Okay - so time really did get away from me! Holy Cow! It's September! My girls are settled back into school - a junior and a freshman in High School - wow! Where did the time go? Fall is here and summer is gone (well, the summer heat is still here in Southern Cal!) With the house quiet, I've had time to reflect on the past few months and I want to share some highlights!
The biggest event was that our family went back to South Africa in June to celebrate the opening of the Hambanathi Orphans and Vulnerable Children's Center in the Mduku community near the AndBeyond Phinda Game Reserve. This was an amazing experience to say the least - a 5 hour celebration in a red & blue circus tent! The community leaders were all there - the tribal chief, some elders, and many of the volunteeers. A group of Pre-schoolers from the nearby school came and sang to us.
A local artist shared a meaningful painting he had made for us. The community prayed and sang joyful songs for us. It was humbling. The celebration was followed by a meal shared in the church. The OVC is beautiful! There were still a few finishing touches to be made but the volunteers and children would be utilizing the building soon.
While there I gave each child and every volunteer their very own Près Creative piece - a sterling silver charm with the Africa Foundation logo on a leather cord - great for everyone - can be worn as a wrap bracelet or a necklace!
The ribbon cutting was held on June 25th - our 20th Marriage Anniversary - what an amazing way to celebrate!
South Africa calls to my heart. The beauty of the landscape, its people, its wildlife.
The AndBeyond Safari Compnay hosted our famiy at two different lodges in South Africa - Phinda Mountain Lodge and Ngala Tented Camp. We were treated to some amazing encounters with the wildlife!
The folks at Andbeyond are extraordinary people - they have embraced the mission of Africa Foundation and have contributed to it's cause by sharing with guests the work that the foundation does in the communitites surrounding their camps. Several other guests at the camp heard from their guides about the work our family had done with Africa Foundation in the communities, and requested to visit the projects themselves!
We also had the opportunity to drop in on a project that we completed 5 years ago in the Welvierdiend community near Ngala. We had the priviledge of helping to raise funds for the Nhalala Crèche (preschool) - a school that provides early childhood care and learning to 72 children ages 6 months to 5 years.
We arrived to a warm welcome from all the children and teachers. And after a brief time with the children in the classroom, it was time for outside play! My daughters enjoyed playing games and kicking the soccer ball around in the yard.
It was truly magical!
It was hard to say good bye...but I know that we will return! It's for these experiences that I do what I do - and I thank all of you for supporting the Africa Foundation through purchases you make here at Près Creative!