Well here we are already half way through the year and it feels like we are only getting settled! Time sure flies and more so when you are active in so many different things at once and having fun.
The Mariannhill wall has been completed and has vastly improved both properties. The threat of a mudslide has been removed and the wall now provides an attractive backdrop for that side of the property. We are in the process of getting some vegetation/ plants donated to grow on the wall. The top neighbour Paulus is elated and has now regained a large chunk of his property back. He has landscaped his yard up to the top of the new wall, and the end result is that the immediate neighbourhood now looks a lot neater and more organised.
With various upkeep projects running and some minor repairs at Lamontville we have been kept busy while waiting for some bigger projects to make their way through the “red tape”. In the meantime Grant has submitted a bid for resurfacing the driveway in Lamontville with COPT and a major revamp of the Bible Education Centre in town are in the pipeline.
CUDDLE is underway in Mariannhill at the moment and with both of our teachers being absent for medical reasons, we are teaching a new lady, while our volunteers run a class with the crèche on a Thursday morning. With more volunteers on their way, new t-shirts being printed and business cards hopefully arriving soon, we can work on procuring some local building stores to sponsor some materials for two crèche upgrades that we are hoping to do in the next couple of months.
Both Rene and I have developed great relationships with the Mariannhill group. They are such a pillar in their community, providing a family model for their neighbours that is so lacking in great sections of their neighbourhood. We have on-going relationships through René’s Cuddle courses, and my involvements with Bible classes and the use of a few local members for my building projects.
Durban to Cape and back in a flash
Rene and I recently went on a trip from Durban to Cape Town stopping at East London Ecclesia, Candu, Port Elizabeth, and finally Cape Town. We visited these locations with two purposes in mind. Firstly to ascertain needs of these ecclesia’s, and secondly to educate them on the fantastic things happening in KZN. We gave a few presentations at these locations to try show people the exciting activities happening in KZN, with the hopes of motivating them to do the same.
At the COPT meeting we felt it was very important to establish ownership rights of the property with regards to sister Antonio (in the event something happened to her) We now have copies of the deeds. It was decided that we would lease the front portion of land from Antonio. This would allow her to use her rentals more efficiently, and possibly make room for a caretaker’s space. We are building a hall at the front of the property with the necessary retaining walls and drainage troughs. We plan to have space for some community gardens/greenery to soften the harsh environment and also to make the area an inviting and welcoming place to visit. Future possibilities for this space may include a BEC (Bible Education Centre). We have found that we have to obtain permits and design for the buildings and walls. The draftsman is drawing the plans at the moment and should be submitting them to the building department shortly. We are also installing the water meter right now. We should be able to commence excavation in a few weeks.
HOT OFF THE PRESS : Also some great news! We had two baptisms this morning at Clermont. The interviews and baptisms were conducted by Funo and Charles Taylor from Australia.
As for the labour force we will use a number of local brethren from the communities. This work really does provide a much needed shot in the arm for the periods that we can provide it. It’s such a great way to strengthen relationships within the community.
We also have a project underway to totally remodel the Durban BEC. We have secured a very competitive lease for the premises, and are now ready to commit to investing in the remodel. Barry Van Heerden is designing the plans, and I will be implementing the design.
We have had the privilege of some amazing volunteers in the last couple of months. Team Zoomer included Lauren Ghent (CAD), Abi Whitehorn (UK), and Rachel Fletcher (UK). The three girls literally zoomed their way through Kwa-Zulu Natal over the last couple of months and made a huge impact with their friendly, loving enthusiasm that was more than contagious and spreading wherever they landed. Please read more about their amazing experiences here : https://wcfoundation.org/durban-team-zoomer-edition/ and https://wcfoundation.org/last-month-in-south-africa-some-reflections/
We also had a whirlwind visit from Jude Norcross (UK). Between connecting with old friends and organizing a stand at the 2012 Comrades Marathon, a gruelling 89km foot race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, Jude and friends kept all our volunteer projects going as we are waiting for more volunteers to arrive from overseas. Some of the Westville Ecclesial members ran and finished the race, with all the help and support from our encouraging volunteers. We feel so blessed to have learned so much from “The Pro” and are looking forward to welcome some more of the “oldies” to the Durban area and learning from them.
Currently Catherine Brooker (Aus.) is helping out and working with us, covering the various projects at Lamontville, CUDDLE in Mariannhill, and Happy’s school and Christianburg. With the arrival of Charlie Taylor also from Australia, the BEC is now well staffed, in the Beeler family’s absence, and we are looking forward to seeing what other projects we can focus on in the next couple of months.