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Photo by Brian Hansel Tate Kelderman had an opportunity to shoot pictures of giraffe and other wild animals on a trip to South Africa.

Wadena teen brings back trophies from Africa

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Wadena,Minnesota 56482
Wadena PJ
Wadena teen brings back trophies from Africa
Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson 56482

Tate Kelderman's trophies from Africa are on display at Tri-County Hospital.

When the Wadena sophomore had a chance to accompany his mother Kandi's cousin, Chad Cleveringa, on a buying trip to Africa in the summer of 2007, he was up for the adventure despite the shots and pills he had to face. It was at the last minute that his mom handed him an Olympus digital camera.

The camera would become Tate's most trusted friend as he photographed African people, animals and countryside during a two-week trip through South Africa. An exhibit of his work now hangs at TCH as part of the Healing Arts program.

Kelderman's party visited Cato Ridge, a small town 30 minutes north of Durban, South Africa. Cato Ridge is the home of God's Golden Acre, a non-profit charity that cares for children orphaned and abandoned because of HIV/AIDS-related illness and violence.

"Over there they don't have much to live with," Kelderman said. "I realized how good I have it."

Despite the fact that many of the children Kelderman saw carried the AIDS virus, he saw in them an intense curiosity and a buoyant spirit.

"The kids were always happy," Kelderman said.

The kids were cared for by housemothers called "Go-Gos." Kids were grouped by ages giving the orphanage a family-type atmosphere.

The African children played with sticks, a built-in trampoline and a jungle gym. Kelderman noted that they were fascinated by technology and enjoyed looking at his camera.

Kelderman's party, which included two high school students, two college students and four adults, also visited a wildlife preserve and hospital where he saw cheetahs, leopards and giraffes being cared for. Kelderman also saw Africa's "Big Five" on the trip -- the elephant, cape buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino.

The African adventure is unlikely to be the last for Kelderman, who intends to pursue his interest in