Unauthorized Settlements

Greetings from the AIAIA delegation on our third day of our South African journey. This was without a doubt our busiest day. The gift of this journey is most vividly seen in the men, women and children that we encounter. In a physical environment that carries so many needs, we continue to be gifted by the strength and determination of our sisters and brothers. We share this quote simply entitled "Forever," The ancient symbol for forever represents the way water flows. Water flows on and on, and nearly fills up all the places for which it flows; it does not shrink from any dangerous spot nor from any plunge, and nothing can make it lose it's essential nature. It remains true to itself under all conditions. We experienced the true nature of our family early this morning by our first visit to the Sisters of Charity. The women of faith continue to provide gentle and loving care to those children and adults that would have had no place to live. The women who continue to choose the way of life as seen in the person of Mother Theresa provide hospice care for 75 people. In the township of Gutuletu there is a senior center that provides food and community for men and women who have lived and raised families in the worst years of apartheid. We had the joy of spending time with them and providing the gift of hand massages. One of the women, Betty, was quoted to say as she was getting a hand massage say, "I can feel it all the way to my heart." The feeling was mutual. Another vivid example of women staying strong and true to themselves under all conditions was our experience at Philani. Women come together and create their own business opportunities, creating a variety of hand woven and painted products depicting the culture of South Africa. A busy day began to conclude with a walk about in unauthorized settlements. Children and adults alike welcomed us as we walked through their neighborhoods. The unauthorized settlements consist of completely substandard housing and limited to no utility services. The settlements are situated over what was formally a city dump, making it impossible for any infrastructure other than shacks. We closed out our day at the top of Table Mountain, grateful for your continued prayers and support.