No orphans in their family

A poor South African couple opened their home – and hearts – to the six children left behind when two relatives passed away.

By , Staff photographer of The Christian Science Monitor

Since I've been a photographer for this newspaper, I've had the privilege of meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things – this year in Bolivia, Chad, South Africa, Turkey, and any number of places in the United States.

But if I could pick my people of the year, I'd choose these two: Olga Thimbela and Pontsho Monamodi, a couple living in a tin shack outside Johannesburg, South Africa, with no running water or electricity and who can barely pay their bills. That didn't stop them from adding six children to their family when Olga's sister and aunt died after being diagnosed with AIDS.

Olga and Pontsho treat these children the same as their own two. They've become an inspiring family that takes its own bravery completely for granted. And I love how they love each other. They are my heroes.

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