Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Madiba!

Did you know that Kim shares a birthday with Nelson Mandela? There is a documentary on TV tonight about his life. They’ve been describing his time on Robben Island, which is giving life to our tour there. He continues to be revered here and there are celebrations throughout the country for his 90th birthday. Whites and blacks describe him as a national hero and at least in my experience, the whites haven’t had much good to say about blacks here so that such glowing descriptions from whites have been notable.

We’ve finished a week of site visits to a variety of agencies. We’ve been to a couple of child welfare agencies the past two days and they provide a much broader range of services than child welfare. In addition to protective investigations, foster care, and adoptions, they also do general family counseling, youth empowerment, domestic violence, and of course, everyone is drawn into the HIV/AIDS crisis in SA. The second agency also did community development (e.g., micro enterprise), and adult literacy. Everyone we spoke with had such a capacity to celebrate success rather than dwell on the enormous challenges. And believe me – the challenges are enormous, and the social workers we met just roll up their sleeves and say, “let’s get to work.” It was mentally exhausting and inspiring at the same time.

We’re off this weekend before the conference starts on Sunday evening. We’re in search of biltong today, Shari – will let you know. The conference opens with a 10-year old keynote speaker – his is an engineering student at Purdue (along with his 12-year old brother). I’m sure I’ll have something interesting to say about that! And by the way, it’s now been 3 days without incident at the hotel so I think that crisis has passed – phew!

Hope all is well!

1 comment:

Elvie said...

I'm wondering who the social workers are -- training? all races? certain classes? male/female? How are social work agencies supported -- are they mainly NGOs?