Thank You Party This Saturday!

Just a friendly reminder that the “Thank You Party”  is this Saturday July 9th!  We will be hosting it at Breakthrough’s Ministry Center located on 402 N. St. Luis.  The event will start at 10am, end at 11:30am and it will include a light brunch, a trip presentation from our kids, a media slide show, and thank you gifts to our donors and families!

Our students having been working very hard for this day  so please allow them the opportunity to say “thanks”  by attending the party!

email rfunk@breakthrough.org with interest or questions.

 

Sweet home Chicago

Sawubona! (hello in Zulu)

We all made it back to Chicago on Sunday night and all 6 our kids made it to school the next morning…. back to the real world.  We were all glad to be home but you could not help noticing the sadness in our group that it was over. 

I think I can best describe this amazing experience for us and our kids by saying, “The trip was extremely moving and deeply impactful, but now its our job to make it a life-changing”.  Over the next 4 weeks our kids will continue to digest and apply their learned experiences and figure out how they can keep the spirit and memories alive in our everyday life. 

On July 9th we are hosting a Thank You Party from 10am-111:45am at the Breakthrough Ministry Center (402 N. St. Louis).  Our kids will be presenting their trip experience, sharing pictures and videos, and explaining how they are applying this trip’s lessons to their current life goals.  We will also be giving out special thank you gifts to our sponsors who made this possible and sharing the vision for whats next in Breakthrough Sports.  Please consider coming as this will be a special event that will hopefully cement this experience in the lives of our kids. 

All are invited, but I need you to RSVP with the number of attendees to rfunk@breakthrough.org as soon as possible. 

Grateful!

Rusty and the crew…btw, yes thats a pizza vending machine in the Jo-berg airport! It was amazing!

 

Exploring the Cape

Our last two days of the trip was spent in Cape Town, and we packed it absolutely full of as much activities as we could.  We wanted to make sure that we experienced everything in this beautiful but marred city.  Here are some highlights…

Robben Island is where most of the Apartheid political prisoners were kept and where Nelson Mandela Spent the first 17 of his 27 years in prison.  We took a ferry out to the island that rocked us solid seas-sick and made flying seem easy and fun.  The tour was very interesting especially since it was led by an ex-political prisoner of Robben Island.  We felt so lucky to experience the monumental place but also had a hard time understanding how people could leave that prison and the Apartheid era and fight for peace, equality and freedom for all instead of seeking revenge.

We also got to explore the water front and “Victoria Warf” where a couple of our kids joined street performers in attempting to limbo under a fire lit rod!  Then on Friday we boarded a double-decker tour bus that dropped us off at many cool parts of the city including, the “Green Market” where we were able to explore and experience the traditional crafts and economy of the Cape Town, the District Six Museum where we learned about one of the largest and most unfair relocation of a people group in South African history, and Table Mountain where you could see the whole city and ocean from.

We had a great debriefing last night where we processed a lot of the trip’s lessons and we cannot wait to share them with you all on July 9th.  This trip has exceeded all expectations and it has truly been incredible for everyone involved.  We have bonded and created some life changing memories and now it is time to start the 30+ hour journey to Chicago.

Grateful to everyone out there!

The reason for the trip…

Forgive us for not posting for the past few days as we have not had internet since we left Durban for the village of Nlkonkobe.  I have posted the past couple days below and pictures below that.  Thanks!

Monday May 30th

In our devotional booklets our word for the day today was COMMUNITY, and it was a perfect day to build it. 

After an exhausting 15hour day out on the course yesterday (and we didn’t even run) we enjoyed sleeping in a little this morning and not having anything on the schedule till we were supposed to leave for the  airport at 10:30am.  We got to the airport for our 1pm flight at 11am only to find out that our flight was delayed till 4pm! So we made the best of it by using our free meal vouchers and getting to know the other World Vision runners on the team through card games, dumb-human trick contest (nick won), telephone pictionary, and word search contests!  The situation could not have been more perfect to get to know each other and establish community.

We finally got in to Port Village at 6ish and then took a three hour bus ride to our village!  Make sure to ask Nick and Tony about both our foot race and the large African grasshopper when we made a stop at a gas station.  Both are great stories and only one of them lead to needing the first aid kit.

Tomorrow we meet our sponsored children in the ADP and get to spend all day in the village and run a race alongside! Huge!

Tuesday May 31st

Today we got up early, ate breakfast and headed in our bus to meet our sponsored Children in the World Vision ADP.  Words are pretty much useless here.  They cannot describe the emotions, tears and thoughts that every one of our kids had today.  I will instead attempt to just list out our day and save the amazing stories for our July 9th event when you can hear them in person from our kids. 

We had seen some of the Shanty Towns in the cities earlier in the week but the poverty in these rural area was different from anything we had seen before. When we got to the village we walked to their local grammar school and walked into the school filled with community leaders and parents on one side of the room facing empty rows of chairs where we were to sit.  Sorta awkward set up but it was cool to face each other. It was an awfully windy day (come to find out pretty normal for this region) and the gusts rattled the tin roof of the school as we began to listen to community introductions and introduce our group as well. 

