Friday, June 5, 2009

Life in SA

I was able to spend a week in Setlagole. A large village (12,000 +, 90% unemployment) not far from the Botswana border where Childline put on a training to train lay counselors to assist with social work related activities in the community. The presenter and I were able to stay at a Game Lodge about 40 minutes away. The best part being that there were baby lions there and yes! I got to play with them. This particular game lodge allows mostly foreigners to come in and hunt the lions. According to those running the show, most of these people come from Dallas, Texas or Spain or Germany. They get to decide which of the lions they want to hunt ahead of time; then 90-some hours before the hunt, the lion is ‘darted’ and taken to the hunting area where it can roam around until the hunters find it and shoot it—but the guy only gets one shot, when he misses the professional hunter steps in and does the job before the lion gets them. Then the lion gets taxidermied and sent to Dallas, Texas. It costs a lot of money to do this, more than $30,000 to hunt a good sized male—this is more than I made in a year in the states, all for one shot at a lion. People are really weird. (Amy)

Life in relationship to volunteering has been slow lately. The organization I volunteer with is having some quirks they are working out in regards to their financial status – this puts a damper on me traveling to the outlying areas where all the NGO’s are. I’d like to visit with more of them to gain a better perspective of their strengths and capabilities. Thus far, I have met all of them except two. To make up time I’ve been reading and thinking of ways I can assist the NGO’s under the care of the LAC. In the meantime I’ve also been attending some meetings that have put me in contact with community members that are dedicated to assisting the NGO’s in this area to become sustainable, governed well, and financially accountable. Sometimes, to pass time, I dream of where I want to travel to in SA. I’ve come up with one itinerary thus far. Here’s a common question people often ask here, “How do you find South Africa?” And then they usually wish us well for the remainder of our time here. After four months in SA, I suppose my internal answer to how I find SA is: there’s poverty, injustice, misconceptions of human kind based on the color of skin or ethnicity, and greed everywhere in the world. Then, there’s kindness of strangers that don’t presume you as a stranger, ubuntu, diversity of languages and cultures, and simply being able to say right now, “I’m in SA.” (Glenn)

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