Day Seven

DSC_0272As we travel on the bus 1,000 miles to Malungeni, we reflect on our time in Cape Town and the Townships.  Here are stories shared by the delegates. Table Mountain Table Mountain is a glorious place in Cape Town, but to me it is so much more. Three years ago we scattered some of my husband Earnie's ashes up there. It was a rugged hike to the place we chose but I felt it was a  special resting place. Earnie so believed in the importance of showing up for another fellow traveler. The people in the Townships are those people. They  are the giants of our world. They show us what real courage is and so have the gift of joy. This year we returned to the same area. The hike was hard but oh so worth it. I gave thanks for all the therapists and support and prayers of family and friends who helped me go from the wheel chair to being able to walk around up there. God is good! Much Love, Paula Larsen Cockroaches The other morning I discovered a cockroach in my bedding as I made my bed.  Then I saw several cockroaches scurrying across the kitchenette countertop next to my coffee cup.  I thought they have roaches in the 2 star apartment, I need some Raid. I reflected on my recent visit to the Black Townships - families living in rickety shacks with dirt floors, piled next to each other. I  wonder how many cans of Raid they need. - Chris Downey Senior CentreDSC00042a_2Returning for a second time to South Africa felt like visiting old friends at the Senior Centre. I was especially thrilled to have several women remember me. One was excitedly telling me about their upcoming camping trip for the weekend. I questioned if they sleep in tents.  With a hearty laugh she said, "No, in a chalet."  She then told me the entire schedule for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday: You get up, get dressed and then someone rings a bell, which means it is time to eat.  Next off for a nature walk and then a bell is rung again.  She wildly demonstrated as she tells me about the bell. Now off to a movie, then someone rings the bell.  She continued telling about each day with with her bell ringing stories, as I laugh. "What part do you like best?" I ask.  She gives me a questionable double take and firmly says, "THE BELL!" What a privilege to see my extended family with all their joy. - Nancy Lynch imageOrphanage I loved visiting the orphanage with 24 children in a black Township, Barcelona, run by a Baptist minister and his wife. Half of these adopted children are HIV positive. This year all of the children were home from school by the time we arrived. We went into the church (pole building) where all of them were playing different games and activities and having such a good time.  It was a room filled with joy, not squabbling and whining... you can't believe how uplifting this is to my soul.  Since this home parallels my life (my husband and I have 14 adopted children), I hope that someone dropping into our home would see joy with all that we have, when this family has so little but are oblivious  to their poverty.  Joy is everywhere in the townships and this is what makes South Africa so beautiful. - Nancy Lynch "The journey is never long when freedom is the destination."image On Sunday, the newest members of the 2015 delegation embarked on a boat trip to Robben Island. Our mission was to experience Nelson Mandela's home where he spent most of his 27 years of imprisonment before being released in the early 1990's. If you have ever been through  the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. you would have felt what it was like to walk  the grounds  of this prison that was home to many who protested the injustices of apartheid. It was a beautiful sunny day, miles and miles from the mainland but there was a sadness that was palpable.  As we walked the grounds with a former inmate as our guide and passed by his tiny prison cell, it was like being in the space of a holy man, a person who made a major difference in our world through his courageous walk to freedom. - Nancy Scott