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Monday, August 25, 2008

The Children of Langa

Our first full day yesterday was nothing short of amazing. We visited the Langa Township for half of the day and it was time well, well spent. Langa is the oldest township in Cape Town and was designated for black Africans before the apartheid.

Having these visuals and experiences at the beginning of this trip was highly valuable… giving context for what we’re in store for. As Ann and Bryan have noted, the children of Langa were instantly attached to us… literally.

We welcomed them with open hands, open arms and open minds. Looking into the eyes of these little children I could only think of what lays ahead for their future. What will they become? Will they follow the paths of their mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers? Will they suffer? Will they succeed? Will they know the difference? The odds are against them. Over 50% of people in South Africa are unemployed. 20% are infected with HIV/AIDS and in townships it’s 1 in 2. Staggering.

At 10 am on a Sunday, the men were found sitting in groups on crates, drinking beer. The women were doing the wash in basins and hanging the clothes to dry.

The young children were playing… riding bikes, playing basketball, jumping rope, wrestling, and running around with marbles in their mouth.

Soon they started to play with us… our hair, our fingers, our faces, and our cameras. The picture of these two boys was taken by another boy.

They were fascinated and I was happy to share. The older boys were hanging out like their fathers and the older girls were watching their younger sisters and carrying their own babies. We also attended an informal church service in Langa. This was a very emotional experience. Seeing these people who have so little, worshipping so devoutly, praying so deeply, filled with such hope, yet such despair, was incredibly moving.

That’s all I have time for right now… lots more to come.

(P.S. – Hi Jay! Hi Mom! Hi Dad! Love and hugs from over 8,000 miles away!)


johncohn said...

I love seeing the pictures and stories... I was in S. Africa a few months ago and loved it. Enjoy your time there ... Sorry we didn't get you aany SamStones.. Maybe you can make your own.. just right 'Sam' on the front .. and '' on the back !
Have a great trip !

Joel Pelletier said...

Finally picture evidence of Wes stealing children.

Sharon said...

I really enjoy reading all your stories of the trip and your personal perspectives on what you are experiencing.

Please tell everyone we wish them the best and are anxious for them to enter into their blog pages.