Sunday, August 23, 2009

T.I.A. (This is Africa)

Hello again! Sorry about the delay, but here you go…a

About two weeks ago Briged and I (Briged is the other girl in my program who is working at Ubuntu with me) went to the office of Khayelitsha Cookies, an NGO that employs women from the townships. They were so kind and receptive to us and made us really believe that we could start our own food business for our 15-20 mothers making muffins or something.  After talking to Whitney and Angie, it seems that we really are going to start some type of business while we are here.  This is all very exciting and has a lot more detail but I will fill you in when we straighten it out for ourselves!  Then last week, I went with Whitney and Angie to a meeting with Nazareth House, a Catholic center run by nuns.  They take in abandoned and needy children, often orphans, and either try to find their extended family or just keep them at the center.  They really do amazing things and I recommend you look at their website.  The best part was their program for kids with disabilities.  In South Africa, people with disabilities are not accepted and are practically ostracized in society.  This is obviously a topic that is close to my heart because of Best Buddies, so I was very happy to see a place that where they were welcome and loved.  It made me want to come back here and start a home for kids with disabilities…but that’s thinking in the way future…

Other great things that happened since the last time I wrote:

  • Bo-Kaap, the Muslim neighborhood with all the multi-colored houses.  They have so much tradition and culture, and we got to eat a traditional meal that was wonderful.  It’s a must for any visitor!

  • The South African Museum: where we got to see a planetarium star show for about $1 and it was awesome! And then the man who worked in the star show gave us a private showing of the Cape Town night sky…highlight of the weekend!

  • This last Friday we had a tour of parliament and then a lecture by a man who was one of the head people of the TRC (truth and reconciliation commission).  For those who do not know what this is, you should look it up, but basically it was South Africa’s way of dealing with the conflicts of Apartheid and included conditional amnesty and documentation of the crimes committed, etc…  This man was amazing!!! He had done so much in his life and really made us think about conflict resolution.  I feel so lucky that each lecturer seems to be better than the last and I continue to be in awe of this country’s recent history.

  • Today we hiked Lion’s Head, a part of Table Mountain, and the views from the top were incredible! I don’t think I have ever seen the ocean from a nearly 200-degree view with the mountain right in the background.  Spectacular! (see my facebook for pics)

Basically, it is hard to recount what I have been doing because the emotions and the thoughts just overtake my mind.  I continue to see all of the inequality and then see great things people are doing.  I have been questioning my purpose and questioning why I am drawn to these people and this country.  And I can’t help but feel somewhat helpless at times.  But earlier this week at the Catholic center Nazareth House, I realized that these nuns were serving the people solely because it is God’s work.  I don’t mean to sound preachy or religious, but it was a great thing to see that there doesn’t have to be a reason or an explanation for everything, it just needs to be done through the heart.  I am still learning and taking it all in, and I am sorry I am not being more in-depth in my explanation now, but I really am thinking of you all the time.  I will try to write more often so it is not a novel every time!  much love


  1. So great to hear, Maddie! So much in life seems overwhelming, so just take it a day at a time. Do what you can with the resources you have, and that's the best you can do! Keep the updates coming. I'm goimg to check out your pics on FB now!

  2. That's amazing that they'll be able to start their own business!! Your experiences are just incredible... lucky girl!!

  3. I'm feeling pretty savvy -- posting the second blog response of my life. Your mother read your "service learning begins" blog as we sat on the deck overlooking Pelican Lake. I was particularly struck by your comments about coordinating efforts / learning more about efforts of the various service groups in the area -- I did a bit of consulting with a project called InRelief.og earlier this year. The project's goal was to coordinate via technology, the efforts of hundreds of relief organizations. The friend with whom I worked is in SLC this week. I want to tell her about your service project and to get her ideas about making connections with the work you are doing.

  4. Maddie, your courage and determination are to be admired! You are an amazing individual that will make a difference in this world. Keep it up, and you don't sound preachy... You sound like you know what keeps people going, love and faith. Again, I am so proud of you!

  5. Maddie - The world needs more people (both young & old)like you! Again, you amaze and inspire me. I will look up both the Nazareth House and the TRC to learn more about them. take care, be safe and have fun!