This is Salfina’s house in Keylani Village. Salfina - who has HIV - already had two kids when she became pregnant with triplets. While she was pregnant, the roof of her original house (the one room on the left) fell apart and leaked anytime it rained. SAME does not have the budget to construct new homes, but has the budget to help do maintenance. Salfina was told that if she could construct the bricks, then SAME could help her mortar a new room for her house. That is what she did. While pregnant with triplets, Salfina hand made all the bricks for her new house using dirt from a termite colony. SAME was then able to budget the rest of the construction. The best news of all though is that Salfina’s triplets were all successfully born without contracting HIV.
Giraffes and zebras: BFFs
Giraffes aren’t just tall (although they are even taller than my friend Paul just to give you an idea of how freakishly tall they are). They also happen to have great eyesight.
Zebras have an amazing sense of smell, but can’t see shit.
Compared to each other, they are specialists in eyesight and smell. So they hang and graze with each other as a survival tactic. If the giraffes see something coming they both bounce, and if the zebras smell something coming they both bounce.
It’s sorta like how Paul is usually the first person to let me know that someone has walked into a room, and I’m usually the first person to let Paul know that something has happened on Tumblr.
What I’m doing in South Africa in a nutshell:
My friend Ryder asked me if I wanted to come to SA to help him make a video for a medical relief organization that he has been working with for five years. The organization called SAME (SA Medical Expeditions) is based in a rural region in NE SA called Limpopo. After 40 hours of travel I arrived here. We’re staying on Shirley-Anne (runs SAME) and Frank’s 1000 acre farm which is part of a much larger game preserve. A giraffe just walked by. It’s everything you imagine classic African paradise would be and the complete opposite of the South Pole. I call where I’m sitting on Tumblr right now the 21st Century Veranda. But paradise and raw struggle always go hand in hand. In my first day here we went into two of the four villages where SAME is providing relief. By the way, when I say we, I’m talking about Shirley-Anne, Santi, Ryder and I and the two ladies Nora and Sarah from the village who actually run the day to day work. In fact, it’s usually just these women (women do all the work in Africa while the men sit around) who are out there everyday supporting these four villages. It’s a tiny organization, but the results are life saving. SAME mostly focuses on kids who have been orphaned by AIDS (this region is the most AIDS ravaged region in the world). They provide nutritional support, medical attention, but above all, love. It’s sounds so cliche of everything you think of African relief work, but I can tell you that after just one day, it is 100% crucial and it barely scratches the surface. But as always in these communities, happiness and joking around remains present throughout the day. My month here is going to be an intense mix of extremes. What I’ve seen in the first 24 hours alone will take months to process. But I hope to share some of it while I’m here. And I promise for every post I do about the bleak reality in the villages, I’ll do one on the beauty of the landscape or one of getting silly around big game wildlife. Sending my peace and love from the bush.