January 24, 2008

MAZON Mission to South Africa, Day 3

By Sarah Steinberg

The MAZON mission started our day visiting one of our newer grantees: African Solutions for African Problems (ASAP). ASAP works at training women in the townships to care and feed for HIV AIDS children. We were all impressed with the level of commitment that the leadership that one individual can make. ASAP has been working closely in the communities to uplift individuals from the ground up. We visited one project that had a nursery with about 40-50% of the children abandoned because of their HIV AIDS condition. We saw that normal children wanted affection and hugs and were being playful while being well taken care of. The older children, lived in family-type arrangements with clean rooms and a dedicated staff member and women from the community caring for them. As well, the older children were able to participate in the cottage industry on site: a wood-shop with all the latest equipment to make exportable products to gain revenue for the center. There was a hospice for more advanced individuals: a place with dignity and full of hope.

We ate lunch amongst the flies, yet across the room from us was a medical staff of volunteer nurses, a doctor and even German interns sent by their government to be of service rather than be in the German military. No one looked down, we met everyone eye to eye… a proud dignity and a sense of worth permeates the compound. We witnessed what a small amount of MAZON dollars can do in a country surrounded by poverty and acute food insecurity. Each of us had our own “moment” in taking in the realities of our righteous work.