Day Nine

Prayer for the Decade of Non-Violence

I bow to the sacred in all creation
May my needs be few and my living simple
May my action bear witness to the suffering of others
May my hands never harm a living being
May my steps stay on the journey  of justice
May my tongue speak for those who are poor
May prayers rise with patient discontent
May my life's work be a passion for peace and nonviolence.
We are happy to say we arrived last fight in a torrential downpour which made for an interesting experience offloading precious cargo, both people and supplies.  We are safe, sound and grateful to be  home with our Maliungeni family.

Photo Mar 02, 7 40 41 AM Today we had the privilege of visiting and learning about a local nursing college in Umtata.  The students, often from a rural area, must complete grade 12 and complete an entrance exam.  This four years program to become a registered nurse has a student ratio of 60/40% Women to men.  The total student population is 500 with only 22 teachers.  We learned of their many challenges including student housing.

Our next stop was a new clinic, Ngangalizwe Medical Centre also in Umtata, where we delivered 4 large suitcases full of medical supplies.
This clinic is where the medical records from the village of Itipini are now located.  The manager, Mrs. Soga said of our visit , "You have made our day!"
As the brown river flowed beside us, we walked the muddy road toward the site of the former village of Itipini.  This settlement of 3,000, developed on top of a garbage dump, had one water spigot and no public sanitation or utilities. AIAIA supported a pre school in the village.
In the spring of 2012, as a result of violence between villages, the townspeople of Itipini were given several days notice, then the municipality bulldozed the entire settlement, scattering its residents.
Our purpose  in returning to this site was to honor the men, women and children that had claimed this sacred space as their home only to be illegally removed without a proper alternative.  We gathered hands and said a prayer for their well being and safety.
Photo Mar 01, 6 09 22 AM
Our friend from Malungemi, Olga, accompanied us to a place where some of the members of the Itipini community have been relocated. It was very obvious that life remains very difficult for these families. There is a daily challenge of enough food, clothing and proper housing.  Once the elders approved of us being there, the delegation connected with the children with friendship bracelets, Mother Bears, marshmallows and stickers.
Tomorrow we will attend the funeral of Spiwo and Zethu Xapile's 26 year old nephew who died while working in Johannesburg.  His funeral and burial will be here in Malungeni.  We are grateful to be here as family in this time of loss.
We close with a reading from the Speech of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the "Forum 2000 Conference, Prague Czech Republic, September 4,1997.
We need to embark on the difficult task of developing love and compassion within ourselves.  Compassion is, by nature, peaceful and gentle, but it is also very powerful.  Some may dismiss it as impractical and unrealistic, but I believe it's practice is the true source success.  It is a sign of true inner strength.  To achieve it we do not need to become religious , nor do we need any ideology.  All that is necessary is for us to develop our basic human qualities.
Ultimately, humanity is one and this small planet is only our home.  If we are truly to help one another and protect this home of ours, each of us needs to experience a vivid sense of compassion and responsibility.

Once again we appreciate your continued prayers and support from home.  Your presence means a lot to us.
Peace and blessings,
 The 2013 delegation