Facing life in African slums

Lynn McMullen
Posted July 29, 2008 from United States

I just returned a few days ago from South Africa where I have been working on a project for the past four years. Each time I go, things are more difficult. More people are sick; more youth are getting infected; more discouragement; more youth leaving school from hopelessness about their futures. And women everywhere are organizing. They are organizing child breakfast programs so no child goes to school hungry. They are organizing volunary hospice care for the dying. They are organizing microfinance programs to build the capacity of their community to do for themselves. This is not often the story you hear... the heroism on the ground. In spite of very diffiult circumstances, people are rising up and organizing themselves. In spite of broken promises by the US government for funding prevention and treatment campaigns, money and services are far away and take a compass to mavigate. My friends in South Africa who completed a recent slum house by house survey and says that infection rates are well above 50% and at night over tea, looking at the winter stars, she suspects it may be as high as 80%. Can you even imagine what this really means. It is time for everyone to give attention to Africa.

Comments 3

  • Jensine Larsen
    Jul 30, 2008
    Jul 30, 2008

    Lynn -

    Powerful. You are truly living your purpose, it is so clear. I loved your last line because it reminds me deeply of being in Burma on the banks of the Irrawaddy river with the taxi driver who had asked to take me there. We sat looking at stars hearing the laughter of the children. I asked him what he was most afraid of, and he replied for the children, their futures under the regime...and he started to cry. I will never forget that moment.

    Thank you for all you are.

    Jensine Larsen World Pulse

  • Lynn McMullen
    Jul 30, 2008
    Jul 30, 2008

    Jensine, Thanks for the post. I feel these sudden, quiet connections are the most powerful and the vulnerable heart of another person can be some of the most powerful expereinces of our lives. When Sofi and I sit out in the stars we are often sad, but it is a relief to me sometimes to not be avoiding this kind of reality. Often US life for me feels like one large avoidance. It seems many people I talk to dont want to know about Africa, and this makes me feel even worse than being there ever does. Strange. I love working with you to connect people everywhere.

  • Sunimal
    Nov 24, 2008
    Nov 24, 2008

    Hi Lynn,

    I have been working in Africa for 27 years and am currently in Uganda. I also met you when you came for the MC Summit in 1999 in Abidjan.

    I found in 2003 that people need advice and animated sensitization sessions to transcend from being destitute to not being destitute. I worked with partners in Goma, DRC to establish CCMV/ACBL centres that provided a tailor made package of services to assist them (Including changing the mindset of HIV+ve persons to live better until they were ready to die). Please find a picture of the CCMV/ACBL centres and the services we offered at the following website: http://spmconsortium.ning.com/photo/advisory-centres-for-better.

    Currently I am developing a proposal for the Eastern DRC to expand the concept and set up centers in 30 villages.

    All the best in all your ventures. Sunimal M. Alles +256773834506 Skype: sunimal.alles www.tidycentre.com

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