Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November Highlights!

It's been way too long since an update -- I'm not really sure where to begin...I am going to share with you all a couple of highlights from the last month!
1. I was very blessed to be able to go and visit Robby, a good friend and fellow YASCer.

It was SO nice to see a familiar face and to be able to talk with someone who is having a similar experience as I am. Robby is living in Grahamstown, which is about a ten hour drive away (or 13 if you take the bus, which I did on the way home!).
We spent the afternoons at an after-school program, where Robby volunteers, helping kids with their homework and playing games. The After-school program is up in the mountains at an AMAZING monastery.
Here are some pics from the after-school program and the Monastery.

We spent Saturday night at the monastery and went to their church services in the evening and then Eucharist in the morning. I loved all of the services -- their chapel is a square room with big windows that over-look the mountains, with an altar table in the middle. The view is breath-taking and it was incredible to worship there. The morning Eucharist was full of so much life; You could feel the holy spirit dancing and shouting for joy! The children from the after-school program came to church, along with the wonderful woman who looks after the children. She lead the church in song and response while the Eucharist was being passed around the group. Three people played the drums and everyone sang and danced. I left the Monastery feeling renewed and excited.
While I was visiting Robby, I got to spend time exploring Grahamstown and meeting a lot of wonderful people. And, I got to hear Xhosa for the first time -- this is the South African language that uses a series of clicks while you talk - it was incredible to hear the children at the afterschool program speak so quickly with the clicks and the singing at church sounded so cool when everyone clicked at the same time. One of Robby's roommates made me a traditional Xhosa mean while I was - It was veggies. meat and beans-- it was delicious: check it out!

2. Before I left for Grahamstown, I went to the Grassy Park Golf day! Walking around on the gold course was fun (I was caddying for Fr. CLiffy!), but the best part of the day was learning to Braai or grill-out. Now, I know how to grill at home, but I am telling you it is much more intense here. First of all, when I think grilling at home, i first thing hamburgers and hot-dogs, but not here...they think, chicken, sausage, steak, prawns, etc. and in incredible quantities. The grills have a grate that you can close around the top and bottom, which is then used to flip all the meat at once -- no spatulas needed!

3. I returned from Grahamstown the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. For Thanksgiving, I lead the youth group in a program about blessings. We played games, talked about the meaning of thanksgiving, and wrote cards to people we were thankful for and ate pie! I spent almost all of the day baking apple pie and it was worth it! It was so nice to have a little piece of a traditional thanksgiving.

4. I've been learning more Afrikaans and am hoping to take a class soon! Some of the words/phrases I know so far:

Lekke or lekker -- good, nice, lovely -- the meat was lekke, I'm doing lekke, it was a lekke day

Hoe Gaan dit? How are you

Goeie More - Good Morning

Goeie Naand - Good Night

asseblief - please

Sunday, November 1, 2009


It did not take me long to realize that when some one says "twenty-ten" they are referring specifically to the upcoming soccer world cup hosted by South Africa in June of 2010. From the moment I arrived in Cape Town, I have heard comments and debates about the upcoming world cup. On the drive back from the airport, my hosts commented on how the airport has become SO confusing and there are too many roads -- the airport, and the roads to and from it, are being worked on and improved upon for the impending rush of soccer fanatics.

I wanted to share some of the pros and cons I have heard. Truthfully, I was shocked and surprised by much of what I heard and the varying ways the world cup will effect South Africa. I had thought about the increase in revenue - it will be such a wonderful boost for the economy - it will offer jobs and bring tons of tourist to the area. On the other hand there will probably be an increase in violence and theft - but beyond that, I had not thought much further.

First, check out some pics of the new stadium in Cape Town (at night with the lights on!)

The Stadium was built to have sound-reducing panels that will decrease the sound that the surrounding neighborhoods can hear - the Stadium is in Green Point, close to the city center.

