I have heard about the humble spirits, beautiful voices and smiles, and the tireless work ethic of the people in South Africa. It is now time for me to experience it all for myself.
Because I believe children around the globe are our hope and future, I accepted a personal invitation to be a part of this year’s African Christian Ministry team headed back this month for the 9th time to eSikhawini, South Africa. I felt a personal nudge to temporarily leave my Pre-K Success business, Lakes Area Optimist Club community work, my family, and ALL technology—to go out into the bigger world to serve more of God’s children (people).
I leave for this 16-day journey with no set expectations. My desire is to be open to every experience and opportunity to love, serve and play with the children and people of eSikhawini, South Africa.
It is estimated that more than 60% of the people living in and around eSikhawini are infected with HIV/AIDS, are desperately poor and endure a high infant mortality rate.
With that said, this is the 2012 ACM team’s plan:
To serve approximately 1,000 people of eSikhawini with basic medical care as they each come through one of the five clinics (and pharmacies) we will set up and run during our weeks there. For most of these people it will be their only opportunity to receive medical care this year.
Our focus is to treat typical medical conditions that we so easily treat in the United States by simply driving to our local pharmacy, such as: colds, allergies, fevers, pain, minor infections, UTIs, STDs, worms, fungus, ringworm, tinea. Just as important, in addition to helping address these medical conditions, we aim to be intentional in making sure each person is given the time to be respectfully seen and heard.
People will travel miles and wait up to 10 hours to be seen by a doctor at one of our clinics.
I have personally been put in charge of coordinating recreational activities for the children during these long waiting times. Some of the planned field activities are obstacle courses, dodge ball, and of course—soccer! We are also bringing motor skill equipment like jump ropes, swing n’ hops, beach balls and bubbles.
I have already packed my son’s soccer jerseys and cannot wait to play soccer with the kids!
I am also very excited about the two battery operated photo printers I am taking on this trip to use in order to print pictures taken of each child during both Sunday School classes. The children will be creating simple frames and going home with what may be their first photo of themselves. For most parents, this will be the only picture they will have of their child. Very cool! The Sunday school lesson: Every child is uniquely created. And every child matters!
Beyond the provisions of direct care, the purpose of this trip is to continue to develop a foundation for future medical outreach and be a small part of the wonderful things being accomplished by ACM. Relationships will be formed, hope will be restored, and fun will be had.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” Ecclesiastes 3
For more information about Africa Christian Ministries please visit: http://www.africachristian.org/
*Special thanks to Prem Mukherjee of Arising Images for sharing his photos from his personal 2006 ACM trip to South Africa.