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graveyard stone

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Ku Vonakala ~ Making Light:

With Denise Lurton-Moullé and Judith B. Miller

We hear so much about Africa these days in the news, we know of the poverty and the impact of HIV/AIDS on the poor rural communities but what can we do?

This trip was created to give Westerners an opportunity to know and to be of service to one small village community in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. Rooiboklaagte is the village where the women of the Mapusha Weaving Cooperative live and it is typical of rural South Africa – the nursery school is full of eager children but they have no toys, the women are full of faith and determination but they have no work. When asked what help they would most like the answer was English classes for themselves and their children, grandchildren.

If you would like to come to Africa and have a beneath the surface experience please consider joining this retreat. If the idea of working with a group of 10 who are in South Africa for 10 days to offer service and receive some of the gifts that Africa and the rural South Africans have to give please join us.

We will meet in Hoedspruit on September 27th and settle ourselves at the Kimba Lodge, which is a beautiful, secluded lodge in the bush. It is on the bank of the Blyde River and one can sit on the deck at dusk listening to the hippos. It is a perfect site for meditation and there is both indoor and outdoor space for yoga practice. We will have the option of cooking our own meals or having them prepared for us. There is a quiet, a depth in the bush of the Blyde River Canyon, which makes it a wonderful place to be still and receptive. While staying at the lodge we will focus our attention on work with the women and children of Rooiboklaagte – teaching English as a start and seeing where it leads. We will have daily meditations and yoga practice. We will have time to be in this magical bush world where the energy of the animals and the rocks and trees is so much, much bigger than the human presence.

One morning we will go for an early bush walk with a trained guide and bush lover at Moholoholo Mountain Lodge. One evening we will go on a sunset game drive at a nearby private lodge and have dinner outside in their boma. We will drive to the top of the canyon and spend time in meditation at this amazing power site.

It will be a different experience of Africa.  Meeting the women and children of the village will touch you. Being in the canyon, the bush, the game reserves (Kruger Park) will give you an experience of the natural world that you will never forget. It is an experience that touches one’s very core to sit by a water hole and watch the birds and the hippos; to see a herd of zebras and wildebeests, giraffes, and elephants; to spend time with a family of lions in the dusk or the dawn. After this trip you will hold Africa and her gifts and problems in your heart in a new way.

We call this trip, Ku Vonakala. In Shangaan this means, to make light. This retreat is about making connections, giving your gifts and receiving in return. We believe that this is the kind of action that makes our world a place of greater understanding, more compassion and true equality. To participate is to make the light grow ever brighter.