Monday, July 21, 2014

67 minutes

Last Friday would have been Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday.  'Mandela Day' is always a big thing in South Africa, but this year, as it was the first Mandela Day since his death last December, was extra special.  South Africans don't celebrate Mandela Day with a public holiday like we tend to do for our leaders in the US.  No, instead of sitting around catching up on movies or sleep or something, South Africans encourage one another to spent 67 minutes doing something to make the world a better place.  I LOVE this country!  (Side note:  Why 67 minutes?  Because Mandela gave 67 years of his life to public service, so the public is asked to give 67 minutes of their time to honor his legacy.)

I got back to Cape Town from Lesotho just in time to join HOPE Africa in our 67 minutes.  There are lots of options for what 'service' can look like, and all are worthy causes.  Some of the other Anglican Church employees visited an NGO that makes sleeping bags for homeless people out of recycled plastic bags.  One of my friends in Hermanus picked up trash along the cliff path.  The presenters on my favorite Cape Town radio station spent the day at a community food garden.  We at HOPE believe that, while giving 67 minutes of your time is great, real lasting change happens when you have an ongoing partnership with the communities in which you work.  As such, we chose to visit one of the schools in Khayelitsha that we're already involved with.  Friday was also the last day of the winter school holidays, and the holiday program for the kids was coming to a close.  We partnered with another local NGO, Abagail House, and a few generous families to serve lunch for the kids and hand out a few supplies and toiltries that would be useful at the start of their new term.  We also got to stick around and see what the different students had prepared for their Mandela Day assembly.  It was such a great day, and I'm so glad I came back to South Africa in time to participate!  I think Tata Mandiba would have been proud of all his children.

The HOPE girls show off the packages we made for the kids.  They contained a wash cloth, soap, toothbrush, and toothpaste to help the kids look good and stay healthy for their new school term.

Abagail House, an NGO in Khayelitsha where these local ladies are employed sewing garmets.  Currently they are sewing new track suit uniforms for the school we visited.

Thandeka enjoys a cup of tea with the Abagail House ladies.

Two of the boys enjoy their lunch.  The kids really liked having their picture taken, and some of them were hamming it up!

These guys did some magic tricks and made baloon animals for the kids!

All of the classes assembled for their Mandela Day festivities

Each class had prepared a song and OH MY GOSH could some of these kids sing!

And check out this eight year old drumming!  She was AWESOME!

Jenny from HOPE (on the left, gray sweatshirt) joined right in with the oldest class!

Class photo.  I'm actually in this picture!  Don't see me?  That's because I'm crouched behind the umbrella holding it down as the Cape of Storms was busy earning its name with gale-force winds.

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