International

Letter from South Africa- March 2012

We finished our work in the Swayimane valleys last weekend and were absolutely exhausted after twelve hour days in the rural districts. Our main project this year was to photograph eight Zimele projects as case studies to go on their website and for the publication of a book. We had prepared the storyboards before coming to South Africa and knew the type of shots we wanted to take. Rosetta had primed all our subjects so it allowed us total freedom to locate them wherever we wanted.

A cyclone had passed just north of the area in the previous week and the tracks we use are narrow, deeply rutted and muddy so it was a blessing that we were using a Land Rover Defender. We had met a friend in Johannesburg before driving the 200 miles south to Pietermaritzburg and he had just completed a 2000 mile trip up into Namibia and Zimbabwe. The problem was that he wanted to fly on to Sydney and how to get his Land Rover back to Cape Town? So we had volunteered and had the use of this tough vehicle to visit both the valleys and then to drive the 1000 miles to Cape Town which is what we are doing right now.

                                             

Our photo project took us into many places that few white people have ever visited. We were in homes seeing people sick with AIDS, seeing home nursing instigated by Zimele, in schools and then in the Pietermaritzburg city hospital which is probably 50 years behind the hospitals we are used to.

                                        

We found a crying need for hearing aids at the hospital and have already arranged for the Birmingham club to send 300 hearing aids to our local Rotary contact.

We visited the Imbokodo computer centre and met the women