Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's best to give...

I left for South Africa with two huge duffels of donated socks and underwear as well as a sizable sum of money in the bank to spend on the children once I got there. We chose 31 needy children and purchased for them new school shoes and matching uniform socks. We chose a day to call in the guardians to collect the shoes and later distributed the socks and underwear to the volunteers who work at Aletuke and the children who attend.

We labeled all the shoe boxes with the child's name and inserted their matching uniform socks.

They marked their list and checked it twice.

All the socks and underwear were laid out on a table by size and gender.

The guardians arrived to collect the shoes and we sent them home with socks and underwear for themselves too.

The volunteers who work at the center also got sent home with socks, underwear and a washing cloth for themselves and their own children.

These are the faces of the beautiful children who each received a pair of socks, underwear, washcloth and two pens or pencils for school. Their names were written down to make sure that every child gets what they need. Once all the Aletuke children were provided for house visits were made to other vulnerable families until the supplies were gone. Over 300 children and about 150 adults received donated items.

Thanks to all of you who donated to my project. You made a lot of kids smile.

These are some of my older kids. They were just practicing a drama they created on alcohol and abuse. They will be performing it later at a competition. I'm so proud of them.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Return to South Africa

After 5 months of being back in the United States I'm returning to South Africa to visit for a while. I'm looking forward to seeing Mama, my friends, my organization and the wonderful people in my village. I've been blessed with the opportunity to speak publicly about my Peace Corps adventures and raised over $1000 to provide for the children that are served at Aletuke, the drop-in center I worked with. I'm returning with 99 lbs of donated items which includes 451 pairs of socks, 387 pairs of underwear, 237 washcloths, 10 packs of Crayola markers, 10 packs of Crayola pencils, 15 glue sticks, 200 pencils, 150 pens and a pack of dry-erase markers. My carry-on is stuffed full too leaving me with only a few shirts and a pair of shorts for myself. South Africa here I come.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Kristen and I spent 4 days touring (with a group tour) the sand dunes of Namibia as well as a few other sights.  It was a lot of bumpy riding but well worth it.  Our first morning out we got up to see the sun rise over the red sand dunes of the desert.   So beautiful.

We hiked up "dune 45" to start the day.  It was really difficult compounded with how out of shape I am.

After enjoying the view from the top we headed down for breakfast.  The down part was the most fun.

We spent 2 nights at this beautiful campsite way out in the middle of the desert.  We ate very well and slept comfortably in big tents and on thick foam mats.  Our guides were awesome and we even had our own private chef.

One of my favorite shots on the trip.  These ladies were just hanging out on the side of the road.  I took this from the truck.

I took advantage of the opportunity to go quad biking through the dunes.  It was so much fun.  I would love to go out there again but with no rules attached.  

We made out way out to a huge dune they keep track-free just for sand boarding.  Just a piece of tag board and a little turtle wax and off you go.  It was walking back up that was the pain in the ass.

This is a dried up river bed we walked along.  Super cool.  You could see all kinds of fossils of fish, shells and other wildlife from when the water once flowed.

Rock stacking is not just for Wonderland anymore.  I left my mark in Namibia.

This is our tour group.  We were with a couple from Italy, a couple from Canada and a woman from Australia.  They were a great bunch to travel with.  Lots of laughs and good conversation.

Yup... I was there!

Nothing like a perfect Namibian desert sunset to end out last night there.