Friday, 23 February 2018

Encouragement and Prayer in Share - and a thank you to Audrey!

Today we visited Share and did community prayer with the care-workers, care-givers and the Hands at Work volunteers. We sang a number of songs which had included a favourite of ours which was 'On your marks, get set, we are ready for Jerusalem’ along with two other South African songs. Then Dan, a regional support team volunteer, was talking about the story of Moses and the encouraging message behind it. We had two members who had helped in telling the story. One who translated what Dan said into Tsonga and and Morgan who drew representations of the text. 

After the community prayer, we all went on separate home visits and were all emotionally effected by the things we heard and the stories of suffering that were told. 

So after the home visits we went back to the care point and played with the children. We later said our last goodbyes as we would not be returning to Share whilst we were in South Africa. We were sad that we left the children, care workers and care givers but we were happy because we gave support and were leaving with lots cherished memories. 

This paragraph is about Audrey, she used to be a care worker in Cork and now she is a volunteer for hands at work and she helps all the communities around the area. Throughout the trip she has helped us on most of our journeys by translating and teaching us the languages before we arrive. She has also been there for and made us laugh. She tells us about the peoples' lives and their struggles. We were amazed how she knew all of the children personally and had so much background knowledge on the kids and the care workers which had helped us a lot with trying to understand peoples lives and struggles as best we can. 


Thursday, 22 February 2018

Care Workers Appreciation Day - Share - Thursday 22 Fe

Millie’s Story:

This morning, we travelled to Share from our temporary accommodation at Wits, with Morgan and Audrey. The girls went to the storage room with a care-worker to get some food, while the adults began to cut the butternut squash for our shared lunch. The group continued to prepare vegetables before entering the care-point building for a worship session, where we praised the Lord and sung and danced to songs. Once the worship was over, Audrey asked each caregiver how they were and how their children were, really showing them that people cared about their welfare. Afterwards, we set up stations for careworker appreciation day, including hand massages, nail painting, feet washing and making bracelets depicting Jesus’ life and ministry. Following that, we ate our Pap which was served with potato, butternut squash and soup. Soon, the children had arrived home from school so we tried to become acquainted with them, although our terrible attempt at speaking in Tsonga didn’t prove very successful!

When we had finished talking to the children, we served them their pap. When everyone had finished eating we played a type of bulldog, the children really enjoyed it and so did the care-workers and caregivers. We then played with some of the children and they did our hair.

Libby’s Story:

I helped in the careworker appreciation day by helping Val with the hand washing of the ladies, they really enjoyed the hand cream massage at the end of the ‘routine’. I was really glad we got to take part in this day as it encourages the careworkers to keep going at all he amazing work they do even though they have their own struggles.

When playing the bulldog game, one of the girls called Catherine* hurt her knee, I took her inside to Promotion. She then sat on my knee whilst the others finished playing the game. When I was told that I could walk home with some of the children I really hoped I could walk Catherine* home, luckily I could! Me and Rachel took Catherine* and her sister home, her grandmother Rebecca* greeted us at the door, she introduced herself and thanked us for taking care of Catherine*.

Later that evening, during the de-brief, I found out that Catherine’s* mother had been found dead in her house. Unfortunately, this was only a year ago. Shortly after her mother had passed, her father left Catherine* and her younger siblings alone. He did not inform them that he was leaving. This left Rebecca* to look after her three grandchildren. Catherine* has still not fully got over her mother’s sudden death and has also not forgiven her father. She does not know whether he is still living or where he even is. This made me very unhappy when Audrey told me as I just can’t understand why her father would want to leave behind three other children and not support them through the death of their mother.

Today was filled with amazing memories, amazing people and amazing activities. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this day.

Amelia’s Story:

Today was the care-worker appreciation day, as you already know there were four activities and I participated and helped in making bracelets that represented the life of Jesus. It was entertaining but took a lot of patience with the small beads. All of the ladies seemed to enjoy that and I hoped that they had a nice time. after that we got our meals and I was extremely excited because I think the meal is different but very flavoursome. After that we carried on helping with the activities until the children started to arrive. When they started to arrive we all sat down on a slope and some of the girls and boys started to plait our hair. We all parted ways and I sat with Millie on the grass and we chatted whilst she had the loveliest little boy on her lap that was smiling and laughing all of the time. What really made my day was a little girl who came over to me and plaited my hair and chatted with me, she nearly fell asleep in my arms until one of her friends came over and sat on both of our laps. They kept taking turns on sitting with me until they both found a seat. She stayed with me for the remainder of my stay at Share and after she ate and played with me, Millie, Libby and Georgia and 3 other children, she was ready to go home. Georgia, Liz and I all walked her home and what bothered me was that there was lots and lots of glass on the floor and she had no shoes on. This definitely got to me and made me appreciate all that I have and that they appreciate what they’ve got. We walked her home and she was welcomed by her family and they were polite and she waved us off and smiled at us, as she had throughout the day. I had a spectacular day that was filled with memories that I will never forget.

Georgia’s Story:

Something that had an impact on me was how the children walked around barefoot, despite the shattered glass and rubbish littering the floor. Compared to the life of luxury that I’m used to it was shocking  and deeply upsetting to think that some people lack even basic essentials.

During the careworker appreciation day, I helped wash the feet of some of the ladies, which was very important as it links back to Jesus washing the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper, I felt honoured to be able to give something back to the people that had dedicated their lives to making others happier and safer.

Later, the children ate their food while they socialised, they seemed to enjoy their Pap. Afterwards, we played some games with the children, including Ring-a-ring-of-roses, the hokey-cokey and  an attempt at the macerana. It was heartwarming to see the children so joyful and grateful as we played with them.

*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

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.