Monday, April 1, 2013
We stopped for a coffee the other day and were served by a heavily pregnant women, we got chatting to her and found out she had 2 little boys with the next bubs due in less then a month. I asked her why she still working and she replied that she needed the money. After she left to get our bill Glenn and looked at each other thinking the same thing and thought we’d do something crazy and give her a big tip. We worked out that $10 Australian dollars is almost R100 and form what we’ve worked out the average days wage here is about R120. So when she came back we firstly checked how the tips work here and she said that if we give her a tip, it’s hers. They don’t pool the tips, each waiter gets their own. So with that Glenn handed her the money, she had to double take and then she started crying. It’s pretty amazing to give something that seems so simple to you and yet means so much to someone else. She gave me a massive hug and told us we’d made her day. It was pretty amazing. 🙂
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Just before we left for our holiday I received a parcel I had been waiting for. About a month ago I was reading a “Sower” magazine at the hall and saw an article on these books call “My First Bible Do and Learn Book” The article explained how ‘The Bible Society’ in South Africa had designed these new Bible based English books especially for under privileged kids as statistics had shown a huge amount of Black children could not read or write by the age of 10 and that in a very religious society many schools were not teaching children about God so they designed this book specifically for these kids. I thought the books sounded awesome and perfect for the younger kids at Lorraine’s School where we’re teaching as many of her children struggle to read and write even in year 9! So I emailed the Bible Society and explained who I was and what I was doing in South Africa and if it was possible to get hold of these books. She replied with not only was it possible but because i was a volunteer worker helping at a poor school they would donate the books delivery and all!! So just before I left for holidays my 46 books arrived. So this morning I headed of to Lorraine’s School for an 8am start for my new Wednesday morning teaching session.
With my new books in hand I started my teaching in the living room of Lorraine’s house (her School) with 46 students from Grade R (prep) to Grade 3. I had plans of doing a little PE with them too but today was a very cold very wet day so that idea went out the window so i thought I’d start with a bible story of Adam and Eve and i have to say, the kids were captivated. I then got them to draw a picture of anything they wanted to draw from the story, a snake, apple, Adam, eve, a tree? Withing a couple of minutes, a grade-3 boy asked “How do I draw a tree?” while a boy a couple of seats away had drawn a very intricate tree; as always I saw the amazing difference of people here. It always shocks and amazes me the extremes, one child will speak very fluent English and the next will know little if any and struggle to read etc. And yet the same age, possibly the same suburb etc.
After our Bible story, we began our new workbook. They were very excited. The book even has a teaching aid to explain how to use the book and teach the class, it’s genius. So off I went teaching the kids the letter I and the comprehension of I being “I” so with lots of drawing the letter ‘I’ in the air and filling in their books, yet again I stopped here and there for different children who couldn’t even grasp the concept of tracing over the dotted lines that made up the letter “I” .
It was moments like that, that made me feel like I’m meant to be here. THIS is why I’m here, the children look at me wanting help, the owner of the school looks at me the same way, she says “Please, whatever you can do, I just need the help”. With the lesson done I decided to sing a few songs, the children were SO excited. They sung their hearts out and laughed even Lorraine couldn’t stop smiling; as I left, I could hear Lorraine getting the children to continue singing. It was a really uplifting moment which was exactly what I needed.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
This morning was finally the day for my garden girls to plant their new veges!! I was very excited and we headed off this morning only to forget half of my seedlings and have to around and head home to get them.
