Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monkey Orange

S'up? Alright? (To those other than the English, 'alright?' is a general greeting and doesn't mean I think there's something wrong with you)

It's about 5 weeks to go till I return to Blighty and about 7 since I arrived from Australia and I'll give you some highlights of the last few weeks.

Clermont Jumble Sale/Dress Up
By far the most hectic and potentially random events have been the township Jumble Sales where we take a bunch of donated clothes to either Clermont, Lamontville or Marionnhill, sort them roughly into piles of 'Mens', 'Womens' and 'Kids' and then allow chaos to ensue. At Lamontville the ladies are literally pressing themselves against the windows to get a good sneaky peeky at the potential bargains before the doors are opened and they run to the middle of the room and then spin around a couple of times before making a decision as to which table to go for. The Sunday School kids at Lamontville are really cool and were helping us out in exchange for first dibs on clothes at even more discounted prices and a couple were helping me with making up the prices and taking the money. It tended to be a bit haphazard as our pricing structure largely depended on sugar highs and lows from a secret stash of Fizzers. We weren't that hard to barter with, because as soon as any kind of disgruntled look came from the customer we would usually end up in reducing the price much to the interest to all the beady-eyed ladies next in line who then demanded the previous discounted price as there starting price. However, even this didn't stop some of them throwing clothes out of the window to waiting accomplices outside. We sent the Sunday School security to investigate and the guilty individuals are recovering well and should be discharged from hospital in the next few days. Clermont Jumble Sale wonderfully emerged from the chaos as a kids dress up party.

Dance sesh at Inanda Dam
I had the pleasure of being an honoured visitor on the Marionnhill and the volunteers girls outing to a sweet place called Inanda Dam. So, 2 Yanks, 7 Zulus & 1 Brit went trekking off into the forest to find wild Zebras and we succeeded! Very cool. The other guys also succeeded in finding a Monkey Orange and convincing me that they had all tried one and it was gorgeous, obviously it was disgusting. I had an inkling as I suspiciously eyed their cheeky faces so I only licked it which was enough to make me shudder and contort my face. They hooted at that! Then on our return to the car we had a great dance session in the car park and returned home.

I gave the Sunday talk at Marionnhill a couple of weeks back which is always interesting because you never quite know what is going on. I was asked to come up and speak and just before I get up there the president starts singing and everyone joins in and I have to sit down at the front until they finish. Meanwhile the president goes to sit down in the audience whilst he is singing and I wait until I'm definately sure no-one is going to start singing again and then do my talk. It was about the law of Cities of Refuge and I started by pretending I was banging in a nail, and slipping with the hammer, and killing a brother in the audience and then pretending to run to the next township. I finished and sat down thinking my work was done and then got a bit of a surprise when the president also asked me to pray for the wine!

Yesterday we had our monthly food parcel run which is where we deliver 2 tons of food in 200 bags to those who need it. We deliver to two places, the first being at Wyebank in a library car park and the second is to a HIV clinic in Clermont. Wyebank has gotten a bit of a 'mare recently as we've found out that our list doesn't match up with the lady who organises it so we always have more people there than food parcels to give out! The food is supposed to be for orphans and this time we decided to take a picture of each child with a number so we could then make sure the same people got a bag each month. This turned out to take quite a long time and at one point we told a girl that she had to go find her brother so they could both be in the picture and she replied "oh, he's with my mother"! Ah, so you're not an orphan then. We asked the next boy and it turned out he had parents too. Flip. Rethinking required.

An exciting project Katie & I are working on are filming people's life stories. We've experimented on Mary Wilondja who works at the BEC and is from the Congo. She was chatting for about an hour, no idea how we're gonna cut it down. We haven't actually looked at it on the 'puter yet, so we don't know how well it turned out what with the background noise particularly one guy who constantly shrieks "Banana, one rand, banana, banana, one rand" in a high nasally voice. It's almost worth buying them all just to shut him up and then I suppose I could start selling them for two rand and make a profit. Anyway, hopefully the video will show how amazing Mary's attitude is. She sees everything as God directing her to where she is now. She had to escape the Congo when the war broke out and her husband was the other side of town so they had to escape seperately and she had her two kids. She and her husband didn't know each other were alive for a year until she found him in Malawi, by which time he had been baptised as a Christadelphian. They then came to Durban but she stuck to her Roman Catholicism until she had a horrific accident in a mini-bus taxi where the whole thing caught on fire and everyone else died apart from her. If your lucky she hoiks up her dress to show you some impressive scars from the skin grafts (not in the video!). In hospital she started reading her Bible and started listening to her husband (she's pretty stubborn and had refused until then!) and then got baptised. Our next interview will hopefully be with Pierre who is from Rwanda who apparently had an equally fascinating story.

Mary Wilondja
God Bless,


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