June 9, 2004
The Strasser family of Martinez, Calif., will return to Africa this summer to continue their commitment to poverty relief in Third World countries. Thirteen-year-old Chloe, 2.5-year-old Alea, their parents Susan and Arden Strasser, and other parishioners of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Lafayette will travel to the continent to help AIDS orphans and conduct youth workshops on AIDS education and prevention in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Arden, a pastor at the church, will also teach African church leaders how to counsel HIV patients.
The visit is a return for the family: From the time Chloe was four until she was eight, her parents served as missionaries in Zimbabwe.
Susan, a nurse practitioner, will work on a prevention program targeting mother-to-child HIV transmission in Zimbabwe, supported by the Lafayette-based J.F. Kapnek Charitable Trust and the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health. She will promote safer infant feeding techniques and work to get South African HIV patients the government-provided drugs they need and make sure they take them.
"It's typical for people to walk half a day to the nearest hospital pushing wheelbarrows of people who are ill, as the families have no means of transportation," Susan said.
Church leaders at Our Savior Lutheran established the Hope for the Heart of Africa mission project, and the church foundation has committed $25,000 to it.
Chloe will share her African experiences on the mission project's Web site, www.HopeforAfrica.net.