Sunday, March 23, 2008


Design Inspirations

Many of you have asked for more photos of different styles of angels. Carol has created a link to an album of varied angels, including some notes on how they were made. Check the website and click on “What’s new”.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thembalethu Report

Thembalethu (Our Hope)

The name of the children’s shelter that Lorraine and Vic Parsons worked at from October to December 2007 pretty much sums up the hope for the future of the many orphaned and abandoned children in this part of South Africa. Both the shelter and St. Mary’s Hospital are located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, the hardest hit part of South Africa by the HIV-AIDS pandemic.

We were astonished at the deep connections that the Zulu order of nuns, Daughters of St. Francis, have in the local community. The shelter is located two hours south of Durban in a rural setting of steep hills and green valleys. Not only do the sisters run the shelter, which accommodates between 20 and 26 children at a time, but they also provide meals for local schoolchildren, and they have an Outreach program that supplies food parcels – rice, beans, cornmeal, dairy supplements, oil – and blankets. If someone needs a wheelchair, they will work diligently to find one. If an ill person needs assistance to get a doctor’s certificate so they can get a pension from the government, they will explore all means possible. They also run a day care for children at the Assisi mission, and help support another about 10 kilometres away that serves 80 local kids. They distribute fresh food from their gardens to the local community.

When we consider the word Hope, we think of little Sanelisiwe, a toddler who came to the shelter shortly before we arrived. She had been abandoned by her mother for days and the only brief care she received was from passing strangers. Although she has not been tested, because she does not have a birth certificate and her mother has disappeared, she most likely carries the HIV virus. At first, no one could approach her crib without her bursting into tears and crying loudly. The only way the sisters and caregivers could get her to stop was by tossing a blanket over her head. Gradually, she allowed people to hold her, and then to give her small amounts of food. By the time we left Assisi, she would grin happily whenever we opened the door to the shelter. She would play with the other children and was so proud of her little frilly dress. To us, it was a minor miracle!

The other program African AIDS Angels contributes to is Born to Live at St. Mary’s Hospital just outside Durban. Drugs are given to pregnant moms to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. About 4,000 babies and 3,500 mothers have gone through this program with a 95 per cent success rate. The AAA money provides counseling so the drugs are taken appropriately. If the drugs are not taken properly, the therapy would fail.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Angel Supplies

Where to find angel making supplies

Angel making kit complete with:

Angel bodies, with 15 hair and 5 without

Name tags


Glue sticks

Will be available from Mary after May 12.

Send a message to to arrange pick up.

The following are also available:

Fabric, bling, ribbon, beads


Angels can be delivered to angel making sessions.

Come to pick up materials, or exchange fabric even if you do not have time to stop and make angels with the group.

See dates and locations posted on the blog.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Reports from the Field

Over forty people attended our information meeting in Victoria on March 13th. We were able to get a much better sense of the impact of our fundraising efforts. Vic and Lorraine Parsons described the family atmosphere provided by the nuns at Thembalethu Orphanage in South Africa and the community outreach work they are also doing. AIDS Angels will be providing funds to assist with the outreach program in future.

Pierre and Lee Ann Dil presented a slide show about Makeni and the orphanage in Zambia that you can view on You Tube. Check below for the links.

Teddy Phiri sent a report and photos from Malawi about one of the families we are supporting. That is included below.

You can find more photos by checking the website.

Malawi Report

Teddy Phiri, one of our Malawi contacts has sent this report about a family that we are supporting. This gives a good picture of the larger issues that this family and others affected by AIDS are facing. Further comments in italics.

This family of Mr and Mrs Ngwata live in Dunduzu area about 10 km from Mzuzu City. Both of them are on ARV treatment. (Anti-retroviral drugs suppress the symptoms of Aids and may allow the person to assume some of their responsbilities). One child died in January 2008. He was also on ARV treatment. They have had 8 children, 5 are still living. Their eldest, a daughter, just disappeared leaving behind two children. The last-born child who is 7 months old also shows signs of being HIV positive.

Discovery of HIV Status

The husband in 2004 became very sick. After tests at the hospital, he was diagnosed as HIV positive and the wife was also tested and she was found positive too. Immediately both of them were put on ARVs.

Community Support

They feel no segregation in the community despite their illness. The village Headman is very supportive to the family ever since they declared their HIV status openly. (in the past many people were isolated and shunned when their HIV status became known)

Acceptance by their Children

Both parents informed their children of their status. The children are very supportive to their parents. For example the oldest boy and daughter are the main income generators of the family through general farming and vegetable gardening. They always make sure that parents have taken the ARVs. Due to a shortage of fertilizer they mix fertilizer and maize husks in their vegetable gardens. The vegetables grow very well (This was a new lesson learnt by us).

(Because soils in Malawi are depleted by overfarming, chemical fertilizer is necessary . However, soil can only be rebuilt with organic matter such as compost and manure. These young farmers have made a good discovery)

The wife Elita is playing a vital role in the community by encouraging people to go for testing. They informed us that there are many people in the village who are on ARVs due to their civic education.

Availability of ARVs

The medications are always available at the hospital and hospital staff are very supportive.

African Aids Angels Support.

The family is supported by African Aids Angels in the following way.

  1. Seeds and fertilizer for their farm.
  2. Youth training: One boy dropped out of school in Standard 7 in order to help the family. He is receiving training in market gardening and is provided with seeds and tools to grow vegetables.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Zambia slide show/video

For all those who missed the James Bay slide shows, here's a You-tube version of the presentation from Pierre and Lee Ann Dil.

Read the note below, then click here:

Suggestions and notes about what you will see:

The presentation may take a while to download. If you set it up and walk away, you can return when it is downloaded. Then you can enjoy the music and images without interruption.

In sequence you will see maps to orient you to Makeni which is located on the outskirts of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. Next come photos of Lusaka to give you a flavor of the city.

Then you move to Makeni where you will see some of the workshops and photos of Rev. and Mrs. Dil, the founders of Makeni and Pierre’s parents. The orphanage is part of Makeni and you will see lots of photos of the children at work and play. Look for the “Keep Zambia Clean” day and the children’s swimming field trip. The soccer players are wearing uniforms donated from clubs in Victoria. Finally you will see the additions to the dormitories. More space is needed as some of the orphans enter adolescence. The buildings were funded by an Aids Angels special donation and by funds from donors in Holland.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Coming to James Bay, Victoria

New Group
James Bay

An African Aids Angels group is starting up at the James Bay Community Project.

547 Michigan

The group will meet every Thursday morning from 10 until 11:30 a.m.

Many thanks to Catriona Campbell for organizing this new location.