What a whirlwind our time has been since we arrived in South Africa.
The first order of business was to get acquainted with South Africa again. South Africa has so many unique characteristics and challenges, but the rewards are high. We have found the African people really have a yearning for God. They are very willing to engage you in religious discussion, which I must admit is a welcome change.
There is so much need here whether it be spiritual , medical, housing , employment, or whatever it may be.
We as westerners have the ability to effect so much change, and to help on so many levels here in Africa.
Let me give a brief description of what we have been up to over the last month or so.
We have made contact with the majority of the current ongoing projects that are taking place locally here in KZN. That includes Marianhill, Lamontville, Claremont, Happy’s orphanage, and the Indwedwe project.
Rene is currently running cuddle courses at Marianhill and will soon be running one in Lamontville. We are hoping with Gods help to create a self sustainable education environment through the formation of relationships and friendship.
We are in the process of streamlining our infrastructure to make our building projects more efficient. We are in the process of getting very needed storage facility as our old storage facility has now been converted into a youth room . The tools are in a slight state of flux but that will improve with time.
Putting the kids to work!
We are building a much needed retaining wall in Marianhill. After each rainfall the bank has been collapsing much to the consternation of the neighboring property owner. We are retaining the bank and improving the drainage to try keeping the water from running down the bank. There are basic maintenance issues to be done at all the outreach projects which will be ongoing.
Education is a key issue in South Africa and tied in with the Crèche courses we are teaching will be the help we can provide the teachers to enable there locations to be safe environments for the kids. We have targeted a few young ladies who seem to be good candidates. As we carry on with the cuddle courses, this list will grow. We are compiling a database of needs that God willing as we acquire volunteers these needs can be met efficiently. - Grant
We were in Ndwedwe this last weekend and stayed over for 2 nights! It was sleeping on the floor, making cooking fires and no running water, electricity or toilets (there was a longdrop though). It was an amazing experience. Thank you Jabu for inviting us to share in your wonderful place!
The people are very receptive to the gospel and also very keen on allowing us to come in and assist them to create a self-sustaining environment that they can grow and expand themselves with the occasional help from us.
We are writing up a plan to help Jabu and Santhla who are very enthusiastic and will be great leaders in their community. Jabu has already established herself as a great asset with the local people and feed orphans weekly from her property. She has established a network of ladies that have absorbed these orphans into their homes and then come and feed them from on her property for a nightly nutritional meal.
The local leadership is 100% behind her and we have seen some locals coming to volunteer their time and labor in whatever capacity she would need them.
The local constable has volunteered the use of electricity behind his store just down the road from Jabu's property for us to come and do an event there one weekend.
We feel that God has got great plans for the people in this past "war zone" and want to establish it as an area of great hope and peace.
Grant is hoping to employ Sandla for the retaining wall project in Marianhill that will also allow him to attend the woodworking class and gain some much needed employment skills.
CUDDLE – Marianhill
We have started a new series of the CUDDLE course at the Marianhill Good News Center. At the first class three new ladies came to take the course. Despite having no electricity, we managed to work our way through!
At the second class seven new ladies arrived to my surprise and we had a class filled with laughter and got out hands “dirty” by making “playdough” and other recourses from waste materials and magazines. The ladies enjoyed this practical aspect and it sparked a lot of conversation about their individual circumstances. I will be running a “make-up” class for the newcomers in the weeks to come and I am hoping to organize a financial planning course next
I have met with the local health inspector for Marianhill and she was very helpful and enthusiastic about our involvement in the community. I am sure that it is the beginning of a very beneficial relationship that will have long lasting effects. - Rene