We got to the hall (creche) to drop Max and Huddy off to be asked by Fezy if we could drop her and her daughter off at the Doctors as Snqobi have cut her foot opened the day before. I asked who was helping Cecilia run the creche and Fezy said her sister was meant to be there to help. Unfortunately, neither Cecelia or Fezy’s sister speak very much English so we changed our plans, got Max and Huddy back in the car with Fezy and Snqobi and headed back to Fezy’s house where she told her sister to hurry to the creche to help, then we dropped Fezy at the Dr’s and headed to the school. By this time we were a good 40 mins late so we got straight into it. My girls were excited it was time to plant, so after a few little tips on handling the seedlings the girls were underway. As always I quizzed them on which seedling was what and gave them the choice of planting what they wanted out of beetroot, spring onions, baby peppers and lettuce. I had bought strawberry plants but since they creep I chose every second tire to get one — which was accepted very well by the girls who got them 🙂
Saturday, May 11, 2013
I was able to go home to Australia for 2 1/2 weeks. After being back home I’m struggling to get my head back in the game.
I had such a perfect time being home with family and being spoilt by amazing friends. The first week was just a blur catches up and wedding talk. Going to Steve and Courtney’s wedding rehearsal was a taste of what was to come for their big day. It was awesome being home and just doing day to day things. Going to playgrounds with the kids, coffee and chats, shopping and spending time with friends and family. Ollie went back to school so happy to be ack in a familiar setting. Megan helped me try and re-do my presentation but it didn’t quite work out with all the changes but was still able to show it at Blackburn on the final Sunday to give people a little idea of what we do here.
But eventually the time came to an end and now I’m “home”. And I feel flat. Really flat. It’s like my first week here all over again. It seems crazy cause I have a home here and I knew this time what I was coming too but it has still hit me like a tone of bricks. Within minutes of getting of getting in the car Glenn told me Fezy wanted to see me first thing in the morning to discuss the crèche course. I just felt instantly…. I don’t even know what I felt, not ready, exhausted, I know it’s always nice to feel needed, don’t get me wrong, I love to feel needed, friends wanting to chat to me, Cath wanting me to out Ikea furniture together for her 🙂 but it’s different here, I’m needed in a whole different way, I want to do mission work, and I love that part of it but its the need to help people with things that they really shouldn’t need help with
Then there’s the other emotions, being back in this country which I love for its relaxed attitude and beauty, I love that there’s not the judgment like back home, I’m not given filthy looks when my kids are mucking up at the shops, I can go into any creamy and have the opportunity to teach Gods word. But then there’s the other side.
In the last week we found out that a local lady who helps supply our crèche with things, has a son who she recently asked Glenn if he could take him under his wing to give try and teach him a better way of life. The young guy was out with his friends and was stabbed to death in Margate a few days ago. Bongi, our interested friend who has been helping clean our house while I’ve been away and who we are trying to find a better place for her to live, was beaten on her way home last week. She was walking home with her groceries and a man tried take them; when she tried to hold on to her food, he pulled out a knife. She sat at my dinner table last night still with her black eye and looking shaken still, telling me how she was just glad she was alive: she had twisted his hand and made him drop the knife but he had grabbed her head, forced her to the ground and beaten her repeatedly.
They found the knife and the mobile phone the next morning about a metre away from where she was beaten. She is now too afraid to go home. What do I do with that!?!? We’re trying to find her a new place but its not that easy! There’s so much to be fixed here and so much I want to do to help that it just gets overwhelming and I can’t think straight and I’m exhausted already! I just can’t get my head in the game. I miss my family and friends desperately and just want to talk to them and have them tell me what to do, I don’t know what to do….cry….that’s what I’m doing…. Just crying, it’s all I can do.
I need to get my head back in the game and I’m praying that God will give me the strength to get back on my feet but right now I’m just completely out of my depth. I just need time but everyone’s waiting for me, needing me, wanting me to help, show or fix something…… I’m ready to be back here and I know it’ll get better. I got a letter from a young girl at Kingdom Youth last night that read – ” Dear Sister, thanks for everything you’ve done for us, thank u for loving us, as we were loving you thank u thanks for everything you’ve done for us thank you for loving us as we were loving u thank u.
I feel dreadful just feeling like this when i KNOW God has given me this amazing opportunity. I know I will look back on this year as a blessing, I may even look back in a week and realise this but just for today I cant.
I will never stop saying this, it’s just a roller coaster of emotions here.
