Sunday, December 28, 2014

Projects, Puppies, and Penguins

A bonus blog that was never posted. I am finally starting to look back on my two months with positivity! Thanks for reading such a belated update. 

In my last post, I spoke for a moment about the Project Management Training I was lucky enough to attend. I think it's important for everyone at home to know the types of projects in a diocese in South Africa and some of the challenges they face on the daily.

I met two women who worked for the Overstrand Care Centre, where Keri, fellow YASCer, is spending her year. OCC is a hospice center that is more like a halfway-house for patients that don't need to be in the hospital, but aren't quite ready to live at home without help. In addition to their in-patient care, they have in-house carers that travel around and stay half a day with patients in their homes. The women they employ as carers both at the centre and in the homes would not have work otherwise and are often single mothers needing an income to provide for their families. In addition to the 24/7 coverage by carers, OCC also provides substance abuse programs and support groups and an after-care program. They face some challenges with paperwork, but they have two care coordinators (Martin and our very own Keri) who will be working on that. There are improvements every day!

At the training, I also learned about the AIDS Action Group which meets Tuesdays and Thursdays and works with adults living with AIDS. The leaders of the group cook food for its members, but unfortunately are starting to lose food to cook with. They have 120 members total, a lot of which aren't able to eat at home and so need to eat with the group in order to survive. They're hoping to start a food garden rather than needing to rely on outside sources for food parcels that they can cook and distribute, but there is a significant lack of resources and money so it's hard for them to move forward with the plans they have for the future.

Luckily, at this training, we also had people from Masikhanye Food Garden who were more than willing to give tips and even some help to start. MFG started with some very humble roots (no pun intended!) and quickly grew into the dual programming it does today. At Masikhanye, they not only grow their own food and plant their own seedlings, but they have 3 computers on site that young people use for computer and administration training. For youth in the community that are not keen to garden, they can learn skills that will be very applicable out in the world as they're looking for jobs in the future. MFG not only feeds the people that come to their garden to buy food, but also bring any leftover food to the market and provide food parcels to the oldest locals two times a month.

Following a presentation from MFG was some information on Abigail Women's Movement which provides quite a lot of programs to help women in the area. They have sewing and recycling programs that are extremely sustainable. They run a support group for the "old and frail" in which they help with clinic visits, medication, and cooking. They've recently expanded and added another group called the "Stroke Club" where they cook and do physical activity once a week with those who have had a stroke. At their original "Seniors Club" they do exercises and craft work and feed the seniors twice a day in addition to transporting them to and from the group and providing basic care and medication. At the moment, transportation is one of their hardest challenges because there is a huge number of people they need to transport daily to their groups and medical appointments with limited staff to make sure the seniors are getting to their appointments.

We also heard from St. Johns Pre-Primary School which has four classes, each with one teacher and one college volunteer assistant. They are hosted by St. John's church, but the space is St. John's is limited and they have too many children to fit comfortably in the spaces provided.

Now, you might have noticed, but I am not the greatest about getting pictures of every event I attend and unfortunately my three days at this Project Management Training were no exception. However, I did manage to get a video of the most adorable puppy I've ever met who also happened to live at the retreat center we were staying at. Take a look at this little munchkin! Some of the background of the video might give you an idea of what the surroundings were like there.

At the end of the week after returning to the HOPE Africa office after the Project Management Training, Keri showed up! She was visiting Cape Town for the Gun Run (10K race) and decided to spend the rest of the weekend doing touristy things with me! Here follows the photographic evidence of that weekend.

We hit up the world famous Long Street in Cape Town!
Had a lovely time enjoying the view from this bar.

Watched these local girls doing a traditional dance right in the middle of the City Bowl.

Found a CT newspaper with news from Nebraska!

We stumbeld upon a Bonsai Tree festival.
Keri finally found her cupcake :)
Loved this session of South African drumming. We both took a turn!

Went for a drive along the coast on our way to Boulders Beach.

Boulders Beach has penguins!!!!
They weren't quite this close, but we could see them this clearly!

Look at the cute molting ones!

Farewell to a beautiful place

And last but not least, the Rhodes Memorial.
So close to my living arrangements and yet I only went the one
time with Keri on our touristy weekend.

I'm considering this my final farewell. Unless some great twist of fate allows me a re-do in Cape Town, this should be the final post of this blog. Totsiens and baie dankie.

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