Thursday, May 28, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Today was one of those days that had its ins and outs.

First thing, I went to Beautiful Gate. Beautiful Gate is an orphan care center (which is now what used to be called an orphanage). Half of the group went to the orphan care center while the other half went to the Cross Roads Clinic. There, Monday is HIV/AIDS day so they got to learn a lot about the virus and see how the doctors in cape town handle it.
Meanwhile, four others and I were playing with 3-5 year olds. And when I say play, I really mean that we taught them how to brush their teeth. These kids were some of the most affectionate kids I have met. They gave so many hugs. When we first walked in through the doors, they immediately all ran towards us and hugged our legs.

After this, we got a tour. For an orphan care center right outside of a township (Phillipe) it is an extremely nice building. It is so great for an orphan care center. Their new goal is to work on moving from a relief/support program to more of a development program. Paired with this is the idea that they also want to work on reunification rather than institutionalization. This helps the kids to adapt when returning into a family situation.

For lunch, some went to McDonalds (yes, we’re in South Africa and some people wanted to eat at McDonalds…) and some went to a super market. Everything there was so fresh and got this roll from the bakery that was great! I also looked at all the cool candy and crazy chip flavors they have. They have very difernt things here. Its so interesting to look at it all!

After lunch we went back to beautiful gate to hear a talk from Dr. Vaughn Stannard. He is the director at Beautiful Gate and the doctor at both Beautiful Gate and the Crossroads clinic. We had a wonderful talk that I was able to learn so much from. He talked to us about the drug abuse and physical abuse in the townships. He explained to us what it is like being an outsider and how people from the outside can help. He told us about how Beautiful Gate doesn’t do adoptions because people aren’t as willing as they are to foster due to cost. And he lastly explained what he thinks needs to be done in order for the HIV rate to decrease. In Dr. Vaughn’s opinion, prevention is going to happen through men on the inside realizing that their actions are killing themselves, not through women or children. Women and children are the victims. It was a great talk and I learned so much from him. It put a lot of things into perspective.

When we got home, all ten of us walked down to the waterfront just to see what it was like. It was very pretty but there were these really strange things all along the shore- they were huge concrete pieces shaped like jacks. We couldn’t figure out what they were and we couldnt think of any kind of explanation for them! Don’t worry, Ill figure it out before I leave!

I feel like today was very beneficial and this whole trip has been put into perspective for me. It was pretty great. I can’t wait to go back to the grocery store… yes, haha, im looking forward to going to the grocery store again.

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