Umtata, South Africa
appalling conditions, life here is safer than in Umtata, where crime, drugs
and violence are prevalent and escalating. Recently, Jenny found a local physical
education teacher who has agreed to start a soccer league in the dump. The
soccer program will help keep the children from wandering in to town. Jenny
just keeps thinking of ways to make life better, one person at a time. South
Africa needs more Jenny McConnachies.
Itipini clinic located in Umtata, South Africa, provides basic medical care
and supplemental food to more than 300 families living in the city’s garbage
dump. The free health clinic, school, and food distribution center, located
amid the garbage, is funded entirely by charitable contributions and without
government support. Ex-patriot Jenny McConnachie has been running the clinic
for over 5 years. She visits the site daily.
McConnachie sees patients in the clinic building which has no electricity or
running water. She sees an average of 50 patients per day. While Jenny cares
for the sick, other volunteers distribute the weekly ration of corn meal, rice
and cooking oil to the waiting crowd.
live in homes constructed from discarded building materials. During the day,
families sift through mountains of garbage, looking for anything of value. The
most fortunate find discarded shoes to protect their bare feet from the ever-present
shards of broken glass and sharp twisted metal. Whatever saleable items they
find are sold in the local market and provides their sole source of income.
in this shanty town is unquestionably difficult, but there is a palpable feeling
of “community”. The proud residents have set up a system of streets, passageways
and alleys through the “neighborhood”. There is even a security guard or “commandant”
who questions unfamiliar visitors.