Friday, May 17, 2013
With the realisation that we only really have about 7 more months left to make a difference here, and sometimes the day to day things can leave us feeling like a standard 9 – 5 job and it’s also hard on the kids who must, sit, stay and be quiet during a lot of what we do, so after a good deep and meaningful with Glenn we decided it needs to change. We are both “doers” and love to be kept busy especially building and being outdoors and we both like to “see” a difference. As even though we both know what we are doing is affecting people it’s hard to “see” the effects you have and after almost 4 months it was time to do something. We both agree that we have fallen in love with Lorraine’s school where we both work. The school Lorraines has created for these kids, and what she has be able to do with the situation she is in, as far as classrooms in her living room and friends garages. She gets by with little to no help and yet is always smiling and encouraging her students, who themselves are just amazing kids, full of spirit and eager to learn.
We decided if there was one project we could really dig our heals into it would be there. So that’s where we started. first thing was their serious lack of sports equipment. We were at the school one day when Lorraine proudly showed us a soccer ball that she told us “I bought a ball so we can have sports day!” I was happy for her but seriously! So we went out and bought a ball bag, a few soccer balls, a netball (The older girls LOVE playing netball) and some witches hats) it was so awesome seeing the look on the kids faces when we showed them the gift we had for them. As for Lorraine, there is a sound/word they use here when they’re shocked, embarrassed, surprised etc, I could attempt to spell it…. “Yooh” let’s just say she said it MANY times over.
Next on the list was the schools serious lack of a play…..anything!!! The kids sit around on the grass or run around kicking empty bottles around the yard and they’re actually perfectly happy with that but for me as a Mum, and Glenn as a builder we just needed to do something. So within 5 minutes we decided, a playground, it’s what we came here wanting to do, it’s what will make us feel better, make us feel us we’re making a difference, and though many people may think what we’re doing here is exactly that it’s just what WE need to do, and people have told us from the beginning we would bring our own thing to this experience, we would bring our own talents to help COPT and Margate, and well…
this is one of them and we were excited to finally see that!
So yesterday morning, we arrived at the school with truck right behind delivering the first of the timber. And over the last 2 days we have built a vege patch that my “garden girls” will help me plant out over the coming weeks. A swing set that has 2 out of the 4 swings all finished, a tyre climbing frame, and some half dug tyres as stepping stones and edging, all built from scratch, and all beautifully painted by us all (Glenn, Fezy, Bongi, my 3 little men and many students) while many of the younger children peered from out windows and around corners trying to for out what was going on. 🙂
It was just awesome feeling the excitement as the older students were desperate to help Dig, hold, bolt and paint anything they could, we levelled out the yard with soil, painted rocks, and whipper snipped too just to neaten the yard up as previously, holes, rubbish and overgrown plants (encouraging snakes) had restricted the students from even going in the back area of Lorraine’s yard!! And even though we are not done yet, the clean cut grass, and colorful playground make it a stark contrast to what it was 8am yesterday morning.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Last week, while beginning the playground Glenn and I had planned to also include a fort for the children with a slide etc. but as the day went on Lorraine has approached me with the idea to build an extra classroom. At the time I thought this was a big task and quite overwhelming to be given the request — but the more we thought about it, the more it made sense. We had already built a climbing frame, tyre steps and a swing set of 4 swings, there was so much already and although the fort would be another added bonus we had made a playground already from what was just bare land. The other thing of course was that Lorraine currently has 20 children in one half of her living room and another 15 sitting in the kitchen area. Before the school had grown, Lorraine would cook lunches for the children with fresh veges from the garden but over time with the increase of children (which, bless her heart, she will never turn any away!), she now has no time for her vege patch which is non existent and has no available room in her kitchen to cook 🙁 So with all this, we realised that the simplest room (that could offer her school a spare room), would in turn free up her kitchen. And with the vege patch starting, would allow her to cook again and give the children healthy energy filled lunches! So it was a no brainer. So the work began…