Yesterday we drove out to The Valley Trust (TVT) over in the Valley of 1000 Hills (right on the edge of Zululand) to chat with Clive Brusas about the organization. The Valley Trust is a “Centre for Health Promotion” that works to empower local rural communities. They do HIV/AIDS work (and other health work via their clinic), as well as helping build schools, design curricula, etc. But what’s really kind of unique about TVT is that they value community input and involvement above all else. One of the underlying principles, as I understand it, is to ensure that it is the community that generates all improvement, rather than an aid organization or a donor. Clive talked a lot about using an assets-based model rather than a needs-based model for development–that is, focusing on what people in the community have and can do to improve their own conditions now rather than forcing them to wait for an NGO to hand them seeds or build them a school etc. His words definitely gave me some food for thought and I’m still working on picking apart what he said.
Then we headed over to PheZulu, a representational “Zulu village,” kind of like colonial Williamsburg. We got to watch some traditional Zulu dancing and then were introduced to South Africa’s various forms of reptilian life.