G ' day All.
We now enter a new phase of the fund raising for HIV/AIDS in Africa and with the Rotary club of Coolamon have decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to summitt on the 28th August 2007 so we are calling the project 28/8 Kili Climb 2007. We are looking for climbers to raise funds for the Road MAPS to Africa projects. Details can be found here:
So far we have raised over $50,000 for our thre projects in Africa:
We will be visiting all three projects in August before and after we climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
ALSO A BIG THANK YOU TO BRYCE COURTENAY
The Rotary Club of Narrandera in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Coolamon's:
Rotary International Night Narrandera. Saturday 3rd. June 2006 raised over $8,000!
Thanks to all who worked hard for the success of this night. The funds raised for the Rotary year 2005/6 has reached $25,000 and they will go to:
OPERATION MEDICAL HOPE IN HOUT BAY, CAPE TOWN:
We Have a Job in Africa
An Account of John Glassford's "Holiday"
(Compiler's Note: I met Rotarian John Glassford, of Australia's Rotary Club of Coolamon, at the recent Rotary International Chicago Conference. He explained to me how important it is for Rotary to help in Africa, and what he personally was doing about it. John was so persuasive that he converted me to his cause. I suggested that I would help to explain why all Rotarians should get behind his project, and encourage them to become part of the action - both as individual members of our Fellowship and as members of our Rotary Clubs. Here are Johns notes from his post-Convention trip.)
I arrived in Johannesburg on the Saturday morning following Chicago. Susan, my wife, met me there and we hired a car and went north to the South African/Mozambique border at Komati River where we stayed for 5 days and visited Kruger Game Park at Crocodile River. We saw plenty - including the big five; Rhino, Lion, Elephant, Buffalo and one leopard. We also paid a one day visit to Maputo the capital of Mozambique. Its a crazy, dirty place deserted by the Portuguese some 30 years ago. Mozambique is now only just safe but there are still land mines around and plenty of guys with sub machine guns. We had a nice fish lunch on the beach there but that was enough for me.
It's an interesting country - still run by a King with several wives. They are 1 million strong but with a very uncertain future as their best able bodied people are the ones most affected by AIDS, as are their children.
On to Hilton/Howick in Kwa-Zulu Natal and three days and two nights with Rick Baratta and Elisabeth his wife. They have many dogs (7 Alsatians) and one bit Susan on the bum. Rick is an ex LA copper and knows guns well. Elisabeth gardens with a peppermint sprayer around her neck as she does not like to carry a gun. These two amazing people introduced us to some of the Rotarians from their club (Hilton/Howick.) They are doing great work, especially the quilts; we bought one and the proceeds go directly to the maker who has seven children and no husband - he died recently (probably of AIDS). Their club website (http://www.rotaryhiltonhowick.co.za) is excellent. It explains their projects very well.
They had a dinner for us and we got to meet the incoming President, as well as ROTIan Johann van Veenendaal. We had a great night and we felt at home amongst the Magnum pistols, peppermint spray and attack dogs. Whilst we were here we visited "Lean on Me" just around the corner. They are doing great work building a hospice for dying AIDS children.
During the time we were in Hilton three kids died a horrible
death alone in a hut from AIDS. The Lean on Me people want to provide
shelter for these kids in this area.
A high incidence of AIDS exists here but is not documented due to the stigma that goes with AIDS in their Zulu community. The extended family is breaking down and these kids are brought into these extended families with great reluctance and even if they do find shelter with distant relatives they are treated very badly indeed. For more details on their programs visit their web site:
What to do here? Beats me but maybe we can help Lean on Me. They are doing great work.
We went on to Cape Town and the main reason for our visit back to Hout Bay and Mama Amelia. (The June issue of The Breadbasket contained a report which introduced the topic of MAPS. To refresh your memory visit http://roti.org/news/ra06.htm )
We spent two weeks at Hout Bay and accomplished a lot during that time. We learnt so much about the housing problems - it is a huge problem with some 7.2 million people in South Africa living in shanty homes of cardboard, timber, tin and plastic. Since we were last in South Africa the official HIV+/AIDS numbers has increased from 5.3 million to 6.2 million ... some 900,000 new cases in 12 months. So the situation gets worse by the minute officially but unofficially who knows what the real numbers are?
