PORTSMOUTH — Ten years after a serendipitous encounter while on vacation in South Africa, a Portsmouth woman is still making good on her promise to invest in education there.

Martha Cummings, who had long dreamed of visiting Africa, finally made it happen for her 50th birthday. While on a safari in the Addo Elephant National Park, she met one of the game lodge’s waiters, Moses Nqontsha, who agreed to take her on a tour of his township, Nomathamsanqa.

Bearing witness to the grim living conditions left an indelible mark on Cummings. “I always say there’s no reason there should be an impoverished location 10 minutes south of the fourth-most visited park on the continent of Africa,” she said.

Three years after that fateful trip, Cummings, who

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