On our latest excursion I took more than a couple hundred pictures to try to convey the magnitude of what we were experiencing first hand. Poverty on this scale is like an ocean- it's vast, it's wide, it's deep. It isn't, however, hopeless. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me explain.
Hubby and I have this tradition where we select our next international destination prior to leaving the current one so that our departure back home is a little less bitter-sweet. So back in Spain, probably over cocktails with Captain Alvaro, we decided South Africa was next.
Since we touched down last week, we've been anticipating the arrival of our friends, celebrity stylist and Artistic Style Director for L'Oreal, Johnny Wright and correspondent for NBC News and NBC's Today Show, Tamron Hall #Flawless. Also, so Tamron is officially the first African American woman to co-anchor the NBC Nightly News! #ThatHappened #SoCrown #BowDown
But I digress.
You may recall the fabulousness that is Johnny Wright from the EPIC NYC Turn-Up session with Tracee Ellis Ross. Johnny has been to South Africa 4 times this year alone so of course I texted him to find out (1) who we know locally for the TurnUp and (2) what to eat/see/do/don't. He inquired about the dates and the next thing I know, it's a party. #VacationWithFriends
It's also become something of a tradition to try to raise awareness for local community based initiatives in our destination country. After reaching out to multiple charitable organizations, I spoke with Janet Senior about her NPO, Metro Kids. It's an organization that seeks to serve children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, “helping them create a better future." Metro Kids is based in Cape Town, South Africa where six thousand children are served weekly in 15 different townships through after-school programs, school assemblies, home visits, child pen-pals, camps, and teenage mentorship programs.
Founded in 2005 by James and Janet Senior, Metro Kids has diligently worked with children and young people whose lives have been affected by HIV and AIDS, poverty, crime, gangs, poor education, child-headed homes, alcohol, drug and child abuse. While help from Western countries is always appreciated, South Africans are beginning to realize that change starts at the community level. Recognizing this, James and Janet quit their jobs in the United Kingdom and moved with their four kids to Cape Town. They began working alongside local people, initiating programs and training them to reach their own communities.