Welverdiend and Siyathuthuka
The last two days have been spent visiting communities. Welverdiend is an extreemly vulnerable community in north eastern South Africa. The journey to the community was a long three hours drive, the closer we got to Welverdiend the more arid and barren the land became. We skirted the Krugger National Park on our approach, reminding ourselves that the people here fled from the civil war in Mozambique across the Krugger Park, as we journeyed we left behind urbanisation, basic services and employment. Welverdiend is an place where Mozambican refugees have settled. Our destination was Bushbuck Ridge Service centre, where Hands@Work have been working with members of the community since 2007.The people here are extreemly vulnerable. We went with a Careworker to visit a young family, the parents had died of illness leaving a son with mental health problems and a young daughter, now 22 with two children of her own and caring for four other orphans. The family of six, live on less than £2 per day. One of the woman's daughters comes home form school, she invites Amelia into her home, there is nothing insides except a pile of soiled clothes and a blanket for a bed. There is no running water or electricity. Water has to be fetched from a neighbours yard and carried home. It is desolate. We pray with the woman and her family in return we are thanked for visiting, it is humbling experience and one I hope we will never forget. Back at the care centre we prepare to feed the gathering children who come for their one meal a day after school. Today on the menu is pap and chicken feet stew to be served by a small band of amazing women from within the community working with Hands. Grace is shared and fifty children eat. Afterwards we play games; football, frizbie and lots of hugs. Leaving is very hard and the long, hot drive home gives us plenty of time to reflect on what we have seen. Later we are invited to upper with George and Caroline, the founders of Hands@Work. We talk,about many things. I have a growing sense that there's something to be done back home with those who have come here and I am challenged afresh to seek out the most vulnerable in our community. Wednesday takes us to Siyathuthuka, another home based care centre in the community. One of the care workers here pays for her own child to be cared for, so she can come and work as a volunteer amongst the orphans here. Our visit starts with praise and prayer. The children arrive and we are soon playing games, singing togetherness and there are plenty of hugs all round. The childrn eat, but before they do, the Careworkers lead us in prayer and more singing. A very small three year old climbs on my lap for a cuddle. Her mother cares for five children, she is a single parent at twenty- two.Her parents have died and she is sick too. Again we travel home, wondering what God would have us learn from these visits. They are harrowing, yet amidst the pain, the love of Jesus is being declared day by day by the amazing Careworkers, themselves with so little, giving of themselves to the children. It's time to sleep now, tomorow we visit Krugger Park with. One of the Hands@Work volunteers.