Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cape Town Day 7

Tuesday began with a trip in to the International Center for Transitional Justice where Emily is interning to see if I could get a meeting with the founder, Alex Boraine, a former Methodist pastor and one of the geniuses behind the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He was not in that morning so I took the car and spent the rest of the morning at the internet cafĂ© before heading on to a meeting at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) while Emily was working at her internship. I was quite proud of myself for not having any problems driving on the wrong side of the road; that is the left side of the road which in South Africa is the right side of the road which is to say the correct side to drive on. My meeting with Dr. Conradie at UWC went very well. We discussed the work of the Boston Theological Institute on ecclesiology in response to a request from the World Council of Churches for reflection on their new “Nature and Mission of the Church” document. We also discussed differences in ecclesiological perspectives between Africa and North America and agreed that ecumenical theology must take global perspectives into account. I am hopeful that there can be some collaboration between theological institutions in Boston and in South Africa in the future. After that meeting I returned home just in time to change clothes and head off to the Mount Nelson Hotel for afternoon tea. While the tea left a lot to be desired (Twinnings tea bags, which I use at home but would have expected loose tea at such a fine establishment), the atmosphere and food were spectacular. The desserts were served on what appeared to be a tray but upon further inspection turned out to be a very large bar of chocolate! Emily and sat, ate, drank tea and chatted for a couple of hours before heading home. We arrived back at the apartment with a bit of time to spare before we were picked up by her Rotarian counselor Don to go to the Rotarian dinner in Hout Bay. While the dinner was not particularly accommodating for vegetarians, (I can't really blame them since they didn't know about my dietary restrictions in advance), the presentation following dinner was a thoroughly stimulating discussion of the AIDS epidemic in Africa in general, in South Africa particularly and in Hout Bay most especially. Furthermore, it seems that the Hout Bay Rotary Club has become extremely involved in responding to the crisis, raising 75,000 Rand (a bit over $10,000 US) for emergency supplies that was matched by support from Rotary clubs in the US and now turning to more long term issues. They have a detailed plan for addressing the AIDS epidemic in Hout Bay and are now setting out to implement it. It was quite inspiring to see how a community can work together to better the situation of everyone. Clearly, there is still much to be done, but the people at the meeting were energized to continue working and so there is much hope for the future. After being dropped off at home, Emily corralled Emily and Elliot to go downtown for milkshakes again and to give me an opportunity to eat something that suited. All in all, quite a busy day!

Pics from Cape Town thus far.

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