I'm going to Mamelodi, South Africa!

In November of this year, I will be going on an aid trip to Mamelodi, South Africa with Crossroads Community Church, a Cincinnati-based non-denominational Christian church, to build homes, teach kids and transfer sustainable skills. The church has made this journey for the past 2 years to aid the people of Mamelodi, which is an urban area outside of the capital city of Pretoria. There are close to 1 million people living in Mamelodi, and it’s been estimated that between 30-50% of the people suffer from HIV/AIDS. There is extreme poverty as well, and these are some of the reasons that Crossroads has established a partnership with the local Charity & Faith Mission Church. Below is a video from the first trip in 2006, and also some local Cincinnati news coverage on the efforts.

Our main projects will be building homes, planting vegetable gardens for the people to be able to have good nutrition, teaching and loving on the local children, and transferring sustainable skills. In the past they have set up libraries with books for the children to read, built and stocked an AIDS hospice, and just brought love and hope for a better life to the community. I’m excited because it looks like we’ll also be doing some additional technology work this year. Last year, a technology center was established with computers and wired connections to facilitate communication and learning, so more work will be done to get this center running smoothly. There’s a good chance that I’ll be able to help out with this endeavor.

I can’t begin to describe how excited about about this trip, and for a number of reasons:

- I participated in two other aid trips when I was in high school - one to Jamaica when I was 15, and another to Mexico City when I was 17. Both experiences changed my perspective of the world and helped me to appreciate even more the opportunities with which I have been blessed.
- I’ve been looking for an opportunity to participate in a cause like this again lately, and after reviewing some of the videos and getting some further information, I knew this was what I was seeking.
- A lot of good things will be accomplished in Mamelodi, as mentioned above, and so many lives will be positively touched (including those of us who are going there!)

I will be making this journey from November 20th - 29th this year, over the Thanksgiving holiday. I could not think of a better way to celebrate the holiday than by doing this!

In thinking about how I could personally encourage support of this effort, it hit me - use your love of networking to get people involved in this project! After all, it’s our networks that provide us with so many of the things WE need and want every day, so why not see if the network will rally to support a good cause and help provide things that OTHERS need?

Several of you (I’m hoping), having read through this information and watched the videos, are now inspired by this project and are thinking to yourselves, ‘What a wonderful endeavor! I wonder if there’s anything I can do to help?’ I will respond to that with “Of COURSE!!” Naturally, a project of this magnitude doesn’t happen for free, so as participants we are required to pay our own passage which is $3000 per person. I am of course willing to fund my own participation, but this is a large sum, and if you are interested in helping out in any way, I would certainly be grateful.

Keep in mind that any and all contributions for this project are completely tax deductible. Businesses as well can provide sponsorship, and I’ll gladly accept assistance from businesses who want to support this effort. In fact, I am more than willing to publicly thank supporters here on my blog by displaying a logo for your company. And this doesn’t have to just be financial! If your company would care to donate any technology - computers, printers, networking hardware, software, telecommunications equipment, etc., I’ll find a way to make sure we can get any aid donated shipped over!

I will be setting up a donation link on my blog very shortly, but don’t let the lack of that link existing right now stop you! Please get in touch with me if you’ve got some equipment you’d like to donate, or if you would like to support me personally.

I am planning to blog during my trip there and share some of my experiences. Thank you for your interest in this wonderful cause!

“Small things, done in great love, bring joy and peace.” ~Mother Teresa

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