The Last Half of Our Last Day
The second place we visited was The Stellenbosch Community Development Program (SCDP ) in Kayamandi. This was a very emotional experience as it put us face to face with the reality of poverty in South Africa. Our guides were Jacque Treadway, manager, and two of the healthcare workers there. At their headquarters located next to one of the affiliated primary schools, they explained to us the epidemic of malnourished and overweight children. In some cases, the children are malnourished and underweight from lack of healthy food, and in other cases children (especially young girls) are overweight because of junk food and the perception of weight as a symbol of economic status.
This program provides food (donated by organizations and companies) for children in need on a daily basis. The community development program works with families and collects information to determine needs and to help prevent dependency. The program works and teaches with about 100 mothers; demonstrating how to grow their own vegetables and providing them with a place to garden. This allows the mothers additional nutritional food and gives them opportunities to turn what they have learned into a source of income and empowerment.
We toured the gardens at the development office and then went on a walk to the nearby satellite garden, witnessing the general living conditions and visiting with some of the mothers who garden along the way. The motto of the organization is “Not Afraid to Love” and we encountered many of the children of the area who embodied that phrase. They were full of smiles, were very friendly, and loved to have their pictures taken! We received many waves and thumbs up from people in the town, many of them children, and later learned that they love and admire Americans and our culture.
In the second (satellite) garden we noticed some issues with compaction and plants growing in subsoil (recent site grading had removed topsoil) and offered some suggestions which Jacques warmly accepted (he is not a gardener by trade). He welcomed additional recommendations and Emily quickly offered to put some gardening information together to send once we return to the U.S.
It was great to witness the outreach that the SCDP is doing and the difference they make: http://love2give2children.org.za/ .
It was also great to see the impact gardening can make to a community with so little.
After our visit, we had dinner before spending another 30+ hours traveling back to the U.S. (where we arrived safely).
South Africa was amazing! We were continually surprised by the friendliness of the people and the beauty of not only the landscape but the culture! We would like to thank everyone for joining us along the way, and showing your interest through your comments! We would also like to thank all of our great tour guides for sharing their knowledge with us and making our trip such a rich experience.
Please join us to learn more and see pictures during our Brown Bag in a few weeks!