Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Communications Challenge and a change of scenery - Wednesday 22nd February

Today, we met with the communications team to understand what they do and how it is important at Hands At Work. We did two challenges, the first was to interview 4 people; 2 South Africans and 2 people not from South Africa. It was a really fun challenge as it helped us get to know the people we interviewed in under a minute. The next challenge was a photo scavenger hunt. As well as testing our physical strength it helped us to get to know the people and the whereabouts of Hands.

After lunch, we set of for our accommodation for the next two nights  - a rural base for a Joahnesburg University- ( University of
One of the waterfalls we  visited near Mac Mac Falls
Witwatersrand -  which everyone calls 'Wits') , On the way we  stopped at Mac Mac Waterfalls. The views were spectacular! We then stopped at Harrie’s Pancakes, pretty sure they sold the best pancakes in the whole of South Africa. We carried on for Wits, when we got there we saw zebras, monkeys and impala. The rooms are very comfortable.

Just to let you all know, we are in the middle of nowhere at Wits so if people aren’t in contact with you it’s not because we are ignoring you but because we have no signal.


Home visits in Mafambisa - Tuesday 20th February

This morning, it was women’s prayer in the chapel, Millie attended with Liz, Gina, Rachel and Val. During morning prayer, we discussed what we trust God for this year and were given pen and paper to write our own personal thoughts. Also, some people requested we pray about their friends or family, perhaps due to illness or another issue they were facing.

Getting ready for a wet day in Mafambisa
Once we were ready, we set off back to Mafambisa and reminded ourselves of some of the Siswati phrases we would need for the day. We took off for another home visit, however it started to pour it down and we got well and truly drenched. 

When we arrived, we first visited the Pastor’s house to get the food and a brush for the floor. Once back from the house, we began to help prepare the vegetables. Georgia had trouble chopping the onion, however Gina swooped in with her efficient onion chopping technique. 

We then went for home visits, we split off into three groups: Mr. Leonard, Val, Amelia and Millie, Joe, Gina and Libby, and Rachel, Liz and Georgia. 

Amelia, Val, Millie and Mr. Leonard visited Saffron* and her son at her home, sadly her home lacked security… Windows were broken, doors didn’t lock and there were leaks in the roof. As a parent, looking after her son and ensuring his safety was a priority for her, however she was unable to do anything more for her family. Fortunately, the carepoint were planning on providing Saffron with the things she required to make her home as safe as possible.

Meanwhile, Joe, Gina and Libby went to visit Promise* to see how she was feeling. Her youngest of four children was there and another one of the careworker’s children’s also. She told us about her troubles, her husband was from Swaziland so therefore didn’t have any of the certified papers that he needed to get a job. This meant only three of the four children were registered and had papers, it made it hard for the Mum to cope and provide the children with enough food to live on. Luckily, two of the children are registered at the Mafambisa care point, this has helped an awful lot.

Liz Rachel and Georgia visited a lovely lady Alice she was one of the care-workers daughters, she and her mom lived in one room with just a massive pile of school books and a mattress. Alice had something wrong with her tooth - she is hoping to get it sorted out tomorrow - she is 16 years old and she told us that she wants to become a doctor to help people in need, she also told us that her favourite lesson in school is technology she was quite shy but she was really happy we were there. 

Libby, Millie, Amelia & Georgia

*Names have been changed. The views expressed in this blog post are those of the contributors and not Link for Life project or Hands at Work in Africa.

Monday, 19 February 2018

A day in Mafambisa - Monday 19 February

Our long, early day had started around 6:45. We had awakened by the sound of Millie’s alarm. Everyone was a bit tired, except for Millie who apparently had an exceptional sleep. In the morning, Georgia had found a note from her family and most of us got quite emotional, except

for Millie our "cold-hearted" teammate. The good thing was that we hadn’t got jet lag and none of us would be grouchy for our hour long journey.

After we had breakfasted, at around 8am we all attended a prayer meeting, held by Hands at Work, that they do every week. We introduced ourselves to everyone and since it had been Mr. Leonard’s birthday recently, everyone crowded round and sang and showered him with birthday hugs. We then sang the African version of Hallelujah. It was beautiful but it was quite hot and dry in the morning, especially whilst we had been singing.We split off into 7 groups and were given anecdotes of vulnerable children living in the communities that Hands at Work care for and support. We then had the option of listening to a variety of stories and reading them out ourselves. Each member had the chance to say a prayer for the child and wish them all good things in life, ranging from their dreams to keeping their families safe and being able to protect them. It was quite a emotional task but we all accomplished that without the shed of a tear. After the 20 minutes group activity we went back into one big group and said a prayer together and with that we packed away. 

We got our stuff together and met on the sunny front porch, our host, Jen Waspe, had briefed us about the village of Mafambisa. Telling us about how to act and what it would be like. We got our stuff and set off for the sunny Mafambisa. The minibus ride was long and hot but the view was picturesque and eye catching. Once we had arrived, the sun was beaming in our faces and the heat surrounding us. We had been welcomed by two of the care-workers. We had later been split off into groups. Georgia and Libby in one and Amelia and Millie in the other. 

Libby's and Georgia’s story.

Libby and Georgia went on two holy home visits, the first was to see a lady who is a care worker but unfortunately wasn’t at the care point because of some difficulties she had encountered. She had three children and none of the were at home, her eldest was her 19yr old son, her other two children were at school so we didn’t get to meet them. Then we went to see another care worker but she is unfortunately quite poorly we also met her daughter as she had come home from school. 

Helping at the care point in Mafambisa
Millie’s and Amelia’s story

Millie and Georgia are in charge of washing up tonight
Millie and I had gone to visit a lovely woman in the local area, we'll call her Susan. It was quite a trek and the heat had nearly defeated us. This lady had quite a story. She was a mother of four, all daughters with the ages of 12, 12, 8 and 3. We had met the 3yr old which was very bouncy and lovable. Whilst the other ladies were talking we were playing peek-a-boo with this little girl and her neighbours child, who was being cared for by Susan. Susan's husband was born in Swaziland and because he didn’t have any papers he couldn’t get a proper, full time job. He tried to make money through a little painting and decorating. This meant the family of six had no proper income and weren’t financially stable. This is why the children came to the care-point for a proper meal and care. Her 8 yr old daughter came back with us as we left and had joined us in all of the fun and the games. We sang, danced and played endless games and had endless fun. 

Overall, we all had an amazing experience at our first care point jobs, home visits and feeding the children of the local area. 

It had all finished after we had fed the children and we set off home, awaiting the arrival of a storm that was due to come! Relaxation was ahead for us all after our tiring day. 

The views expressed in this blog post are those of the contributors and not of Link for Life Project or Hands at Work in Africa