With so many worthy causes in the world, I get asked often why I choose to work with the American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA). While there are many reasons, my initial draw to AFCA was their commitment to sustainability and the environment while impacting the lives of children who are directly affected by the AIDS crisis while living in extreme poverty. In Africa’s poorest communities, climate change is threatening day to day life. “Climate change threatens the lives and livelihoods of over 100 million in extreme poverty. Global warming is expected to melt Africa’s remaining glaciers in the next few decades, and the reduction [...]
AFCA Marketing Director, Jen Panattoni reflects on her experience in Zimbabwe with the Vacation with a Purpose Program.Do you ever go on a vacation, but feel the need to have another vacation immediately upon your return, because you probably never really fully left the routines of your daily life, and vacation just kind of *happened* to you? I know that feeling. In fact, we rarely call family vacations “vacations”, but family trips, because nobody is really in relaxation mode. The pressure of seeing all the things, doing all the things is enough to run you ragged, and turn anyone into a grouch when pushed past the limit of what vacation [...]
Another full day of service at Harvest Family Village. We are trying to wrap up various projects as tomorrow we head out to work at another home. Busy, busy!!
The Tree Team visited Mr. Sibanda to learn about seed propagation and what is possible to grow in this difficult terrain. Deaf and difficult to understand, Mr. Sibanda is a wealth of information and is ready to walk beside us as we move forward with the plans of planting 50,000 trees - for human and animal food, honey, medicine, hardwood, and for the environment. Afterwards, the guys loaded thatch for another project. Now...time for lunch before moving sand to fix a road and more planning for the future. We'll wrap up the day with a sunset hike and a braai. Busy but wonderful day and work, for sure! [...]
What a great day in Morning Star! This is a fabulous, hardworking group...painted bee hives, collected seeds for our new tree project, did bee hive inspections, built fences, made and bagged compost, and designed logos. These guys are amazing! #afcaids #dogood #bekind
A container of medical and school supplies arrived at the Sandra Jones Centre in Zimbabwe! Items are to be used by various #AFCAids partners. Whoo hoo! Thank you to each person who donated items, allowing us to send this incredible gift to benefit so many children. You are each a gift to AFCA and a blessing.
I watch from my hidden vantage point as my 13 year old son walks casually towards a project in the works, carrying two shovels with him. He is joining the other 13 year old on the team, Charlie, and Kevin. Those guys are now digging a ditch where piping for a water system will be installed. Hard work, for sure, on this dreary, freezing day and Kevin makes reference to Milan's "I Will Make a Man Out if You" song. I really should be helping, but my arms are grateful that there aren't enough tools for me, as we started the work this morning with scythes, cutting a path [...]
My amazing friend Lindsay and I head out to spend a night in the bush, a gift of togetherness after a long time of doing, doing, doing. We can't wait to be surrounded by Zimbabwean beauty and the sounds found in silence, so we pack up and head out as soon as we can on Friday morning. We make it to the outskirts of town, listening to music and chatting away until we are flagged down at a police stop, where we are told the insurance on the vehicle is expired. Lindsay says that cannot possibly be true and we both get down to check the stickers on the [...]
On the road again... Actually, in the air again - to Nairobi (Kenya), Johannesburg (South Africa) and finally, by tomorrow afternoon, to Bulawayo (Zimbabwe)! Spend the afternoon and evening with a friend, eating shwarma and catching up on life, kids, husbands, and work. After a hot shower (an actual shower with hot water!) and my last packet of coffee and a final hug, I arrived well to the airport, thanks to the best taxi driver ever, the bopping Dode. I am so glad to be able to call him when I need a safe, . He isn't fazed by anything. NOTHING. He just sways his body from side to side [...]
A little sewing at the Boyebi Center in Gemena. This is such a cool program, helping HIV+ women with life skills, such as sewing. They take a 10 month course in order to learn and practice before they graduate. After graduation, they can rent a sewing machine at the program in order to make clothes or other items for sale. The big need we have a a large generator to handle the three specialized sewing machines they have. One of the ladies had her little boy with her and he was quite frightened by the molende (white person), so he cried and cried until I left the room. [...]