At the beginning of the month, we found out we had been approved funds to build the new creche room! At the Margate Good News centre the creche runs inside the hall and it has been hard on the members to constantly be packing and unpacking a creche room to allow for all the other projects (Kingdom Youth, Sunday School, meeting, choir, etc) to run out of the one hall. With an excellent veranda area outside it was decided to enclose it and make that the new creche room.
Initially it was to be just a room with windows and door but this wasn’t good enough for me. I needed storage! I figured if we could utilise the space well then we could empty what was once the Ecclesia’s cry room (now an over spill of storage from the already maxed out storage room for the creche) and free up the halls rooms. So we designed and thought out a way for maximising storage.
A week into the building, we came to the realisation that this creche room was not really doing a whole lot but making another room. The creche would still need to use the hall toilets, the hall kitchen and in so doing where we just building another room and would that be making that big of a difference? That’s when we had our God moment. Rick and Sonya announced at the COPT meeting that they had been given funds from America to go to “A good cause” — it was decided that the Margate Creche Project was just that. The best part was it was the exact amount we needed to fit out the new creche room with a small kitchenette and Toilets!! And so we began to finish of our creche room!
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Today I was able to do something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile.
The children in our crèche come for a very poor area called Masinenge which is a shanty town about a suburb away from our hall. The place is basically made out of hundreds of houses built from scraps of timber, wood old signs and anything else that can keep them sheltered. I had heard about it and know many of our crèche kids come from there — but I have never actually been there and it’s something I’ve really wanted to do. Plus, the children are bought to the crèche via a Ute and taken home the same way so we never get to meet the parents and with everything we a doing with the crèche I felt it was really i important to have a personal relationship wit them. So today was the day.
We waited till crèche finished and the Ute to take the Masinenge kids home arrived. We followed him to the suburb and we pulled up it was as I had expected. We drove into the main area and with that the driver stopped and let the kids out. Apparently they find their own way from there. We sat in the car taking in the place that we were in, not sure if we would be welcomed or not when suddenly the back door was opened and a young lady started greeting the children. To say my stomach did a backflip was an understatement. Thank goodness Fezy was quick to come over introduce us to her. She used to volunteer at the crèche! First crisis averted. We quickly realised we would have to get out of the car and take a walk.
The place smelt of rubbish and fire; it was amazing how quickly you got used to it. Rubbish and rubbish piles were everywhere. The homes looked like they could blow over in a strong wind. People peered at us from their windows and front doors. As usual, Max thought his place was amazing and for a complete flip so did Hudson!! The 2 of them took off with the crèche kids and some other children who had joined our walk and raced ahead on the dirt track. Glenn and I took off after them coming around a corner to find all the kids with sticks pointing and yelling. A dead snake!!!! Yep, just as you can imagine, kids with no shirts, NONE with shoes, grubby-faced and grabbing sticks to pick up the snake with them. Not to be outdone, Max was right in the thick of it.
Thankfully, we eventually got the kids distracted and headed to the first child’s home. (By now we had picked up about 10 children on our walk). The mother seemed happy to see us and we were able to take a photo of mother and daughter, with plan to put it up in the crèche. We showed her pictures of what we were doing at the crèche, with the new room we were building and invited her to come and have a look. And so began our afternoon of winding around corners and thru little dirt tracks between a homes, under make-shift clothes lines and over broken fencing, to get from one house to the next, all the while accumulating more and more children and finding it harder and harder to hang onto our own.
Every corner Max would head a different way, or go further than we were walking; Glenn and I constantly had to run to keep them close, both being very aware that there would be people here who would not only know about us, but would welcome us, and then those that would not. By now, we were getting smiles and “Sawubona” (hello’s) and waves — but there were still those who would just stare with less-than-impressed looks.
Each house had another thing that would amaze me; e.g., the conditions of the house itself, or how clean and neat they managed to keep this half-falling-apart homes. One house had a small bird cage which housed a chook and about 8 half grown chickens!! They could barely move and just cheered away. And even then, I am happily invited in to show Hudson the chickens, and the house to us, amongst a hundred others, complete strangers. It is just to hard to comprehend and yet here I was.
Every corner we came around found more smiling kids carrying broken balls, a car with no wheels, a ride on go-kart with no steering wheel, whatever was still not completely broken was perfect! It made me see why they love the cars with even one wheel at crèche! And as many little boys stopped in their tracks and …, it also explained why out toilets at the hall always look the way the do 🙂 Even as I walked around, being constantly aware of what was going around me, I still couldn’t get my head around the fact that I was in such a place. Such extremes!!! As shocking as the living conditions were, the children were happy, the adults, standing around chatting and laughing, it was just unbelievable. So far from anything I have ever experienced. We finally made our way back to our car as the many many many children now ran around us, our final stop was a little fruit/vege store which again, amazingly had the freshest fruit!! So I bought a few tomatoes and some apples and said “Siyabonga” (thank you) and got in the car.
As soon as my headache set in, I realised how tense I had obviously been — though I had enjoyed myself and loved being amazed by this different place, having 3 children to watch and protect as well as myself and Glenn and vice versa, I had clearly been on alert. As Glenn said “it was one those times, you just couldn’t let your guard down, being constantly aware of everything in front, beside, and behind you” but it was still truly amazing. We will go back again. It has truly opened my eyes more so (than anything here in South Africa so far) as to just how far this world here is from home!
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Today was the end of a VERY busy month but it was all well worth it, as we were finally able to open the new creche. The last couple of days have been a blur or Glenn and I rushing between hardware stores and other stores, getting last minute things in preparation.
Yesterday afternoon began the “Spring Cleaning”. What was once a store room and Cry room at the hall had turned into 2 very cluttered storage rooms. So the first job was to get the Cry room back to Cry room. So slowly but surely, every box, carton and file was pulled out and sorted through. Next onto the storage room: slowly moving creche things into the new creche; and then the kitchen, same thing, sorting thru what belonged to the ecclesia and what belonged to the creche. And then finally the BEC, which had slowly been overtaken with tools.
This morning it was ‘all hands on deck’ as the Ecclesial members arrived to help wipe, scrub, clean and sort thru everything. It was so nice having all everyone come together to help out and get involved; it was a great feeling of unity.
The next awesome thing was the 6 parents that arrived from Maseninge. I had hoped they would come but had not expected them, as Fezy told me it is rare for them to come. So it was really exciting to see them arrive with kids in tow. A little later 2 more parents showed up. There was a buzz of excitement as they all looked thru the new creche room. Then we had the chance to sit down and have a parent / teacher meeting.
It was wonderful having such a community spirit our creche kids, eccleisal members and creche children’s parents are sitting around together enjoying a meal. Always makes the hard work seem well worth it to see a sight like that.
As the visitors left, it was time to get back to work sweeping and washing the creche floors and cleaning the ecclesial kitchen ready to hand it over. And before I completely fell apart with exhaustion, it was time to go home, pack our bags and head to Durban for a much needed holiday 🙂