Day camp in Kagiso — a township surrounded by factories and mine dumps on Johannesburg’s far western edge — is much like day camp at the average American YMCA. But with a lot more singing and dancing.
Dance class at camp in Kagiso. (To learn more about Kagiso Township, read this article from the Mail & Guardian.)
Most American kids go to summer camp, whether it’s local day camp or sleep-away camp, at least once in their lives. I attended countless sports camps, drama camps, and everyday camps as a child, and my first summer job was as a camp counselor.
In South Africa, camp is a novel concept. Middle and upper class kids might go on camping ‘holidays’ with their families or with school groups. But organized camp programs, especially for underprivileged kids, didn’t really exist here until several years ago, when an American NGO called Global Camps Africa (GCA) and a South African NGO called HIVSA got together and started Camp Sizanani. Continue Reading
I first visited Africa four years ago, through my work as a writer for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF for short). Many of my assignments involved visiting health clinics and schools in various African countries, meeting beneficiaries of EGPAF’s programs and writing stories about the people and places I visited. These assignments changed my life.
Joe took this photo of me at a rural primary school in northern Tanzania, on my first trip to Africa in March 2007. I had just discovered the joy of the photo-share.
My fascination with Hillbrow — a former middle-class inner suburb that is now the toughest neighborhood in Joburg — began in February when I explored Hillbrow on a Joburg Photowalk. When I heard there would be another Hillbrow Photowalk this past weekend, exploring the grounds of the old Johannesburg General Hospital, I signed up, stat.
Saturday afternoon in Hillbrow.
We awoke, soggy and groggy, on the morning after the flood (see Part 2). It was still raining.
We picked up Zandi, our Swazi colleague from the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and headed out of town.
We were going to see Zanele and her two-year-old daughter, Phiwa. Zanele has HIV, but Phiwa is HIV-negative because Zanele received medicines that prevented her from transmitting HIV to her daughter. Continue Reading
This trip ended more than a week ago but I still have a few more things to say about it.
Driving to Mokhotlong
The drive from Maseru to Mokhotlong was about 300 kilometers (168 miles). It took six hours.
An hour after leaving Maseru, we reached a police checkpoint. Such checkpoints are common in Africa. Often they serve no apparent purpose – they’re just there. This was one such checkpoint. Continue Reading
Let me back-track and explain the purpose of our trip to Lesotho. Bear with me because this will take time.
On a map, Lesotho looks like a small dot in the middle of South Africa. It’s nick-named “the Kingdom in the Sky” and is one of the few places in Africa where it snows. Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains are among the highest in Southern Africa – many peaks are over 10,000 feet.
Typical mountain scene in Lesotho. Continue Reading