mikey going down

Summer at the South Pole by Mikey Kampmann

21st Century Veranda

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.

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