Our Saturday didn’t start as planned. I arrived at Barry & Wendith’s home at 9.30am in readiness for our trip to Inanda and Effingham, where we had three groups of Zulu people to catch up with during the course of the day. But my greeting with Barry was a bit distant which was caused by his agitation of a problem that had come up that he was trying to deal with. Barry is an amazingly spiritual, enthusiastic, passionate and sensitive man … but it was the last of these qualities on this day that was the most profound … he was a “man” !!! and as a “man” he could only do one thing at a time. There was no multi-tasking going on here ….. the problem was at the forefront of his mind, and my arrival only caused him to be distracted from the problem at hand.
Barry, Wendith and I talked and shared thoughts about the problem for over an hour with very little resolution before Barry and I had to leave, now late for our first meeting. The air was dull and gloomy as we left Barry’s home late that morning and there were two additional errands that Barry needed to make along the way. The first was to pick up some basic food items to give to Lithle & Rosie and their family. Lithle & Rosie are a Zulu husband and wife with a young son who live in a very poor township area north western Durban called ????? They are so poor, they can not even afford transport to go to church each Sunday ….. but this does not mean that they don’t have time to worship each week. Lithle and Rosie are special. They have a bright and positive attitude to everything in life. If they cannot go to church each week … they bring the church to there humble little home each week, and not just once a week, but two and three times a week, depending on work. So Barry and I have made this area one of our priority projects for the year.
At the supermarket, Barry chose some fresh vegetables for them like butternut pumpkin, potatoes and onions as well as packets of rice and maize to help them along a little bit. We then also purchased a cooked chicken, some salad and six bread buns to share lunch between the five of us, before making our way toward the township home. By the time we had finished the shopping we were feeling a lot happier and the thought of sharing time and a meal with Lithle and Rosie made us excited. The gloomy overcast start to our day had now evaporated and the skies of our hearts and minds were clearing as we were now chatting excitedly about the prospects of our day ahead …… but nothing we thought or talked about prepared us for what God had in store for us this day !!!
Our first challenge was to find our way to their home. We had driven Lithle and Rosie home the previous Sunday after the church had paid their taxi fare to come to Church that day. But now the challenge was to try and remember the route that we had taken. There were all sorts of identifying signs that we had marked in our memories, but the test was were they still there …… in our memories that is !!!
After leaving the N2 North Freeway, we started trying to remember where our first turn was when all of a sudden on the horizon was a KFC store ….. That’s it we both shouted, and then we saw the live chickens in their cages on the street corner as well … turn left !!! Hmmmm now where is that next turn ??? I think it is on the right going up the hill Barry commented …. Hmmmmm … that doesn’t look right !!! Down the other side of the hill we go … that bridge looks vaguely familiar ….. the name of the road on the right was Somlandela Drive that’s it I yell …… it sounds like Mandela but it’s Somlandela. We turn right hesitantly and continue our drive ….. hopefully a school will appear soon on our right … and there it is ….. “sweet”, we are nearly there ….. Down a 300 mt+ long concrete track we park the car in the grass and in no time at all we are walking through three neighbours properties, through their clothes lines, their yards and onto Lithle and Rosie’s little property with their very humble home ……
Their greeting to us is overwhelming ….. Lithle’s beaming smile said it all and Rosie’s shriek of delight upon seeing us was priceless. With hugs all round and beaming smiles and non-stop chatter all at once we all had to stop and catch our breath’s ….. it was like four long time friends seeing each other for the first time in many years ….. yet it had only been a week !!! There were 5 or six children around which we were to quickly learn were Rosie’s Sunday School group.
We settled into their family / dining / bedroom where the 8-9 of us started a Bible reading and study discussion. The children were amazingly attentive and involved in the discussion while Rosie could not contain her delight when she learnt something new from our study. Numerous times she broke out into joyful shouts of “I love this” and “this is amazing” as she giggled away at her new found understanding …..
Over the next 2 hours neighbours, friends young people as well Rosie’s sister arrived and found some space on the floor, on the bed, or on a little bench to here the words of God from the Bible ….. We had been unaware that when we arrived, Rosie had rang her sister and friends and ran to her neighbours and asked them to join us for a Bible study ….. By the time our class was coming to an end, we had over 28 people crammed into their humble little home.
We stopped for lunch before having a memorial meeting with Lithle and Rosie. With only a single cooked chicken, some salad and six bread buns for the lunch meal the scene was reminiscent of the feeding of the five thousand. We were able to quickly send some of the children of the buy some more bread and then proceeded to break the chicken and the salad into about 30 portions each before we all shared the meal together …….
I can’t adequately describe the feelings and the emotions of this day with these beautiful, caring and self sacrificing people. They have very little and nothing by our western standards, yet they offer and give freely what little they have. Their faith and belief in the things of God is unshakable despite their trials and difficulties ….
I try to remember a day like this, but nothing comes close …..
Today I found a faith in a Zulu Township that truly inspired me ……
I have my Bible heroes …… today I found two more !!!