So, back to the pros and cons:
- One con that I was particulary surprised about and perhaps should have thought about, is the increase in human traffricking. While meeting with a Priest in Lavendar Hill - a nearby TownShip, the anglican Priest was explaining that there already has been an increase of women and children brought into the country (and hidden away for now) to meet the demands of the large numbers of male tourists. Likewise, there is a fear in communities that children will be put at danger
-Children will be on break from school during the world cup and most parents will be continuing to work. So, who is going to supervise these children and keep them safe? At a recent Diocesan Meeting, one woman suggested creating massive soccer games in high risk, highly populated areas. However, who is going to run and supervise these games? And, what about the kids who don't live in those specific areas.
-According to one of my new South African Friends, infrastructure, may be the only positive thing coming out of the World Cup. In preparation for the large number of tourists, roads have been improved upon and new transit systems have been put into place. During the Apartheid era, there was only one road in and one road out of black and colored neighborhoods, so that the government could easily keep people in. Almost everytime I drive someplace, I see roads being built and widened.
-Another plus, South Africa is far enough away from other countries, that most visitors will stay not only for the world cup, but will also take this time to travel and get to see the country. People will most likely stay in the country for a couple of weeks to a month.
-SO, along with that, the world cup is offering a lot of jobs to a lot of people: Building roads, hotels, etc. As well as an increase in the need for service positions -- food servers, cleaners, etc.
-But, what will happen when the world cup is over? And the jobs are gone? According to a friend of mine, the government has not put any money or thought into the aftermath - to the social services that will be needed. Will there be children and women who will need counseling? Will there be more people in need of jobs?

I haven't done any research into this myself. I just wanted to share what I have been hearing! I'm sure there are many more pros and cons - I will keep you updated if I hear anything more and of course, will report back with the reaction to the actual event and aftermath! We can only wait and see!!

Peace, man!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ten things I LOVE about South Africa (in no particular order)

10. The 9:30AM service at Good Shepard Church has a band and everyone sings and dances during worship.
9. I saw a whale!!
8. The sunsets are beautiful - the sky is pink every night
7. Delicious Pastries -- When you visit someone's home they put out delicious treats and tea or coffee -- you can't say no, even if you want to!
6. The use of the word, "man", like How's it man? or really, man? People say 'man' after almost every sentence, and it makes me smile
5. the youth group -- Even though I miss my kids at Trinity, it has been wonderful to get to know other young fun people in the church! When they meet for youth group, older teens lead the programming and run games, songs, and good discussions
4. The Adults who work with the youth are SO much fun! And, have taken me out to see different parts of Cape Town.
3. Frozen Yogurt -- it's everywhere, which makes me very happy!
2. Sunday afternoons -- After Church everyone goes home and makes a HUGE meal and then take naps, it's pretty amazing! The indian good (samosas), curry, and grilling ( they call it Briaa) are all delicious!
1. The kids at Heaven's nest! They are such wonderful, beautiful children -- who have been removed from their homes bc of abuse, neglect or in some cases bc they are treated negatively bc of their HIV/AIDS status. I will be working with them once or twice a week!

more later, man!

Peace, Em

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Letter

I am writing with very exciting news; this Fall I will be moving to South Africa to be a missionary for the Episcopal Young Adult Service Corps, which many of you know has been a dream of mine for years. As a Christian, I am called to serve God by serving others. For the past two years I have been serving as the Youth Minister at Trinity Church in Boston, which has helped me to solidify this call to help others through faith-based mission work.

For me, being a missionary means answering a call from God to serve and love others and to seek peace and justice in this broken world. The focus of The Young Adult Service Corps, is to introduce American young adults into the life of the wider Anglican Communion and into the daily life and work of a particular community. The emphasis of the Young Adult Service Corps includes cultural engagement, spiritual commitment, and vocational reflection--lived out together in a work of service.

My appointment in South Africa will last for one year in the greater Cape Town area. While the details of my duties are still being arranged, I know that I will be working with an organization called Hope Africa. The Mission of Hope Africa is “to promote and implement a social development programme for the Anglican Church in Southern Africa for the improvement of the Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Well Being of the Poor and Oppressed People of Africa on a non-denominational basis.” For more information on this great organization please visit (http://www.hopeafrica.org.za/). Regardless of the specific work I will be performing while I am there, I am extremely proud to represent both the Diocese of Massachusetts, and Trinity Church Copley Square to the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The Province of Southern Africa will serve as my host, but they are unable to fully fund this journey. Another aspect of my going on this mission trip is to raise the balance of the money needed to support living costs and materials for the work I will be performing. My goal is to raise $10,000.00 before I leave the United States at the end of August 2009. This money, joined with funds from the national church and funds from Southern Africa, will allow me to serve as a volunteer for one year. I understand many people are under additional financial pressure given the circumstances of the last year. However, if are able to support me financially in any way, I would greatly appreciate it. Some sponsorship figures include $30 for one day, or $210 for one week, but I would appreciate any amount you are comfortable with sharing. More so than financial support, I would also like to ask for your love and support through prayer.
If you are interested in donating, please email me at embeal@gmail.com