Monday, October 6, 2008

July 2007 Day 9

The reality of life in South Africa is graveyards established in 2002 filling up before the end of 2006. The stunning view of acres of gravesites literally shoulder to shoulder and head to toe withyoung people dying before their time moved me to choke back tears as we sped past. It is so easy, as I move amoung the bustling life of the city, the vibrancy of the children to miss the not see it hidden just barely out of view.

And then to be swarmed by the children...the orphaned children of the Refilwe community...125 children under the age of to see the grief of those graves. To know the loss, to hear the stories...

One outreach worker told me of finding an 18 month old clinging to a 3 month old in a shack in a shanty town beside the body of their dead mother...alone for days. Another describes the indescribable obstacles faced by the 15 year old head of a 4 child household, the decisions he makes, the sacrifices he endures for his siblings...!

Indeed the children we work with, the children you mentor are not in such situations...anymore. The work of our NGO partners to give these children a life that is at least normal...that includes enough food, clothing to wear, decent schools and the ability to dream of a future. You are part of that. Part of helping them to dream of a future that is both rich and happy.

Thanks is a small word that comes of your large work. We all thank you. For your pioneering spirit, your willingess to reach past what is known and comfortable, your tenacity to stick it through with the shy boys and the flighty teenage girls. Without you their lives would be the poorer...and I daresay, so would all of ours.

With thanks for all you do!

And hey, spring is coming to South Africa (...did I mention it was DARN cold here??) a reminder of hope and new life for us all.

With great appreciation,


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