Monday, 12 August 2013

Performance poet Millie gets inspired

What happens in Africa stays in Africa:
Climbing water towers and facing down Ollie;
Ryan’s cross dressing, the bad joke jar and Rose feeling jolly.
Yes, what happens in Africa stays in Africa. 

What happen in Africa stays in Africa;
Audrey won’t be in Aldridge nor Wendy in Wyrley.
B and KG won’t be there for when we are feeling surly;
What happens in Africa stays in Africa.
What happens in Africa stays in Africa.
Nyoto’s faith and Thembe’s tears
Deprivation, exploitation and Niko’s fears;
Ryan’s revelations and Rose’s relief;
Maria’s cry for justice and Linda’s belief.
No, what happens in Africa can’t stay in Africa.  
In Britain, we don't dance.
Too reserved, how absurd
would it be to expect us to jig or jive
or even allow our timid toes
to tap to the rhythm of the drummers beat
Bread and meat of the soul
Gods heartbeat brought home

It's staccato,
not a mournful bass that beats one two at an even pace.
It's a mad rhythm, glad rhythm, make you want to dance.
Infectious as can be it will get you with one glance.
So come on, leave your English reticence
and join the wonderful wilderness dance.

Millie Swan


Sunday, 4 August 2013

Partnership and Friendship (cont)

Ruth won the prize for being the first to spot a lion at Kruger Wildlife Reserve yesterday; a cup cake. In fact strictly speaking she wasn't the first to spot it but it was her contribution which meant that we were all able to share this experience. She had gleaned from some people when we stopped for a loo break that there were some lions 15 kilometres up the nearby road; so off we went. She had listened and been willing to learn from the expertise and experience of others rather than charging off and trying to do her own thing.

I think this kind of networking and willingness to learn from others is so important. In a related kind of way I find the sense of being part of a family here enormously enriching. Today we spent time with Pastor Petrus and his wife Julia at their emerging church in Delani (see School Group blog and Kagiso's) and we were caught up in a wave of love and friendship arising from previous meetings and shared prayer. We were able to take them and Audrey and her two children on a wonderful drive after the morning service up the mountains and I listened in on a moving conversation between Ryan and Petrus. Only afterwards did I find out that Ryan had been given his name on a piece of paper some two years ago when names were given out for people to pray for and he had been praying for this Petrus ever since. Only now did he meet him and what an unforgettable meeting that was.

It is such a joy to be sharing this experience with Kagiso and Mmabatho from the Matlosane Diocese which is linked with Lichfield Diocese; to benefit from their insights and comments; to reflect on how the lessons we are learning might be translated into their contexts; to be given a wider dimension to our collective experience; to be learning and lauging and crying together........Somehow that first week in the Matlosane Diocese during which we stayed at Itsoseng and Ikakeng before coming with Kagiso and Mmabatho to experience Hands@Work helped us to prepare as we listened, shared, waited, reflected and renewed friendships.


Partnership and Friendship

Partnership and Friendship

It all started when two Dioceses (Lichfield and Matlosane),shared a mutual goal of spreading the word of God around the World. The Diocese was delighted to have Fr Philip Swan in 2011 and again Fr Richard Westwood and his wife Rose in 2012.Their visit was a turning point for our friendship as it enabled two young people from the Diocese of Matlosane (Kagiso Teme and Mmabatho Naseba)to be part of the team that went for a mission at Mpumalanga to witness Hands at Work in their calling to care for the most vulnerable children.

In our Sunday service today at Dilane, to our surprise it was not something we were expecting as such, to see how a church can be so small but so full of life. Our team which we now call a  collective, was very much blessed to be part of the service whereby Mmabatho shared a testimony about her up bringing and Rose about her friendship with friends from different parts of the world. Kagiso and Maria contributed in the sermon and shared how God want us to think and to be assured of His Love. 

Kagiso Teme

Saturday, 3 August 2013

A toilet is on the way...

