International FASDAY in South Africa


Hello Everyone,

We hope your Int FAS Day was as successful as ours!  We woke up to an overcast Spring Day (as we have done since 1999) but the rain held off until everyone was sitting down at the breakFAS and then cleared away when everyone left!  There were very few of the invited 100 guests that didn't turn up, which was pretty good for laid back Cape Town!  The speakers were all very well received and all had interesting and informed content.  The food was great, the venue beautiful with a view out over the golf course.  Every guest received a FAS Knot with silver bell, a scroll containing the programme and a poem which the author read to us all.  Tisha was an absolute star and a charming hostess!  One of the paediatricians said to me, "You have brought her up so beautifully, you should have brought the REAL FAS child." I thought this was such a lovely, funny thing to say!!  There was a lot of media present from radio, TV and several newspapers.  We have had a photographer here this afternoon and at the weekend a TV crew making a documentary will be coming to film (better tidy and dust!!).  There have been other events around the country, which as soon as I can, I will report back on.  There has been a poster competition and some schools have been given FAS rulers and also a video has been made.  Things are certainly happening.

Our programme was as follows:

08:00 - 08:45    Registration and breakFASt - cold buffet
08:45 - 09:00    "Welcome" - Leana Olivier
                        Deputy Director:  Maternal, Child and Women's Health
                        Department of Health:  Western Cape Province
09:00 - 09:15    "Bells explained and Ringing" - Peter & Tisha Lourens
09:15 - 09:30    "Medical Background" - Dr Nat Khaole
                        Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR)
09:30 - 09:40    "Thanks" - Debbie Price
                        Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR)
09:40 - 10:30    breakFASt - hot buffet

The poem that was read out:

A tie of FAS we share
A tie that binds both mom and babe
A tie that makes life sustainable
A tie that establishes the bond of love and hope

This knot of hope we bring to you
this knot of FAS in union we share
To break this knot of destruction and despair

Cheer up and know help is out there
There is life and light in abundance
If we learn to care for our unborn child.

Tisha was asked to ring the bell for the TV and poor thing had to ring a
school bell for about 10 minutes! Her arms must have been tired!
At this moment she is playing a game all by herself, - "Welcome to the
breakFAS. Thank you for coming." and this is being repeated over and over
again! She is so cute!!!

567 Cape Talk Radio interviewed me over the phone and broadcast it during
the 5 pm drivetime news. They are repeating it tomorrow.
A friend in Durban, who is a teacher, had a novel idea. All the teachers set
their cellphone alarms to go off at 9:09 in the reception area. The children
in her class were asked to make as much noise as possible at 9:09.


Vivien and Peter Lourens

Cape Town, South Africa