Author of "This Is Rage" and "Endless Encores"

Posts made in August, 2018

Three Thousand Ears in Cape Town

By on Aug 20, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

You’re probably thinking there is a typo in that headline. Nope. It’s correct. Not years. Ears. This is a story about service. This is a story about choices and not enough choices. This is a story about experiential learning and tangible human impact, one small moment at a time. Three thousand is an estimate of how many children’s ears were recently screened in Philippi Township, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa. At best count and two ears per young child, a volunteer team screened about 1500 children for otherwise undetected ear infections. If left untreated, this preventable and correctable condition could easily have left many of these children permanently deaf. About ten required immediate surgery. Six had cysts that could have resulted in meningitis or death. A project of this scope had never been attempted. The average number of children screened by public health services in the township for ear care is 150-200 per year, largely based on referrals. The team we assembled, working hand in hand with local clinicians familiar with medical infrastructure in the township, took on more than that each day. Once this model partnership committed to the challenge, there was nothing stopping them from achieving a new record they can’t wait to break or see broken. The ear clinic was only one of many innovative projects our group of volunteers tackled earlier this month near the far-away Cape of Good Hope. One team worked on AIDS prevention and education in a place where HIV remains epidemic, potentially impacting the vitality of an entire emerging generation. A construction team built bookshelves for public schools across the township. Another team focused on robotics learning, with young children lighting up as their minds opened to the basics of computer programming. We also ran a dance program led by a former champion from television’s Dance Fever. We engaged a team of professional journalists to start a school newspaper. We organized a series of open discussions on women’s health and personal well-being. We developed a peer-to-peer math mentoring program for high school students. My own team focused on business consulting with micro-entrepreneurs, working with an NGO called Business Activator to help bolster start-up companies. We were based in a unique...

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