Ash Wednesday

Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return. These are familiar words to all of us as we celebrate Ash Wednesday, our first day in Cape Town. We gathered at a most beautiful botanical garden to for Ash Wednesday Eucharist and to count our blessings as we are back with our friends and family in South Africa. Late morning we met with Jan Hofmayer of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation. Jan described the the post apartheid South Africa and the issues of inequality and marginalization. Much work continues to be needed as the nation continues to wrestle with segregation and subsequent poverty. In the afternoon we toured Mitchell's Plains Clinic, a "colored" health care facility blessed with the leadership skills of Zetu Xapile. AIAIA has supported this clinic for several years with much needed supplies and medical equipment.. This facility provides HIV/AIDS support, education and medical assistance to a very large population in the Cape Town area. We had the opportunity to spend time in the OB/GYN unit and celebrate with the families of newborns born today.The staff of this particular unit are a critical part of the birth and health care of the surrounding area with the delivery of over 300 babies per month. A walk through tour of the hostels in the townships wrapped up our afternoon. This is always an eye opener to the living conditions of many in the townships with some dwellings housing up to 18 people with limited facilities. This was a busy first day, as we adjust to the 8 hour time difference. After a quick dinner, we will sort our 600 pounds of medical supplies and bears for delivery to hospitals, clinics and daycare facilities.