04 December 2011

All I Want For Christmas: Giving Back Edition

Today I'm linking up with the lovely Joelle who blogs over at Something Charming for her All I Want for Christmas List Link-up.  But, this year, instead of including all of my material Christmas list wishes (which you can find here), I decided to focus on an opportunity to give back in a way which is very near and dear to my heart and which hits quite close to home for me and for many other South Africans.

South Africa is a country full of contrasts and contradiction.

It offers immense beauty against sprawling townships...

 Incredible wealth against dire poverty (with 50% of the country living below the poverty line)...

The birth of one of the greatest democracies against an increasingly corrupt government...

A hopeful and optimistic future against an ugly and difficult past...

{You get the idea}

View of Cape Town's stunning coastline

View of the Khayelitsha Township located about just 10km from the above photo

 So, while I normally try and keep it pretty optimistic around here, those of us who live here also have to confront some pretty scary statistics and realities on a daily basis.

Volunteering at an HIV/AIDS infected and affected programme near Somerset West

Cue, the part of the story that hits especially close to home...

Enough {yes, her name is Enough}, is one of the many people living in South Africa who falls far beneath the poverty line.  A few years ago she and her family fled to South Africa from her home country of Zimbabwe due to the fact that Zimbabwe had {quite literally} run out of food and was also in the middle of a cholera epidemic

Photo of a Grocery Store I took while in Zimbabwe in June 2008

While the move to South Africa filled them with hope of a better life, life here has certainly not been easy for them as work is extremely scarce {the unemployment rate in SA lingers around 30%} and the crime rate in the center of town is higher than anywhere else in the world {South Africa has a higher homicide rate than Colombia}.

Enough has been helping me with things around the flat one to two times a week since I moved here two years ago and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all that she does.  It makes it that much easier for me to balance work and night classes and I can honestly say that she has become a good friend and someone who I consider to be a member of the family.


Enough is due to have a precious baby boy in January.  However, already having a 6 year-old daughter, as well as having taken in her brother's 9 year-old daughter out of the kindness of her heart, money is extremely tight and she and her husband are currently {barely} surviving on about $175 per month.  Jurgen and I try to assist her where we can with food and clothing {on top of her weekly salary} but, unfortunately, her and her family's needs extends far beyond what the two of can provide.

... Which is why this year for Christmas I will be asking friends and family to donate baby clothing and supplies in lieu of normal gifts, as I know know Enough will need anything which can be spared more than any material item I've had my eyes on.

But then I thought... why just limit it to my immediate friends and family when I have so many amazing blog friends who might be willing to help support this family too?

So, if you'd like to contribute, I will be collecting baby clothes donations up until the 21st of December {when I leave California to head back to South Africa}. 

These clothes can be old or new, store-bought or handmade, anything at all will be more than appreciated. 

If you're interested in contributing please send me an email here or leave me a comment so that I can get in touch with you regarding my address, etc.

Note to my South African blog loves: if you'd like to contribute I can forward you my Johannesburg address or {if you live close enough} arrange to pick up your donation from you.

I'm planning on throwing her a surprise mini baby shower just after Christmas, so I will be sure to take lots of pictures to share with you all :)

For more ideas on how to give back this season see Joelle's post here


  1. Such a great idea Jen, won't you send me the details please? I'd love to make a donation - tarynleigh1812@gmail.com.


  2. You're so sweet! What a great experience it would be to live out there! :-)


  3. So proud of you for doing this! I will definitely get a few things together and get them to you while you're here.

    I'll also put this up on my blog soon!


  4. Jenna this is wonderful, I would love to get some things together :) Let me know your address, or will you be in Nor Cal at all? :)

  5. I love this. She will be over the moon! And the joy you will feel while helping her is greater than any temporary joy you would receive opening a gift. I need to remember that as well! What a wonderful example you have set.

  6. My bosses have a branch of their business there, and I hear sad stories all the time like these. But for a little happiness: Enter to win 5 shirts from StyleMint!

  7. Love this post and the pictures! My husband searved a mission in South Africa so he would love this.


Thanks for the love!