Day Thirteen


Sister Ethel Normoyle with children at the Missionvale Care Center.

Sister Ethel Normoyle with children at the Missionvale Care Center.

Today I went to the annual Rotary Foundation Seminar here in San Diego. In addition to the 400 or so people in attendance at the Salk Institute, there were also tables and tables of food to fill the grumbly tummies of Rotarians. The mostly older crowd filled up on cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon while I did my best to find my group.

The catering trays piled high with bacon, and the lines for fresh coffee near the entrance to the auditorium made getting in an arduous process. I thought to myself about how often I am offered free food. Staff meetings, conventions, conferences, and parties all offer low cost calorie collecting opportunities. It made me consider how people in the upper echelons of our culture make more money, have more opportunities, and yet usually have free things offered to them all the time. It makes one wonder how often politicians and celebrities are given things just because of who they are, when there are plenty of people who have a much greater need. 

Food is an expected perk, not anything to really think twice about.

Yet the seminar today was about the great work Rotarians are doing all around the world. I learned about Peace & Justice Fellowships, Scholarly exchanges, and projects taken on by Rotary members that bring food, water, education and health care to people who need it most. I was in attendance because I will be heading out on a Group Study Exchange with Rotary in January to Kenya and Uganda. 

The keynote speaker of the event was Sister Ethyl Normoyle of South Africa. Normoyle founded the Missionvale Care Centre in South Africa to, “provide love and care for the poor and destitute, with particular emphasis on those living with HIV/AIDS.” Each day they distribute 250 food parcels, 650 bread and soup meals for families, care for 500 orphaned children, provide schooling for 173 students, and help adults find work as well as access government grants. They do this not as a handout program, but as a way to be part of the community, to bring people together. The township where Missionvale Care Centre resides was created by the government during the apartheid. Those who live there were thrown out of their homes by the government and left without options.

What struck me most about Normoyle was not the work she has been doing for the last two decades at Missionvale, but the audacity of her vision for the future. She stood in front of a group of concerned citizens who are more than 5,000 miles away from South Africa and explained that in order for her group to sustain their work they need $5 million dollars. Almost in the same breath she reminded audience members that right now these people have no choice in life, and they need our help. She added that each Saturday they bury at least 25 people who die from HIV/Aids.  

So while Kerri and I had a disagreement today over one of the rules of this project, other people were being buried after a life without choices. 

For Ethyl,



Daily Totals:

Breakfast: 1 Cup cooked oatmeal w/ 1 TSP margarine – $0.09, store-bought bread w/ one tablespoon of PB-$0.10 (Christopher only)

Lunch: PB&J on store-bought bread with 1 Tbsp of pb -$0.20 (Kerri’s was $0.25 for extra PB)

Dinner: 2 Bean, Rice and Potato Burritos – $0.43 ( Beans – $0.07, Rice -$0.11, Fried Potato – $0.15, Tortillas – $0.10)

Desert: 2 Peanut Butter Cookies (homemade) – $0.14

Christopher Total: $0.98

Kerri Total: $0.93

Donation Total: $515


NOTE: If you think what we’re doing is interesting, inspiring, or just plain nutty, consider SPONSORING our efforts. Simply enter in an amount, click “update total” and follow the prompting. If you don’t have PayPal, it will let you use a credit card. At the end of the of the month all proceeds will go to the Community Resource Center (here in Encinitas, CA) and/or the ONE campaign. We will post evidence of donations at the end.



Filed under Uncategorized

4 responses to “Day Thirteen

  1. lynda holeva

    I’m hoping some of the people that left comments and/or made donations were families from my nutrition classes. I’ve put your diet project out there as a homework assignment, and I have a nice stack of summaries and opinions to read through. I’ll share them out with you shortly. Keep on – keep on.


  2. Lisa

    Thank you for walking the walk and being a good example to our students.

  3. I had been hearing about Sr. Ethel for awhile. I had had my own interests in Swaziland. I signed up to have her at my home with some friends and family. What an inspirational lady. We were mesmerized by her love and her compassion. I had six teenagers present, some who needed to study for a chemistry test, asking questions about her mission and her needs, completely entranced

    I have a trip planned to Swazi in Oct 2008, so I have extended it and plan to spend four days with Sr. Ethel, if she’ll have me.

    I am excited to be a part of the future. Our Rotary club in Coronado is accepting donations. Please help


  4. Emily

    “It made me consider how people in the upper echelons of our culture make more money, have more opportunities, and yet usually have free things offered to them all the time. ”

    Track down the song “Free Coffee” by Ben Folds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s