Monday, 18 July 2016

Mandela day at Zwelisha - Monday 18 July 2016

After a long 34 hours traveling from Great Wyrley/Penkridge to Hands atwork in South Africa, we are happy to report that the team are settling in well at Hands, and have had an eventful and positive first working day.

From the get-go, through the people that we have already met, this trip is already looking like an unforgettable experience. Our mini bus driver (Ed) was able to make our first few hours in SA comfortable ones with his amazingly detailed knowledge of anything and everything remotely regarding South Africa. From history to his best friend’s dad’s uncle’s dog, he had an amazing ability to talk non-stop, but it was all incredibly fascinating. On arrival at Hands we were warmly welcomed by residents waiting on the steps. We settled in for the evening and shared a group meal before reflection and relaxation, followed by a long awaited early night's sleep.

Our Second day in SA (1st work day) started with a prayer session for the men within the team where we were invited to join the Hands ‘Men’s prayer’ followed by a whole Hands team prayer session and a Briefing from Carolyn Snyman ( one of the founders of Hands at Work). 

'Working with Fire'
'Mandela day at Zwelisha' -
Care volunteers, the children they care for
and 'Working with Fire'

‘Madiba Day’, July 18th, is a national celebration day for South Africans, dedicated to continuing the work of Nelson Mandela. People donate 67 minutes of their time- one minute for every year of Mandela’s public service, to help those less fortunate in their community.

Zwelisha was a community celebrating this day, and also became our team’s first contact with a Community. The local firefighter organisation ‘Working with Fire' came into Zwelisha to provide educational talks on fire safety. They also brought donations of plates, chairs, tables and also entertainment through their amazing singing. As part of ‘Madiba day’ the village of Zwelisha had an office building donated which one of the local organisations spent their 67 minutes building. 

The community spirit that was visible from our short time in Zwelisha was astounding, we witnessed the coming together of people from all around the region to support ‘Madiba Day’. Young people from the local high school spoke confidently and with passion about Mandela. The children, care workers and firefighters all joined in song and dance, it was a truly moving energy. In the space of just a few hours we had all developed some kind of connection to Zwelisha that was hard to leave behind. 

Winding down for the evening the team have all expressed their thoughts on the day and have commented on the challenges and triumphs that they have seen and felt. 

As we relax for the evening we send our thoughts and prayers home to our loved ones and look forward to what is in store for us tomorrow.

Ryan and Izzy x

The contents of this media represent the sole views and opinions of the author, not of Hands at Work or any other groups or persons.