Back to Los Angeles After a South African Safari
After a butt-numbing 36-hour travel day (which, technically makes it “days”), we are home from our African adventure.
If you want to read about our romantic, intrepid, grabbing-life-by-the-cajones safari with lots of photos you can start HERE.
We certainly miss living among the beasts of the natural world; swimming in pools filled with river water; the fattening, extravagant buffets; the shops selling indigenous arts and crafts and dresses (I love dresses because they don’t have buttons).
But I think what we miss most are the people we love in Africa. In particular, these people:
The purpose of our visit to Henna Pre-School was to give back to the indigenous Lion Sands community who took such good care of us during our stay there.
And as a mom, it was also an opportunity for me to show my daughters how other families and children live, so my kids can understand that not everyone has the same privileges, even as, in every other way, we’re so much alike.
I also wanted my kids to see the world is a much bigger place than just their elementary school and circle of friends.
That they are citizens of the world who can contribute meaningfully simply by being kind and putting themselves in another person’s shoes, or by volunteering, or donating time, effort and income when they can.
A lovely, resourceful woman named Thembi Mdluli was our host at Henna.
Thembi is the Community Development Manager at Lion Sands.
She was born and raised in Huntington and has almost single-handedly built this school, by securing donations from companies like Nokia, Toyota Australia, Lion World and, believe it or not, The Bachelor, during the Brad Womack season.
In contrast to the local village, the pre-school is very much of the Developed World.
It is one of the only facilities in the community to have its own water source (a well that was dug and donated by Nokia).
It offers two nutritious meals to the children a day.
It has a state-of-the-art-shade structure and jungle gym. It has its own garden, planted by the children, and wonderful classrooms.
Based on the poverty we saw in the greater Huntington village, we were blown away by how clean, organized and modern Henna pre-school was.
My daughters thought it was better than their former pre-school back in L.A.
The only big difference, I found, between these children and my own, were their names shown in the photo below.
You will notice there is a Relate, a Unaty (Unity?) and an Urgent.
Other names we saw on the wall were, Bliss, Polite and Avoid. I’m not sure how Avoid will allow his name to influence his life. Perhaps he will simply avoid lions and not his girlfriend who wants to get married.
I think one of the most difficult things about poverty, is that most of us want to look away from it.
I speak for myself when I say, sometimes I feel like the problem is so big that I have no idea where to begin to help.
Visiting Henna showed me that the only place I can start is one child at a time. One community at a time. One charity at a time.
Visiting Henna and shaking hands with each one of these fierce, proud, joyous individuals reminded me that these aren’t the faces of poverty.
They are the faces of Urgent, Polite and Bliss. Each child will have experiences and live a life just like my children will.
So, I’m starting with Henna pre-school today and if you are searching for a good place to start, I hope you’ll consider doing the same.
ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO HELP:
The Bhubezi Community Projects is a registered independent trust and is sanctioned by the South African Revenue Service as a Public Benefit Organization in terms of section 30 of the Income Tax Act, P.B.O. Ref. No. 18/11/13/765. The registration number is 2001/008367/08
The Trust continues to undertake and become involved in exciting projects focusing on education in a holistic sense; and working in conjunction with the community is both rewarding and worthwhile.
We believe that the Bhubezi Trust, by working with the community and establishing relationships with government and donors, facilitates the community’s plans for a better future by helping to turn dreams into realities.
Get involved (any amount contributed to a specific need will help)
Sponsor a child for a year’s tuition.
Sponsor a teacher for further tuition
Monthly food aid
Lamination of Floor at New Beginnings day care, feeding chairs and cot beds
Building of toilets at New Beginnings
Landscaping and tree planting
Huntington Home Based Care vehicle
Building of a kitchen at New Beginnings
General donations include stationery, used or new clothes, cutlery or crockery, office stationery and equipments, used soccer kit including soccer balls, toys, e.t.c these are always welcome
For further information please contact:
Thembi Mdluli (Community Development Manager for both Lion Sands and Tinga)
Tel: +27 13 735 5000
Fax: +27 13 735 5330
Postal Address: FEDEX Shipping address:
Bhubezi Community Projects Bhubezi Community Projects
Thembi Mdluli Thembi Mdluli
PO BOX 8090 Nr. 15, 3rd Avenue
Whiteriver Parktown North, Johannesburg
The banking details are as follows:
Name of bank: First National Bank of South Africa
Address: 37 Chief Mgiyeni Drive, Whiteriver, 1240
Type of account: Current account
Account number: 62049047956