Day One

We are pleased to tell you of our safe arrival after a 24 hour journey to Cape Town, South Africa.Photo Feb 19, 12 50 51 AMWith warm weather and a beautiful blue sky as a backdrop, our group began the day at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens to view the splendid gardens and to celebrate Eucharist. This is a joyous way to begin our trip, to center ourselves and embrace God's handiwork in this breathtaking setting. In keeping with our commitment to education we were able to visit Nompumelelo, a school for Learners with Special Needs. In talking with the staff we learned they reach out to over 300 students with disabilities living in the townships. The students, ranking in age from 6-18 years old, are bused to the government subsidized school with a special emphasis on life skills. In speaking to the administrator, the school looks to the families to pay only $20.00 per year per student for tuition, an amount many of the families are not able to afford. Photo Feb 18, 7 35 13 PMThe administrator went on to say that the school would absorb the cost rather than the families not have food on their tables. In a world that often labels special needs children, as at best negotiable and more often expendable, it was heartwarming to see the respect and warmth from a community that has so little resources available. Our day ended with a return visit to a small orphanage of 22 children located in Gugulethu, a Township of Cape Town. This orphanage is run by a Baptist Minister, his wife and a small staff. They have committed is to providing a safe and a loving environment to children ranging in age from 1 to 17. It was noted that 8 of the children are HIV positive. South Africa continues to be the highest rate of HIV transmission in the world. Being an orphan and HIV positive is sadly an all too familiar occurrence. Photo Feb 18, 9 55 53 PMOf their many struggles to provide care, one of their basic challenges is to provide adequate food. Our AIAIA delegation delivered food parcels today during our visit to the orphanage and has now made a commitment of food delivery to this group four times per year. At a cost of $1,600 per year, this much needed distribution provides food for hungry children and relief and support for the staff. Thank you for your continued support and prayers. The 2014 AIAIA delegation