Maria Tabou from Holy Trinity Heath Town smiles as she checks the toilet
block for size while it is still being built
The Church and Community Team are now more than half way through their time in South Africa.  They have been visiting the community of Share, near Hluvukani in Bush Buck Ridge- in the North East of South Africa. They have accompanied the volunteer care workers on Home Based Care visits, helped with the feeding programme and of course played with the children who are cared for in the care project - all of whom are children who are orphaned or vulnerable.  Another job which the Church & Community Team have been involved with in the last few days has been  helping to build a toilet at the care centre.  The local builders reckon that the toilet will be good for 50 years ! Pretty impressive!  The funds for the toilet and the fence around the community vegetable garden have all been paid for by donations from supporters of the Link 4 Life Project... So it's a big "Thank You" to all who have donated to help with the building of these important facilities.

The photo of Maria Tabou shows her sitting  in what will be the toilet - there are still walls to construct... but good progress is being made.  The toilet will be a "long drop" type of toilet - which is the best kind of toilet for the region in which Share is based - as there are no sewers or running water on hand.

Thanks to the team for all you are doing and thanks to all who who have supported or donated.

Best wishes 
Richard Westwood  - for the Church and Community Team

Day 4 - 2nd August 2013

Today we had our last home visit and I met this remarkable woman. She was very sick and yet the only thing she was bothered about was caring for her child because if she died the grandma would be the only person who could look after her son. This is why she was soldiering on and taking her medication in order to watch her child grow and go to work.
Emily, Church and community team 2013

Today we went onto a home visit to the home of Simon. He lived with his mother, Jane and his father Elijah. Also living at the house was his Uncle Mike and his nephew Jack. Simon is 15 and a few people in our group had met him a few times at the care point. His father was ill and his mother suffered with mental illness. His sister, mother of Jack, is currently working in Johannesburg. We found our home visit very difficult as there was definitely a certain degree of not wanting to talk about what was really going on due to reasons such as confidentiality and trust. My main question was as to why Jack wasn’t in the feeding program and Simon was even though they were living in the same house.
Even though it was a bit of a hard day that led to many questions, I still had a great time with our last afternoon in Share. We shall be back there on Monday but only for the morning so unfortunately won’t see the children again which I found tricky as I found myself saying bye to a lot of children for the second time from 2012 to 2013.
I truly hope I have the honour to be back in Share again one day, the positive energy and vibes you recover of the community is overwhelming and the love for the children is indescribable.

Hannah- Church and Community Team 2013

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Day 3 - 1st August 2013

Today was a day of two halves, building and being. The morning was spent helping to build a toilet, which consisted of throwing a lot of rocks into the holes around the drop toilet. The builders we were working with said that the toilet would last up to 50 years, an impressive achievement!
Next twelve beds and mattresses appeared to be put together, which took a fair amount of skill and ingenuity on the part of the men as some of the screws were less than usable. But eventually all the beds were put together and ready to be taken away by the children that the care workers had identified as needing one.
The afternoon was much more laidback, playing with the children. I ended up in a hair salon with about five girls working on my hair. I had several hairstyles, including many, many plaits and lost half of my hair in the process! I was able to have wonderful conversations with them, but I felt that the most important thing to do was just to be with the children and let them know that they were loved. I love words and language but sometimes they can get in the way of really communicating with people. Silence was important today and I felt so privileged to have been able to spend time with the children I did.
Millie - Church and Community Team 2013

The events of today are very difficult to communicate through words. This is a completely different world, one where a bed isn’t expected and where love thrives. In this community a smile and just being is enough to make someone happy.
I met a three year old girl who made me feel so loved, she started off very quiet and reserved. After a while of playing with the stones she began to smile and we danced. Her laughter was the most joyful and moving sound, it was a sound of pure happiness and life, it is something I will never forget.
I asked one of the care workers for her story, she is the youngest from a child headed family, both parents are deceased and she lives with her two sisters. The eldest is 14 and is both mother and sister. The work is so important over here; it lets children be children and is an escape from the real world. People help heal these wounds not money or materialistic items.

Ruth -  Church and Community Team 2013