On my husband, Gary’s birthday, we went with friends from Books For Africa to the clinic of Project Hope, a charity he supportedin Africa for 4 months last year. He made many friends there, particularly the director of this site, Ntombe.
Ntombe was kind enough to give us a tour of the slum that her clinic serves. We entered the community of lean-to houses set on dirt roads, dusty with the heat. They were built of castoff materials, often topped with a roof of corrugated aluminum. Frequently the slums are home to more than 1 million people
In this case, there was only one school in the whole community, looking just as ramshackle as the worst of them houses there. Ntombe explained that most of the children went to town for private school. I was amazed when she explained that if someone had a job as a cleaner, they would take the children to work and have them go to school there. Sometimes employers would send the children with their own. It is hard to imagine that even the poorest of the poor will not send their children to public school. Like parents everywhere,these people want their children to have better lives than they. All over Africa it is understood that education is the ticket.
We stopped in Soweto to visit the Mandela House but it was closed. While Soweto was famous as Mandela’s house and as a Black township during apartheid, it now seems a thriving suburbia with lots of commercial activity and nightspots. We relaxed for a celebratory drink and, while we were there, I snapped this woman looking oh so dramatic. />