Since arriving in South Africa, we have been very blessed to be here and for God to have done such an amazing work in our own lives.
In working very closely with volunteers coming over the last couple of months, Rene has been keeping the wheels turning at the various COPT projects in Durban while Grant has concentrated on building and maintenance projects.
These projects are:
- The Feeding scheme at the Kwadabeke HIV/TB clinic (Meal-a-day Clermont)
- Youth program at Christianburg School in Clermont
- Crèche education and classes at Mariannhill
- Gogo’s tea (Granma’s tea) at Mariannhill,
- English classes for youth at Lamontville
- Mason Lincoln Special School (Happy’s) Bible class and Youth program
- BEC remodel
- Lamontville Driveway and repairs
- Clermont preparation
Various small and larger building projects have been completed in the last couple of months. Here are the details :
Bible Education Centre (BEC):
With the “dream team”: Barry van Heerden and Petru Blewett and Grant, the much needed remodel of the BEC in Durban has been completed.
- Moving of the BEC premises
- Demo of old interior
- Dropping ceilings for lighting
- Making and installation of new cabinetry and shelving
- New interior and storefront signage
With the exciting renovations of the Bible Education Centre in Durban, we watch customers pacing impatiently up and down Mark Lane waiting for the final product to emerge. Even though the space has greatly decreased in size, with careful and well planned efforts, the space will have a huge impact for any new or old visitor. We had a very festive re-opening!
Plans for an identical BEC (Bible Education Centre) in Pinetown are being discussed and would feed the Mariannhill, Pinetown and Clermont ecclesias.
Clermont is the next project to take shape here in Durban. Thanks to generous funding from Williamsburg foundation, we are in the process of planning and building a new hall on the front of the premises that will have much better visibility in the community. This is a reasonably big project that will take a fair amount of time to complete. With our daily presence in the area, we are hoping that we will be able to form good relationships with the neighbours in the area. We are hoping that the community will see this as an oasis in their busy and bustling community.
Despite our best efforts, plans for the Clermont building project have been held up in the building department we are expecting those to be handed over within a couple of weeks, keeping in mind that the wheels of bureaucracy move a little slower. During various meetings with the building inspector and architect, he has indicated that everything is in order and that it would only be a matter of time for us to get these plans approved by the building department.
Traditionally typically building in Clermont would have already started without plans; however COPT and other locals legitimately feel that if we start building without proper plans passed, we could likely open a door for future unforeseen costs from the building department.
Good relationships are being formed at Christianburg School and Kwadabeke clinic and the community is very excited about the new Centre that is on its way.
- At the moment plants are being planted on the wall to help with drainage and beautification.
- Grant is training a local member in building skills
With some sponsorship from a local national business (Business Connexion (BCX)); a pilot program is underway that will allow BCX employees to do “outreach projects” and to contribute financially to our local, as well as national projects. Through the CUDDLE process we have been able to identify various Crèche’s in the community that will be able to benefit from this program and other possible programs.
We did a community outreach day at “Sheila’s Crèche” (Lethukuthula) in Mariannhill. We erected a playground, painted outside and inside and did some electrical work. We had a great team of volunteers from the Westville ecclesia and the project was sponsored by the ecclesia. Thanks guys and gals!
The dirt driveway in the front of the Lamontville property has been causing quite a problem over the last couple of months. Especially with the rainy season on the way, erosion and wear have caused problems with the gate and made it very difficult for vehicles to park inside the premises. Grant has contributed greatly by completing a new brick driveway at Lamontville. The project included :
- Resurfacing and installing a new paved brick driveway
- Building and installing a basketball hoop for the kids and local community
- General maintenance of plumbing, fixing broken doors, windows and electrical issues
Rene is continually encouraging the teachers at the crèches to improve education and further themselves in teacher training. We are also helping the teacher’s access what possibilities there are for them to create their own crèches during the transition from full time COPT employees, to a gradual transition of ownership to those who are willing to form their own businesses.
Both of us have taken on some COPT responsibilities.
- Volunteer coordinators: Rene is currently working on setting up and implementing a document and schedule management system for all projects and communications. She has been working hard and will continue to do so over the next month and a half to project manage and implement, populate and train COPT members to use the centralized management system. She has presented a possible solution to the many frustrations of trying to locate various resources and communication issues that we have been dealing with in Durban.
- Vehicle maintenance: We have taken on the responsibility of vehicle maintenance and management. Assigning cars to volunteers and ensuring their safety and care.
We have also enjoyed quite a bit of the local beauty and splendour with some of our volunteers. Why else come to Africa if not to see the king of the jungle and enjoy some much needed R&R?
We are prayerfully reviewing our continued involvement with the wonderful projects here in Durban and KwaZulu Natal and feel that we could continue with these and other projects for another year.
With other projects at Lamontville, Christianburg, Mariannhill and Happy’s continuing, we are hopefully going to see an influx of new volunteers from local business projects and overseas. Currently some veteran P2P volunteers are “spicing” things up here in Durbs with their enthusiasm and talented presence. With all these exciting things happening in Durban, we cannot wait to see what God has in stall for us in the near future! Amen