Jan 11th-March 11th
Durban Ignite 2020
When I arrived to Durban, as I was only beginning to settle in, the remaining 2010 volunteers, save one, were wrapping up their stay. I spent about two weeks shadowing and participating in all of the projects that were going on, learning the ropes from the pros and seeing first hand the hole that would need filling. It was such a blessing spending those two weeks with the Palmer family, Naomi Midgley and Phil Ashcroft. It showed me more than anything the amazing things that can happen if you open your heart allowing God to work and embrace this culture bursting with all of its vibrance.
Although every week is different and I often end up running around all over the greater Durban area, the majority of my time is spent in the Clermont township, home to the newest ecclesia and Good News community centre in the area. Two mornings a week, a group of us, comprised of sisters from the Westville meeting, ignite 2020 volunteers and members of the Clermont meeting head to the Kwadabeka clinic and serve soup to the TB/HIV clinic as well as tea or coffee to chronically ill patients. The clinic is always busy and many of the people waiting for treatments and medications are there from 5:30 in the morning until late in the afternoon. Another part of our Clermont feeding scheme goes to 200 orphans living in the Wayebank and Kwadabeka regions. Once a month we pack up 2 tonnes of food, paid for through Christadelphian Meal a Day making 200 parcels which are delivered to orphans and their caregivers in areas around Clermont.
Strengthening Ecclesia & Sunday School
A lot of our activities in Clermont are geared towards strengthening the ecclesia and the Sunday school as well as our presence in the community. Tuesday evenings we started a Zulu Bible reading group, with around 20-25 attendees. Wednesday afternoon’s we run after school club, where we play games, work on craft projects, watch movies and do puzzles. On a monthly basis we hold jumble sales where all clothing and shoes are sold for one or two rand. The community is always extremely appreciative and we have a great turn out. On your average Sunday we have between twenty to forty children. The number of older children was dwindling, as they were having the same lessons as the younger children. To include and encourage them we started a plus ten class, where the kids chose the study, we painted a mural in the room that we converted into a class room and gave them ownership over the class, since then they have been participating more and are getting to know their bibles.
Ndwedwe Feeding Scheme
The biggest project that I’ve picked up is the Ndwedwe feeding scheme. There is a couple that lives in Durban that have been reaching out to the orphans in the Ndwedwe area for the past few years. Last year they got baptized and became active in the church. Since we met and heard about their efforts we started assisting them and driving out to Ndwedwe every other month. A list of food necessities was compiled and requests for donations at the church was made. We ended up approaching local grocery stores and setting up carts out front, requesting donations of food from shoppers. After four hours, we had enough food to fill the trunk. We picked up Vincent and Jabu and the donations they had acquired and embarked on the two hour drive to Ndwedwe, which is located in the valley of 1000 hills. It is extremely rural and you end up driving on roads that look and feel much more like hiking foot paths, serious off-roading. Vincent and Jabu used to have to take the bus and taxis and then walk the donations to their property which is located at the top of a steep ridge.
During our weekly planning sessions, we always start by discussing our God-moments of the week; moments when there is no doubt that God is obviously present and working in our lives and situations and through the people we get to spent time with. I thought I would end with my biggest God moment since coming to Africa. During the first few weekly planning sessions I was always a little bit nervous that someone would ask me to share one of my God-moments from the week because I just couldn’t think of one, so I prayed. When I invited God into every part of my day and life and schedule I found that actually, my day is overflowing with God-moments.