We were well looked after by the members of our centennial twin club Hout Bay and made new friends and consolidated old ones.
The presentation of soccer uniforms to Mama Amelia's teenage orphans went very well and the Rotary badge looked great. The simple giving of the uniforms uplifted the whole orphanage and there was much singing, dancing and playing around with a soccer ball on the streets of Mfuleni, such skills these kids have.
Some of Amelia Poswa's teenage
orphans with the soccer kit RC Coolamon gave them.
We took Mama Amelia out to dinner at Spiers winery, the first time Amelia had left the kids since 1999. T' was a grand night and the journey through the township of Mfuleni at 11 pm was very interesting!!!
We are looking at ways of supporting Amelia by getting some of her brightest kids to tertiary education. The Rotary Club of Hout Bay is looking into it and we will know soon what we are up for. We will list the project on our web site as soon as I know. Maybe this way we can secure the future of the orphanage as all the 96 permanent children of Amelia are called Poswa and they will stay on to look after the little ones and provide for them once they can get a job.
We also visited the community of Imizamo Yethu and the Fishing Village project. Here there is a good chance of success in the project called Operation Medical Hope (OMH).
They are hoping to provide three more consulting rooms and a clinic in Imizamo Yethu, they need ongoing medicines and they desperately need nurses to come for a month or two at a time. At the moment they have one doctor and three nurses looking at 140 patients a day. I met with the head nurse, a Muslim Coloured lady, who was wonderful and could not thank me enough for being there and looking to help from Australia.
Rotary Hout Bay supplied them with an ambulance called the Spirit of Rotary so we all wore our Rotary dinner badges during the visit and the President had a very large Rotary sticker on the side of his Mercedes Benz!!!
There are two townships in Hout Bay and both cater to people with absolutely nothing, they have been forced to build these hovels in one of the most beautiful parts of Cape Town. They have been there for 10 years with no hope and no prospect of a decent life. Unemployment is over 70%. HIV+/AIDS is running at 40% in both communities, crime is rampant. However Rotary is there and so are a Muslim mosque and a Christian church in the two townships - interesting times but help is needed here badly.
We left Cape Town sadly; it is an amazing place with wonderful people of all races and creeds. It is the Hope for Africa and Rotary is there big time and I can guarantee that any funds that Road MAPS raises for the listed projects will get there all 100% of them.
So, my good friends, we all must help!!
How do we get the message across to the larger community? The pandemic of HIV/AIDS in combination with very poor housing is leading to a problem that we will all be touched with sooner or later.
On my part, I have joined the Rotary Action Group; Rotarians Fighting AIDS, lead by Marion Bunch, but I do not know how effective I can be there at the moment. I have to focus on one area and one to two projects and do these well.
Our new District Governor has asked me to be a key-note speaker at Rotary International District 9700's conference in April 2006. We hope to create a working model in Hout Bay with Operation Medical Hope. It is being run by two eminent medical people who live in Hout Bay and are both Rotarians. I will keep plugging away and we have set a target of Aussie $100,000 to raise before we go back next June/July.
I know that this project is far from you all but I know that you have big hearts and are as touched by the plight of these people as I am. If we can make it truly an international Rotary project via Road MAPS then we may have a chance of showing these people that we do care. By prolonging, and in some cases saving, their lives we can go a long way to creating a platform were we can look at peaceful ways of solving our differences. I do not know how to accomplish this, but I am going to have a go at it. All systems are now in place to raise the funds that are so desperately needed.
In summary the South African government is doing as much as they can and are now coming out of denial, they have a huge problem and Nelson Mandela is leading the way with his 46664 foundation to fight AIDS. So are the Rotarians Fighting AIDS, as can be seen from their web site:
It has been a life changing trip, but now my wife wants me to finish our home before we start the next job. That suits me fine as it means I will be home for the next 12 weeks so I can concentrate on getting this whole project together - from home at night of course!
Yours In Rotary
The Straw Wolf (aka as John Glassford)
61 2 6927 6027
We now have a new web site which is now on line, this web site will enable anyone to keep up to date with the Rotary Club of Coolamon's Road MAPS to Africa Project;
For more information contact John Glassford at Huff 'n' Puff (see the Home page for contact details).