There is so much pain, sickness, poverty and suffering here in South Africa. Every day and everywhere you go, you see it on the streets, in the cities and townships and around the homes of those we travel to see. Beggars, and not just one or two here or there, but sometimes four, five or six at an intersection with hand written signs around their necks begging, humbling and humiliating themselves and pleading for help, for work, for food for themselves or for their families to be able to eat that day just to survive.
Many of the children we meet are undernourished and in need of the food we provide or the food parcels we provide for their families. In Kwadabeka, a poor township area just 10 klm from the Durban CBD there is a TB/HIV clinic we visit each week. This is a clinic where hundreds of sick men, women and children visit daily to receive their medication just to survive. This is just one of the poorer area’s where we visit and take food and offer the hope of the coming Kingdom of God.
Happy’s is another. Happy’s is a physically handicapped school where many children live and are cared for. “Care” is probably not the right word ….. ‘Exist” is probably more appropriate. And it’s not because the people or teachers don’t care or want to help. It’s is just that they are all overwhelmed by the magnitude of the number of people that need help, that need medical attention, that need food, that need therapy, that need education, that need Gods intervention and the Kingdom of God. But there is little or no money for their very specialised needs and resources. In the meantime they suffer with very little help or hope. That is where we come in. We feed the few that we can where we can, we provide therapy to those like at “Happy’s” when and where we can, we play with the children and teach them where we can and we provide hope and belief for those we can, through Gods grace.
These are the obvious things we see each day, and this suffering is everywhere and as much as we want to help, we feel overwhelmed by the needs and disease and sickness everywhere of so many. But then there is the silent suffering of a mother, a father, a grandmother and grandfather as they watch their vibrant healthy little five year old child suddenly become listless, helpless, with violent mornings and evenings of sickness and vomiting. This child was a picture of health only a week ago and suddenly she is bedridden unable to even lift her head because of dizziness and disorientation. This child is one of our own !!! And all of a sudden the reality of all the work we are doing here pours home to us. “There is neither African nor English, there is neither black nor white, there is neither male nor female …. for we are all one in Christ.
And as the grandfather of this sick little white girl sits beside me as we drive along, he tries to talk and make sense of what is happening to him and his family ….. he tells of the long nights, every night of him or the parent sitting bedside their child, night after night after night …. watching helplessly as their sick little girls shows no sign of recovery and the doctors with no sign of a diagnosis. His mind is muddled with all the uncertainly the future now suddenly holds for this child. It’s a challenge now ….. a challenge of faith and belief as he and the family sit quietly by and silently suffer.
Our work here is all about helping the poor, the needy, the sick, the infirmed. It’s all about doing in some very small way what Jesus will do on a grand scale when he returns and establishes the Kingdom of God. We come here as volunteers to touch those in need, to help those who cannot help themselves, to share with them the wonderful message of the gospel and the news of the coming Kingdom of God to the earth.
But today we sit with our friends and suffer silently with them, hoping and praying that this little girl will get well soon.