Day Three

Prayer for the Common Good Photo Feb 22, 6 47 21 AMGod of compassion and love, show us how to care for each other and live in the world. Beyond all limits, difficulties or failings give us a passion to hold all people in respect and dignity. Together, O God, may we create a world of freedom, justice and peace. AMEN       One of the most commonly asked questions of many of us who have been to South Africa has to do with progress and what we hope to achieve.  It is not a secret to the world community that the continent of Africa can be one of the most easily forgotten people.  As a result of the immense issues facing such a large population, it becomes important to understand what it means to have hope. Today we were gifted with many examples of what it means to be a people of hope.   Photo Feb 22, 2 12 38 AMIt is not uncommon to experience women as being in the forefront of responding to the many challenges of poverty.  Today we supported the women affiliated with Monkey Biz, an economic empowerment program where beaded artwork is created and sold by HIV positive women. A women's owned cooperative, Philani, was our next stop. We had the opportunity to meet a number of the women who continue to create artistic gift items.  With a daycare for their children on site the women have a consistent way to support their family and receive the support of like minded and passionate coworkers. The Missionaries of Charity was our next destination.  Five Catholic Sisters provide loving care for a small orphanage/hospice in one of Cape Town's largest townships. Members of our delegation were able to go to each resident and give a handshake,  a hug and a friendship bracelet. Arm In Arm In Africa has continued to support the ministry of these most compassionate women. As we closed our visit in the chapel with one of the sisters, we were touched by their commitment to being family to those are so easily seen as "throw always" in our world community. Our delegation spent the afternoon going two by two into the homes of families living in Guguletu.  The home visits provided a more intimate experience and clearer understanding of what it was like to live through apartheid. This was truly a profound experience to hear the memories of being relocated to the townships and living the life of being political prisoners in their own nation.  It was equally profound  to hear the struggles of what it is to live in a post apartheid world and how to define hope when financial inequality continues to keep many imprisoned and without the basic necessities of life. Our day ended by spending time with young adults who comprise the leadership group at the JL Zwane Centre.   They are a sign of hope as they commit to staying the course and doing all in their power to improve conditions for the next generation. -quote by Henri Nouwen When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us we often find that it is those who instead of giving much advise, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion , who can stay with us in a hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not-knowing, not-curing, not-healing, and face us with the reality of our powerlessness, that is the friend who cares. Peace to you all, The 2013 AIAIA delegation