Avianna’s Interview

“Good evening and welcome to Insight Weekly. I’m your host, Bill Whitaker. This evening, I have a very special guest here with me. She recently won a humanitarian award for her work in Africa. She has appeared on numerous television shows, including CNN and BBC and in several magazines. She recently made TIME’s list of person of the year. Please join me in welcoming Avianna Klein. Mrs. Klein, thank you for being on the show.”

“Thank you for having me, Bill.”

“Tell us a little bit about yourself.”

“My name is Avianna Klein and I’m South African. I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa to Graham and Patricia Rainger. I’m the third of five children. My father was Magistrate and my mother was a homemaker. I attended the University of the Witwatersrand where I studied Human and Community Development. Years later, I met my husband, Dr. Maximilian Klein when I took my mother to the private hospital where he was working. He did such a good job taking care of her that she became his patient and then, his mother-in-law.”

“Your husband is German.”

“Yes, he is. He’s from Heidelberg. He took me there a couple of years after we got married. It’s one of the few German cities which, thankfully, wasn’t destroyed in World War II. It’s one of the most picturesque cities in Germany. I loved it. Maximilian attended the The Heidelberg University School of Medicine.”

“Would you say that you are both in the business of helping people?”

“Yes, we are. He takes care of their physical health and I take care of their physical needs.”

“You are the founder and CEO of FACES Africa.”

“Yes.”

“What motivated you to start the FACES and what’s behind the name?”

“I got tired of people seeing Africans as faceless faces. Each African man, woman and child has a face and each face has a story to tell. I wanted to see those faces filled with hope–hope for a brighter and better future. FACES are the faces of poverty, struggle, oppression, inequality, discrimination, etc. FACES is about facing, confronting and dealing with these obstacles which have prevented so many people from reaching their potential or from having the quality of life which they have a right to enjoy. And as a Christian I live by the motto, love your neighbor as yourself. I want the people living in these communities to have the same breaks and opportunities I have had. FACES is basically at the heart of who I am.”

“Tell us about FACES. How is it making a difference in the lives of those you want to help?”

“We provide for basic needs such as food and clothing to the neediest households in the community; help to develop skills and education through mentor-ship programs and life skills courses and run community development programs focusing on other areas beside finances alone. We also focus on helping women, young women and girls and run outreaches day programs which people can volunteer for. I have recently started an undergraduate sponsorship program for African students.”

“Tell us a little more about the sponsorship program.”

“It’s for girls who want to study at home or abroad but their families cannot afford the expenses. We have people in England, other parts of Europe, America and Canada who want to help. Some of them offer to be host families for the students studying abroad.”

“How does your husband feel about the work you’re doing in Africa?”

“He’s very supportive. In fact, he’s sponsoring a student from Soweto who will be studying at the University of London.”

“You mentioned that he worked at a private hospital in Johannesburg. I understand that he was offered the position of personal physician to the Duke of Ruthorham and his family.”

“Yes, he was.”

“Can you share that story with our viewers?”

“Well, it happened when Maximilian and I were in Johannesburg. I was there visiting the hospital where he worked when the Duke of Ruthorham’s oldest son was brought in. Apparently, he had gotten hurt in a shooting accident. He was critical and it was touch and go for a while but Maximilian was able to bring him back from the brink of death. The Duke himself came to the hospital to personally thank the doctor who saved his son’s life. He invited us to have tea with him and the Duchess at the private residence where they were staying. It was then that the Duke mentioned that their family doctor was soon retiring and he asked Maximilian if he would take the position. Maximilian asked for time to think about it. He and I discussed it at great length. Maximilian loved working at the private hospital where he had been for fifteen years but he missed London. After much thought and prayer, he decided that he would leave his job at the hospital and we will be moving to London at the end of summer. Once we have settled into our new home and lives, we will take occasional trips to Johannesburg to visit the hospital and FACES.”

“I’m sorry to bring up a very painful subject for you, Mrs. Klein. You and your husband recently lost your daughter, Ruth.”

“Yes. She was my only child and from a previous marriage. Her father died when she was five. It was hard for her not having him around. They were very close. For a long time, it was just the two of us and then, I met Max. He loved her like she was his own although he wasn’t even old enough to be her father. She was a beautiful soul, full of life and love. She was the kindest and sweetest person I have ever known. She loved people. She loved helping them. She loved being a part of FACES.”

“What happened to Ruth?”

“She was in Pretoria to visit a homeless teen whom she wanted to help when she was shot and killed in an attempted carjacking. She was only twenty. It was the worst moment in our lives. We flew down to Pretoria and brought her body back for the funeral and burial.”

“You started a scholarship fund in her name.”

“Yes. I did. It was our way of keeping her memory alive.”

“Mrs. Klein, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview.”

“You’re welcome.”

“And we’re clear.”

The reporter shook Mrs. Klein’s hand. “Thank you again, Mrs. Klein.”

“I hope I did well,” she said, smiling.

“You were terrific. I’m sorry that I had to mention your daughter.”

“I’m not sorry that you did. I’m always grateful to talk about Ruth. Talking about her keeps her alive.”

“When we air the interview, if you like, we can have the information on the screen for people who are interested in contributing to the fund or in sponsoring a student.”

“That would be wonderful. Thank you.”

They shook hands and then, he and the crew left. After they were gone, she sat down on the sofa, relieved that the interview was over but thankful that she had done it.

Posted for February 2021 Writing Prompts – #18 – Faceless faces; # – The heart of who I am

Source: Impophomo; Advance Africa; News24; Trip Savvy; Business Name Generator

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