After a nine hour flight, 12 hour layover in London, and another 11 hour flight, we finally landed in Cape Town, South Africa! Chris Simmons, Regional President from Mannatech, met us at the hotel and we immediately loaded into his car for a tour around Cape Town. The views were absolutely breathtaking and the fish n chips lunch was delicious. We all agreed that perhaps Chris has another calling in life, to be a tour guide of his home country in South Africa… he showed us so much and made us feel right at home!

The fog rolled in during our drive along the Cape Town coast… so beautiful!!

We spent the following day at the Mannatech Super Regional event in Cape Town. Our very own Executive Director, Sarah Bowen, spoke at the event; introducing herself and our vision as well as providing updates on what all we have accomplished in the year. As you walked into the conference room, you could feel the energy and passion emitted from everyone. We had a wonderful time getting to know many of the South African associates. They were incredibly hospitable and we loved listening to their cool accents!

The following day we spent exploring Cape Town and finished the day visiting a soup kitchen outside of Greyton that has been receiving PhytoBlend for several years. The soup kitchen was a run by a woman living in the local township of Genadendal. She saw the lack of nutritious food the children of the township were receiving and wanted to do something about it. Now she, along with the help of her sisters, cooks a large pot of soup or noodles three days a week for the children in her township. The soup is made with whatever ingredients are available, and with the addition of PhytoBlend, it becomes a nutritious warm meal. On Monday, over 60 children came to her home bringing their own bowls and spoons and lined up by her front door. The children gobbled the soup down and continued to run around and play as children do. It was incredible to see the great impact that one person’s heart can have on a community, and we are so grateful to partner with people like her.

The boys goofing around after a yummy dinner

The next day was an adventure filled day spent visiting several different pre schools and community centers in Paarl that have received PhytoBlend through the MCM ministry. Paarl is a poverty stricken agricultural town located 80 kilometers from Cape Town. Many residents here struggle with alcohol and drug abuse, leaving the children to live in a dangerous, vulnerable environment. MCM is a Christian charity located in Paarl whose purpose is to help all of those in need within their community in any way they can. They have extensive community health, nutrition and care centers all throughout the town that have already made a huge impact on the community. We were fortunate enough to visit three facilities, two pre schools and one specialty care center, where MCM has identified the need for vitamin supplementation for the children and have been providing PhytoBlend for the past three years.

The first school we visited was called Tiffany’s Pre School. We arrived just in time for lunch, when all of the children receive a hot meal, supplemented with PhytoBlend. The first thing we noticed about these children was how healthy and happy they appeared. The children were full of energy, laughing and playing with each other. We were able to spend some time with the children, playing hand-clapping games and taking photos and letting them play with our cameras. Many of the children at this school we recognized from pictures taken three years ago when PhytoBlend was first brought to the school. It is remarkable how much these children have grown in the last three years and how healthy they are now.

All of the children loved this hand-clapping game. The could not stop smiling and giggling!

A short drive away from Tiffanys, we visited a specialty care facility called the Bowy Progamme. This facility cares for children diagnosed with HIV and provides a hot breakfast, supplemented with PhytoBlend, to all of the children every morning. Like the children at Tiffany’s, these children were also incredibly smiley and inquisitive of us. The caregivers showed immense gratitude to receiving PhytoBlend, and spoke to the tremendous health improvements they attribute to the consistent intake of PhytoBlend.

The children and teacher singing a welcome song to Sinethemba Pre School!

The final pre school we visited was Sinethemba Pre School. We were greeted by a welcome song from one of the classes and preceded to have our own little private concert. These kids could sing!! It was so heartwarming to see the great joy, excitement and energy each of these children had. They were so happy and proud to be singing their songs, led by their teachers and we couldn’t help but notice the love the children and the teachers had for each other. Before leaving, the headmaster of the school, who goes by Agnes, took us aside and thanked us over and over for the PhytoBlend donation. She was so incredibly appreciative, and we are so incredibly appreciative for people like her that work with children every day to give them a chance and hope for the future.

The children loved putting on a concert for us. These kids are talented!!

Sarah with one of the teachers of Sinethemba Pre School and Aletia Grundling, the CEO of MCM

In addition to visiting these three facilities, we also visited the MCM Sports Field, which is a sports field located in the middle of the rough neighborhoods in Paarl, donated by MCM. This field provides a safe environment for all children of the neighborhood to come and play outside. As part of the after school programs run through this field, they also serve a hot meal, supplemented with PhytoBlend.

The remaining day in Cape Town was spent exploring the local markets and taking the cable car up Table Mountain. It was such a treat to be able to go up the mountain and see all of Cape Town and the surrounding areas.

The final event on our agenda was to visit the Mannatech office in Johannesburg for the shooting of a video recap of our South Africa trip (stay tuned for that!!) and to attend the Mannatech Johannesburg Super Regional event. Nearly double in size compared to the Cape Town event, the room was equally as energetic and once again Sarah shared our M5M story to a captivated audience. We are so thankful to have such a hardworking, big-hearted group of people that sell Mannatech products, which provide us with funding to purchase PhytoBlend.

Sarah speaking at the Mannatech Johannesburg Super Regional event. What a rockin’ crowd of over 1,000 people!

We were sad to leave South Africa. It was such a wonderful trip and so great to know that our work is truly making a difference in the lives of children so far from us in Coppell, TX.