Mfume Baba!

Out in the South Coast of Durban, there is an organisation that helps disabled children, where either their parents can’t take care of them, or they won’t. This area, is a place where there is no electricity or running water. The “staff” consist of volunteers from the community, who not only act as care givers to these children, but also take on the task of walking to fetch water (up to 5kms), making fires to heat water to make sure it is safe to drink and to cook food, among many things.

It is a difficult life that is the reality for most people in these remote rural areas. The thing that makes these people extraordinary, is that they are doing it for children who can not do it for themselves, children that are not their own. There are a few children there, but the child pictured, was born with half a brain and severely deformed appendages. He can’t do much for himself, but he craves attention. As you approach his cot, he sticks his tummy up in the air, and jiggles around, signaling for you to pick him up, or at the very least interact with him. When you do, he laughs and giggles, because you have literally just made his day. He is well loved, and it shows.

This “Baba” (a Zulu term of respect for a man), clearly has a soft spot for him, and what I love about this picture, is it shows on his face. He is not his father, but you would never know!

If you would like to know more, donate, or help in anyway, you can get hold of “Let Us Work” via their blog.


A heart for change

In Lower Illovo, there is a “Tree Clinic” run by Operation Bobbi Bear. The Tree Clinic is basically a gathering of rural woman under a Natal Fig Tree (Ficus natalensis). They meet once a week to support each other, get treatment for minor ailments, receive HIV/Aids awareness education, talk about their issues, get advice and assistance with social problems, grants, child care and many other things. Operation Bobbi Bear also hands out second hand clothes and some food items that have been donated by private people and companies. This is one of the Zulu spiritual leaders at the Tree, addressing the woman before a blessing was given to an unborn baby. Some representatives from Keep a Child Alive (one of the funders of The Tree Clinic and OBB) were also visiting that day. The weather was beautiful, and Mrs Ndandwe was excited to see all the woman with a heart to change their communities.

Put out sardine bait, and you catch a dusky!

Here are some photo’s of a local angler (Vishal) who unintentionally caught a shark at Pipeline beach (Amamzimtoti, South of Durban, South Africa) in the late afternoon on 28 June, 2011.

The shark made him work very hard to reel it in, for about half an hour.

Once he landed the shark, he worked quickly to free it, and along with some other anglers, released it successfully. The shark was mostly unharmed. I may be incorrect, but I am pretty sure it is a dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus). They are known to follow the South African sardine (Sardinops sagax) run which is currently in progress. Earlier in the day, a couple of fish from one of the early shoals had beached along shores on neighbouring beaches.

This shark is one of the most sought-after species for shark fin trade, and the IUCN (red list) lists it as near threatened. The sardine run is expected to continue for a few more days/weeks during June. This is an annual event, where the fish swim along the coast, following the cold current moving northwards from the Agulhas bank to Mozambique.

The sardines have not had a “run” for the past few years, and so locals are very excited to see them this year, along with all the predators including dolphins, sharks, sea gulls etc that follow the sardines.

If you would like to use these images, please post a comment or email me on sara8pies at gmail dot com.