The Bokamoso Youth Foundation Board has made the decision to cancel the Cultural Exchange and Performing Arts trip for 2021. This was a hard decision to come to; however, we feel it is in the best interests of the youth’s health and safety to forego the 2021 visit. It is difficult to know what the world status of COVID-19 will be in January/February of ‘21, but we felt it was important to make the decision with sufficient time to make alternative plans. We do not want to subject the youth to a 19 hour plan ride under what might well be tenuous COVID conditions; it is even more difficult to anticipate what air travel and visa conditions will be later this year; and even if the COVID conditions flatten out or lessen between now and December, the January time frame is normally the beginning of the flu season and may well signal another COVID surge. The Foundation has been in communication with St Andrews Episcopal School – normally where the youth spend much of their time, and the source of our host families; they have already made their decision to not host any exchange visits during the ‘20-‘21 school year.
Canceling the Exchange Program is going to be a disappointment to all of our partners, and, in particular, to the Bokamoso Youth. This decision will also pose significant challenges for fundraising for the Centre, which depends, in significant measure, on the ticketed events and performances during the exchange visit. The Foundation plans to recast both the fundraising and cultural exchange aspects of the program. As we are all now acutely aware, social interaction through technology is the new normal. We will explore, with the Centre, how technology might be used to support a virtual cultural exchange as well as fundraising events. We invite and would, of course, welcome your thoughts, insights, and ideas on all these matters. Contact Connie Sullivan.