We then presented the school with a bunch of sports equipment and had some great play time with the kids!  It was awesome to see our Breakthrough Students immediately show initiative and lead some activities with younger kids that they could not even communicate with.  It was amazing.

We then gathered back into the room and got individually introduced to our sponsored kids and their families.  This was awesome and the kids will have some great stories about this moment as it was very emotional.  After everyone was introduced we all got some time to hang out individually with our Sponsored kids and their families.  We had brought plenty of coloring books, sticker activities and games to aid in the initial awkwardness but it ended up being really relaxed.

Then came lunch.  A traditional dish of lamb, maze and gravy was served!  Ask Tony about his lunch experience.  He had his head up and showed some great leadership here.

After lunch we gathered to hear people talk more about the village and what life is like for our sponsored kids both in school and in the home.  It was amazing to hear the spirit of hope from these people as we learned more about the problems with HIV/Aids, education support, employment and food availability. Then the whole community walked out to the local road and we had our officially first ever Africa Race!  It was shorter than expected (because of all the young kids) but awesome none the less! 

The last couple hours of our day we hung at the school and interacted with the kids in structured activities and free play time!  Again, I am almost tempted to not even write about this day because our kids experienced SO much, and it is impossible to summarize!  It was amazing to see how the shock and the awkwardness of the morning gave way to relationships by the end of the day.  As we said our ceremonial “goodbyes” we could not hold back the tears. They performed dances and prayers of hope and asked us for only one thing…to remember them. 

Our challenge now is to use all that we learned today, we want it to be a real part of our lives that we will not forget! 

                                                                                                

The Long Run

Our day started with a 4am wakeup call this morning so that we could accompany the Team World Vision runners to the start line of the Comrades.  Despite the fact that the sun was not due to rise for another two hours the city streets were packed full of thousands of Africans and a few hundred foreigners getting ready to run the 56 miles.

After the gun sounded and we watched 18,000 people run past us a few of us Breakthrough runners hurried over to the beach to see if we could catch the sun rising over the Indian Ocean.  We made it in time and decided to go for a swim in the warm ocean to maximize our opportunity.  It was awesome!

We spent the rest of the day leapfrogging our Team World Vision colleagues and cheering thousands of athletes.  At the festival and stadium where the race ended was where we got to see runner after runner run, walk, crawl and stumble across the finish line!  All 7 of the TWV runners finished and the kids were pumped and going nuts for them the whole day!

Made props to the TWV crew! %100 of team finishing two years in a row!

Due to some fancy networking of World Vision South Africa’s Sonia Cronje, we actually got to be interviewed on South African national television which was also streaming live in the stadiums jumbo trons!  It was awesome publicity to over 4 million people in SA!  Thanks Sonia!!

Because of our long day and our runners extreme fatigue we as group decided to try out this little local joint for dinner here in Durban, South Africa.  I believe it was called McDonalds?  You may have heard of itJ.  It tasted a little different to our kids but it was comforting none the less! Check out the day’s pics below…

 

City and Township Tour, Safari

Forgive my lack of writing tact but we dont have a lot of time on the internet!

Today we

–Woke up and had a good African Breakfast

–Drove an hour outside of Durban to the Safari with Mr. Tommy our tour guide

–Ate a picnic lunch at the park

–Loaded up all ten of us in one jeep for a 2 hour Safari

–Saw a ton of different animals and everyone came back in one piece!

–Got taught some basic Zulu (language) by our driver.

–Got a tour of the Durban “Townships”.  These are the very poor pockets of people living in “shanty towns” just outside the city.  Our Driver Mr. Tommy grew up in the Township and explained to us how they were formed and how the poverty was intentional developed during the last century of segregation.  We dont have a lot of pictures of this because we were already ticking out and we wanted to be very respectful.  This shook our group pretty good and we had a great debriefing time tonight and digested the cause of how we were feeling and how it relates to our lives.

–Met up with the rest of the World Vision Comrades team and the World Vision South Africa staff at a pre-race dinner! Pretty special as our kids were introduced and bragged upon!

–Had a great debriefing time and we are ready to experience and support the runners at the Comrades tomorrow!

The details above and pictures below are just a sampling of all the awesome things! So much to share when we get back….but for now pictures will have to do!

Flying, Flying and more Flying

We made it!

From door to door our trip took 30 hours, but we are finally here!  5 of our runners have never flown before so it was a brutal awakening flying out of a windy and rainy Chicago Ohare Airport yesterday morning! Despite the bumps and scares though, we were all flying pros by the time we were done with our 4 legs!  We went…

Chicago to Washington D.C

Washington D. C to Dakar, Senegal

Dakar to Johannesburg

Johannesburg to Durban

Along our journey today we figured out (the hard/funny way) that the bathrooms on the airplanes have locks, security ladies like to hit on Antonio, pens automatically explode in my pockets, Ashley A. does not appreciate the ticket counter person joking that she has to go to Cape Town instead of Durban with the group, and finally… silly putty does not come out of clothes!

We have already conquered serious fears, learned a lot about South African culture, and had a lot of laughs…and that was just on the trip here!

Check out the pics, Safari tomorrow!

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