Archive for the 'Missions' Category

Nov 19 2008

24 Hours To Mamelodi

Well, I’m down to 24 hours before I leave for South Africa! I’m obviously excited about this trip, and I am looking forward to whatever experiences may come my way while there. My intent is to make some blog entries here while I’m in South Africa. This depends, of course, on internet access but at the very least I will write about my experiences when I return and will be sure to post. We have been instructed that communication will be limited while we’re over there, so just keep in mind that no news is good news :)  I am bringing both my FlipCam and my digital camera to capture as much of the trip as possible. Stay tuned!

Just in case you would like the information, here is my travel itinerary for getting there and getting back. I certainly appreciate all prayers, happy thoughts, and well wishes as travel is around 18 hours each way!:
  • Thursday, November 20th: departing Dayton, OH on United 7977Q at 10:10am (local time), arriving in Washington, DC (IAD) at 11:36am (local time)
  • Thursday, November 20th: departing Washington, DC (IAD) on South African 208V at 5:40pm (local time), arriving in Johannesburg, South Africa at 4:05pm on 11/21 (local time)
  • Friday, November 28th: departing Johannesburg, South Africa on South African 207V at 6:05pm (local time), arriving in Washington, DC (IAD) at 6:00am on 11/29 (local time)
  • Saturday, November 29th: departing Washington, DC (IAD) on United 7991Q at 12:28pm (local time), arriving in Dayton, OH at 2:03pm (local time)
The Go Mamelodi team will be keeping a video blog of our trip, and they have already uploaded some videos from the first group which is already over there. You can keep up with our projects there as well by going to www.gomamelodi08.com. Here is one of the videos from the first group (you may recall that Jennifer McClure is part of that group!)
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZU0_sT3EbVY]
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Oct 15 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty In Perspective – South Africa

Today is Blog Action Day 08, and participating bloggers are uniting to bring to attention the very real issue of poverty. As I am leaving in about 5 weeks to participate in a mission trip in South Africa, I wanted to throw out a couple of statistics comparing the economic status of South Africa as compared to the United States, as provided by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

South Africa economic factsheet

Annual data

2007(a)

Historical averages (%)

2003-07

Population (m)

47.6(b)

Population growth

0.6

GDP (US$ bn; market exchange rate)

282.9

Real GDP growth

4.1

GDP (US$ bn; purchasing power parity)

466.9(b)

Real domestic demand growth

5.9

GDP per head (US$; market exchange rate)

5,943(b)

Inflation

3.9

GDP per head (US$; purchasing power parity)

9,808(b)

Current-account balance (% of GDP)

-4.4

Exchange rate (av) :US$

7.0

FDI inflows (% of GDP)

1.1

(a) Actual. (b) Economist Intelligence Unit estimate.

…as compared to the United States economic factsheet:

Annual data

2007(a)

Historical averages (%)

2003-07

Population (m)

301.1

Population growth

0.9

GDP (US$ bn; market exchange rate)

13,841

Real GDP growth

2.9

GDP (US$ bn; PPP)

13,841

Real domestic demand growth

2.9

GDP per head (US$; market exchange rate)

45,963

Inflation

2.9

GDP per head (US$; PPP)

45,963

Current-account balance (% of GDP)

-5.6

Nominal effective exchange rate

77.5

FDI inflows (% of GDP)

1.0

Just a quick glance at these numbers shows a humongous difference in the GDP (gross domestic product) per person in both countries. Here are some more statistics:

  • The median annual income of Black South African working adults aged 15-65 is ZAR 12,073 ($1,294 US).
  • The unemployment rate of the Black South African population aged 15-65 is 28.1%.
  • The median annual income of White South African working adults aged 15-65 is ZAR 65,405 ($7,010 US).
  • The unemployment rate of the White South African population aged 15-65 is 4.1%.
  • A study conducted in 2004 by SARPN found that approximately 57% of individuals in South Africa were living below the poverty income line in 2001 [census year], unchanged from 1996. Limpopo and the Eastern Cape had the highest proportion of poor with 77% and 72% of their populations living below the poverty income line, respectively.

(Apartheid is a major reason for the drastic differences in the White and Black South African demographics)

For comparison, the median annual income for the United States is $44,389, and currently our unemployment rate is at 6.1%. Those below the poverty level in the United States, as of a 2005-2006 survey, were at 17.4%. It is important to note that the poverty line for a 2-person household in the US has been drawn at $14,000 which is almost double what the White South African median annual income is, and over 10x more than the Black South African median annual income.

So, taking a look at this information, put into perspective our current economic situation and be thankful for the things that you have! Keep in mind that our lifestyle is relative in the world and there are s-o-o-o many countries that are in worse shape than us.

I would ask if this particular issue has touched you and you want to help, please make a contribution to our group of 400 who are going to Mamelodi, South Africa, in the latter part of November. You do not have to contribute to me directly; you can make a general donation for the effort at large. Please also read other blogs who are participating in Blog Action Day 08!

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