farm, Hillbrow, Mfuleni....tomorrow we spend the day in Delft.

We've played with the kids, danced with them, helped them with their school work & computer skills, talked with them & their helpers, participated in the sporting & playground activities. We have tried are best to immerse ourselves into the daily happenings at MaAfrika Tikkun.

Today was incredible. We went with the health care workers on their home visits, worked with the kids again on the computers, worked in the kitchens & the gardens. One of the things that really stood out was the fact that none of the kids have any toys at home. The social workers from MaAfrika Tikkun will take  in a bag of toys for them to play with while they tend to the needs of the sick & the kids go crazy with them!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What I hope to accomplish in SA!!

1) I want to get a solid understanding of the charities day-to-day operations in each of its areas, what services they provide & what the long term goals of the charity are. 

2) I would like to get a clear understanding of how our fund-raising impacts the charity. I would like to be able to communicate to my clients what exactly a $25 or a $50 donation buys/accomplishes.

3) I hope to gain first-hand experiences of what the charity workers deal with on a daily basis and what they are trying to accomplish themselves.

4) I also hope to meet as many of the kids & people that the charity supports as possible. I would like to gain first-hand knowledge of their struggles as well as their hopes & dreams as individuals.   

On the way to SA!!

Hi all!! I am in Atlanta now on Sunday afternoon! I can't wait to meet the kids and learn more about this wonderful charity!! :)