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Re: GSBN: South Africa

G 'day Balers

I will write to you all on the other lists when I get the time but I thought that I would start here with all of us GSBNers. Susan and I are back from our visit to Cape Town and the Garden Route. Just a quick note as our work load has increased somewhat! So much to do and so much that needs doing. We are off to build in Victoria and then back here for a large SB home in the Wagga area and then maybe our last SB conventional home in the Canberra area our swan song so to speak. Ironic now that we have full insurance cover and full licence.

After that we will be building for the people of Africa especially Mama Amelia and her 96 children. Probably the most amazing human being that I have ever met and I have met several now on this journey but Amelia IS Mother Earth. Amongst the poverty of the township she lives in, Amelia shines above it all with so much love and giving.

All I can say is that Amelia has turned my path on it's head and somehow Susan and I will make ends meet while we help her achieve her dream of a straw bale home full of love for her ever increasing number of children. We have many hurdles to overcome before it happens but we will succeed.

Any takers for an International SB Working Bee in Cape Town next year? It cannot be school holidays in July as that is when her 18 year old boys are circumcised. Probably towards the end of the year what says you Rene?

SB is just on the way up there with two now three architects working and building in strawbales. Heaps of straw around Cape Town heaps, within 35 ks of the city centre at Durbanville we found thousands of acres of wheat growing and thousands of bales in storage from last year's crop.

All for now and FYI:

HIV/AIDS Bangkok July 11-16 2004 Conference from Stephen Lewis:

1. African young women and girls 15-24 now represent 75% of all those living with HIV/AIDS in that age group.

2. Swaziland 15% of the population will be orphans by 2010 (imagine 15% of your population in your country being orphans).

3.  Africa now has 12 million orphans as a result of HIV/AIDS.

4. In Africa 6,500 people die from AIDS and AIDS related diseases daily. More orphans.

5. The Grannies of Africa now raise their grand children and need help desperately. They need shelter, food, water and above all schools for their children.

Rotary is already involved and will become more involved very soon.

As straw balers we can lend a hand next year to help Mama Amelia, a good start. Let me know who wants to come along and I will start the process of fund raising for the materials for Mama Amelia. Andy Horn an architect in Cape Town will be our man on the ground, Andy has built some beautiful strawbale homes there.

BTW Mama Amelia insists on straw bales for her walls nothing else will do thanks to Jolien van der Maden and Datje van Riedjman. Amelia has been offered conventional cement blocks but has refused, that was before she met Susan and I last week.

Juts a quick note to you on GSBN as I know most of you and I am sure that some of you will put your hand up and join us in Cape Town next year. South Africa is a most beautiful country with a wonderful feel and happy people with a free press and Nelson Mandela.

Warmest greetings The Straw Wolf.

"A tragedy of unprecedented proportions is unfolding in Africa. AIDS today is claiming more lives than the sum total of all wars, famines and floods and the ravages of such deadly diseases such as malaria."

Nelson Mandela  AIDS concert 29/11/2003.